Garden Reading

Spring has already sprung in our area, although one hard frost could change all that.  I know that some places won’t be seeing spring for a while (sorry about that, Minneapolis) so today I went to the Southern Living Show to take in an extra dose of spring flowers to share with you. Oh, the sacrifices I make!

I’ve been to similar indoor shows in other cities, but this one is the best to me and the one this year may be my all-time favorite because of the extra creativity.  Exhibitors selected books as inspiration for their displays.   The gardens were large and quite popular, so I couldn’t possibly stand back enough to take a photo of the entire scenes.  Here are some snippets.

Water features were popular.

This won an award for best color palette.  (Note to self:  find something to paint RED!)

Any guesses?

The next one is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  A bubble machine added even more magic.

The candytuft patch in the Chocolate garden.
Treasure Island

One of my favorites faithfully recreated a page from a book called The Backroads of North Carolina. This scene used to be a common one in eastern North Carolina–an old tobacco shed and vintage tractor.  The smell of drying tobacco was pleasant… nothing like a lit cigarette.

This old gas pump was part of the same exhibit:

I know I should stop, but there was so much more…!

You’ll recognize this couple. . . Romeo and Juliet. Wait ’til you see the water feature.

"Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."

It wasn’t hard to figure out how the landscape group made their book selection.  The name of the company?  The Loving Group.

Ya gotta love it  (and you know I had to say so.)

The books which inspired these and the other gardens included: The Secret Garden, The Giving Tree, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Darby O’Gill and the Little People, Avatar, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Last of the Mohicans, The Great Gatsby, The Notebook, and South of Broad, in case you’re trying to guess.

The Celebrated Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County garden had plenty of sassy frogs doing a little celebrating themselves.

There was an outdoor kitchen for Julie and Julia,  The Swiss Family Robinson, Boy Meets Girl, Brazil, and There’ll Always Be an England… is that a book or a song?

Maybe the book was a songbook.

(More?  This link takes you to pictures on the The Charlotte Observer website.)

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17 thoughts on “Garden Reading

  1. Those are just amazing. Funny what you can create when you have talent and unlimited budget. I adore water features and crave an elaborate one. So far, not on the horizon. What a geat way to jump start Spring. Get those hands dirty.

    1. I love water features, too, not just for their own sound and beauty, but for the birds they attract. We have a little bubbling fountain that I bought when we lived in Minnesota. (Great bargain… those short summers bring good sales on outdoor garden items in early fall.) The only hard part was getting the electrical connection out there.

      Haven’t done much about our yard so far except pick up dog poop. It’s like Groundhog Day; I wake up the next morning and there it is again. Of course, Miss Piggy is willing to pick it up herself, but in an extremely gross manner.

  2. Your computer is working FABULOUSLY, to judge by this beautiful post.
    The Violet Lady? That’s me. I even had that dress once, I believe, back before my Amy Winehouse doppelganger assumed control of my look.

    With you, I recall the tobacco farm sights and smells with fondness and a lot of cognitive dissonance.. That fondness is not a sentiment that most non-Southerners would admit to, much less allow to inspire a garden.

    And finally, stuffily, I confess that I like my gardens thoroughly traditional, either staidly British or contextually appropriate (no Bird of Paradise plants in the Virginia Williamsburg entry). The book idea was sound, but all I would have allowed were Jane Austens, Evelyn Waughs, and P.D. Jameses. What a stick in the mud I am! I must learn to loosen up.

    To that end, let’s consider Lolita. Or Moby Dick. Alice In Wonderland? To Kill A Mockingbird? Oh, dear. I should leave this in the capable hands of the Southern Living folks.

    Thanks, honey! This was fun!

    1. Alice in Wonderland and Jane Austen coming up in a later post. I didn’t see all of it. I was so distressed when I realized I’d forgotten to visit the interior design rooms. One of them was designed around The Great Gatsby, according to the guide. Also Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Velva Jean Learns to Drive (that one was a kitchen–go figure.) The Story of the Trapp Family Singers and Freckles were the last two. Odd choices, huh?

      If you want to recreate the violet lady, our lawn has plenty of posies.

  3. These are amazing! Someday when the trampoline and the jungle gym and the soccer net aren’t monopolizing my back yard I’ll have a beautiful water feature. Of course then I won’t have little boys to enjoy in my back yard either…

    1. Ah, you already have the sound of tinkling laughter! Okay, more likely it’s shouts of “I’m gonna tell!” or “MY turn!” but it’s a lovely thought anyway and I know they’re a delight to behold. And no pruning required–just let ’em grow. 🙂

  4. How I would have loved to have gone to see that with you, how amazing are these gardens?!! With all the snow we have over here, I really need to see gardens like that! lol It’s awesome how they decorated the gardens according to various beloved books, as you say the creativity is simply amazing. Wish they would make displays like that around here!!! xoxo

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