Make the Most of Garden Shows

GSThe opening of the Colorado Garden & Home Show in Denver this weekend begins the season of garden and home shows statewide.  Throughout February and March, garden shows will deliver a one-stop opportunity to get fresh ideas to make outdoor spaces more functional, enjoyable and water saving.

If it’s time to liven up your yard, a trip to the garden and home show could be inspirational.  Make a wish list of potential projects and take it with you.

At the show, you can use the expansive gardens and displays to research the plants, technologies and outdoor amenities that appeal to you. Here are some tips to make your time productive.

What’s in a display?

  • Everything we do, wear or say makes a statement about us and it’s the same with garden show exhibits.
  • Does the display, even if it’s very simple, say “quality matters?”  If not, move on.

Is there good advice?
You won’t get a one-hour free consult at a home show, but you might get useful information about the amenities on display or quick advice about a problem.

  • Look for pros who say more than, “Oh, yeah, we do that.”  Even in a short chat you might get useful advice about a particular outdoor amenity to know if it’s something to consider.  Or you could get one small tip that confirms you’re headed in the right direction on a project.
  • Look for clues that indicate the “expert” really is one.  Pay special attention to the pros who answer your question with another question.  If they need to know more about your problem to give good advice, then they’re probably worth listening to.  And if they say “I don’t know,” that could indicate integrity more than stupidity.
  • Answers that begin with the phrase, “It depends . . . .” also reveal a person who understand there are often many variables in any situation. Probe with another question to find out what “it depends” might involve.

What’s the water message?

  • With a 500,000 acre-foot water gap facing Colorado by the year 2050, what are exhibitors saying about water conservation?
  • Is there information about possible rebates from local water providers for sprinkler upgrades?
  • Are gardens and exhibits showcasing cool technology that saves water?
  • Look for signs and materials that refer to Xeriscape, water conservation, smart irrigation or sustainable landscape practices.
  • Look for low-water plants that may be featured in display gardens. Make note of plants you love.
  • Gather information that you can use to save water in your yard.

These are a few things to keep in mind as you stroll through the displays at upcoming garden and home shows. The information you bring back about enhancements for outdoor living, plants you would love to grow and technology to save water can help you plan the projects you will do this growing season.

Enjoy your brief brush with spring at garden shows and be inspired for the season ahead! 

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