The Shape of Things to Come

So many places so little time - not to mention money.

The arrival of spring always triggers thoughts of travel: not that winters are a burden, living as I do in South Florida. Rather, in winter, I feel as though I have already arrived at a destination, and it wouldn't make sense to go anywhere else.

But when spring arrives, while there will still be some great months in Florida, there is also summer lurking just barely around the corner. And either my advancing age, or global warm-up, is making those scorchingly hot and wet days seem less and less attractive.

Look what is happening this year for a dilettante gardener. Most of the spring flowers shows are past, of course, but the avid trailer could try the Southern California Spring Garden Show which runs from April 11-14 in Costa Mesa (tel. 714 435 2106) and then come back eastwards for the Cincinnati Flower Show, one of the big ones, from April 24-28,
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By this time, the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival would be under way near Orlando (April 19 - June 2) with the usual Disney magic and some help this year from Florida Nurserymen & Growers Association, University of Florida and Southern Living magazine. The full program is on their website at

While in Florida, a great few days with plant people will center on Floriculture Field Day, May 7th & 8th Contact Alan Shapiro, 800-933-9638, or Dr. Rick Schoellhorn 352-392-1831 ext.364

If you are botanically inclined, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Gastonia, NC is hosting a conference from May 15-19, honoring Andre Michaux a French botanist who was an early explorer in the Southeastern United States. This is a good reason, if one is needed, to see a fine new botanical garden in the making. After only 10 years of existence the framework of an extremely interesting and beautiful plan is being fleshed out to give what is going to be a major destination garden in the Southeast (

For the industry, June brings the Southeast Greenhouse Conference, June 19-22 in Greenville, SC ( There is a trade show and shortcourse. This works in well for me with a chance to visit the Betty Johnson garden at the University of Georgia in Athens ( ) Allan Armitage usually has an open house on the Wednesday or Thursday of that week. Then on to Park's Seed Company Field Day in Greenwood, SC. ( I would advise going there before Saturday, however, the signs may not all be up on the trial grounds, but you miss the crowds of people.

More industry doings at The Ohio Shortcourse in Columbus OH, July 13-17, now a very strong force in the industry with a massive program of courses and a trade show ( Then a short rest before the Southern Nursery Association trade show in Atlanta, August 2-4. ( This is another major show and conference, drawing crowds from all ovr the Southeastern United States.

So that is the summer on the United States side of the Atlantic: busy it could be, but just look at what Europe is up to. The Royal Horticultural Society alone could keep you hopping in England: has details of the Spring Gardening Show in Malvern, 10-12 May, Chelsea Flower Show, 21-24 May, Hampton Court Palace Show, 2-7 July, the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park July 17-21, and the Autumn Garden and Country Show in Malvern September 27,28, with monthly shows in London thrown in in case you need a little fix between the big ones.

On the continent it is a little quieter. Always something to see, but the big trade show of the summer is not until Plantarium in Boskoop, August 21-24 ( However, that is not taking into account the very special, and only once-every-eight-years treat of Floriade, April 6 - October 20 at a site not far from Amsterdam. If you go, expect to be one of 3,000,000 visitors during that time for a changing "permanent" exhibition and a series of events at a park specifically built for the show, and actually designed (this is the Netherlands, after all), to make it convenient to reach and to tour. Read all about it at

Did I mention pack and flowering trials for the trade in California and in Europe? Countless local flower shows in Europe and in the parts of the United States and Canada with a European tradition - and then, of course, the rest of the world: A heliconia conference in Bangkok, the International Palm Society Biennial on the French Riviera, trade shows in China, Poland, Russia and Ecuador.

E-mail if you want to know about any of those. Assuming, of course, that I am going to be here in my office, but, really, is that likely in light of the above?

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