By Durgin McCue
On Mar. 27 through 29, the 28th Annual Capital District Garden & Flower Show was held in the McDonough sports complex. The event ran from 11:30 to 5:00 on Friday and from 10:30 to 3:30 on Saturday and Sunday. The Capital District Garden & Flower Show is unaffiliated with Hudson Valley but every year contracts with the college to use the space for the exhibition.
In the lobby of the complex, those attending could view the floral displays created for the annual floral design competition held at the event. Each year the floral design committee chooses three winning displays to fill the categories of best of show, people’s choice, and most creative.
This year the show boasted 157 vendors and 7 landscape displays. Vendors at the event sold a variety of goods, including artwork, wine, food products, jewelry, and garden supplies. The vendors were housed in the gymnasium, completely filling the space.
At the entrance to the gymnasium was a large table run by the Cornell Cooperative Extension. The Cornell Cooperative Extension was one of only a handful of educational stalls at the event.
According to Donna Millet, a 16-year master gardener with the Cooperative Extension, they provide information about gardening and invasive species to beginning gardeners.
“Basically we exist to inform the general public about anything garden-related,” said Millet. “We run a help line, sort of like a gardening hotline.”
The landscape displays were created on the ice rink in the north end of the building. The event featured 7 displays from local landscapers and garden designers. Similar to the floral design competition, a landscape competition is also held. Each year three exhibitors are selected to be the gold, silver, and bronze. This year, Decker’s Landscape & Aquatics, the 2014 winner, returned to build another display.
Also featured in the rink was a large sand sculpture being built by Phil Singer. Singer was still working on the sculpture on Friday Mar. 27 so onlookers could watch his artistic process in action. The work was title “A Summer’s Day” and was the shape of a castle with several smaller sculptures surrounding its base.
On his website Singer describes his philosophy, writing: “I believe trying is more important than succeeding. … Mistakes are necessary, and answers are intended to be looked for even if you never find them.”
For the past three years, the event has been run by Pennie Gonzalez. According to Gonzalez the event was organized by a company called SpringThyme Marketing. Gonzalez says that the organization of the event is a yearlong project.
“There is an application for the exhibitors and it’s pretty much a yearlong process,” said Gonzalez. “People start registering as soon as this year’s show is over.”
Gonzalez says the event has become a “springtime tradition” for many people. “When the weather outside is still telling us it’s winter, people like coming in and seeing the flowers. People know that spring is right around the corner once the garden show arrives.”
A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to an organization called the Wildwood Programs. According to a leaflet distributed by the organizers of the event, “Wildwood provides supports and services to people of all ages with conditions described as developmental disabilities, complex learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.” Wildwood offers schooling, employment services, residential services, and outdoor projects at locations throughout the Capital Region.