An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

September 14, 2011

Gambling on a Good Spring

This past Sunday two of us from work headed up to Atlantic City for a large trade show, primarily aimed at garden center buyers.  I usually go to nursery trade shows where plants are the main attraction, but this was not a plant show; it was everything but.  Tools, pottery, soils, fountains, chemicals, furniture, birding supplies and just about any other imagined garden accessory could be bought and sold for the upcoming season.  Many of the vendors were large national players, but there were also smaller, specialty companies showing off their products. The convention center floor was a good place to see what trends might be in store for the industry (and yes, it is an industry).  So here are a few things I noticed:

- I was very glad to see how prominent organics continue to be, and glad that there are so many companies offering them.  Even names synonymous with chemistry, like Scott's and Bayer, are offering their own lines of organics.
- Edible gardening will continue to be a hot topic.
- I was amazed at the assortment of creepy-to-me figurines and statues that are available, but I know that different regions of the country have different tastes in this sort of thing.
- Birding supplies and options appear to be growing.
- Fairy gardening?  Really?
- Pottery designs and colors are trending towards Art Deco, perhaps so the Great Recession will mirror the Great Depression.
- I am not a big fan of gadgets and tend to only keep one or two simple tools close at hand, but the gadget fans will not be disappointed.

The show was hard work, but we were fed well, offered a few free drinks and they put us up at Caesar's.  The lobby was a little over-the-top, but the room itself was very good and had a nice view of the ocean and the boardwalk.  It would be easier for me to grow a third eye than to gamble in a casino, so that part of the Atlantic City experience was lost on me.  Besides, all the casinos smelled of stale cigarette smoke and desperation.  Outside it smelled like the sea.

Beyond the Boardwalk

Beyond the Boardwalk (2)


Bellvue Ave (2)

Bellvue Ave

Boardwalk (5)




Night  House

(I have more pictures if you are interested.  Click here to see the whole set.)


  1. I was about to say you go to Atlantic City and don't gamble and only show the sea? So glad to see Caesars Palace. I like the beach too but gambling (or at least the semblance of it) at Vegas or Atlantic City would be cool. Never been to Atlantic City but did Vegas one time. No beach there but plenty of sand. It must've been too cool to see all the things available for garden centers to thrust upon us gardeners-I like art deco so that's not so bad.

  2. Love this post....I wonder who are those people? The ones who are drawn to the figurines and fairy gardens? ... I almost added in the gamblers but I've now got a friend who takes her gambling serious so I suppose I do know who those people are...

    Great photos!

  3. Pigeon talk: you talking to me? you talking to ME? Do I amuse you? Am I some sort of perverse, winged clown here to do tricks for you? That's it!

  4. Les, I have noticed the same trend toward fairy gardening. Children have been building fairy houses in the woods at prominent gardens in Maine for a while. I think it all started in Acadia. But the whole idea is that they use all natural, found materials. Leave it to commerce to ruin it by finding something to sell. I am like you with my few hand (no power) tools, but my husband loves gadgets so he will be happy. Carolyn

  5. Fairy garden? Fairy gardening? Oh my god!

  6. Thanks for a little dose of beach. It has been a few years since I have walked the sandy shores. You are incredible, you can even make pigeons look good.
    I love kitchen gadgets...trying not to let my love overflow into the garden tools.

  7. Art deco pots sounds cool. Any company names I can google?

  8. Your comments about fairy gardening and creepy garden ornaments made me shudder with horror, but your slideshow made up for it. Love the shadows and textures you captured - the birds look every bit as stupid as our collared doves - and what's not to love about giant monopoly? Mostly though I just loved your crisp clear shots of architecture and sea. Who needs casinos when there is all that on offer?

  9. Hi Les,
    Interesting notes on trends at the trade show. I too would have gone out for a seaside walk over gambling. I just love this short string of sentences:

    "It would be easier for me to grow a third eye than to gamble in a casino, so that part of the Atlantic City experience was lost on me. Besides, all the casinos smelled of stale cigarette smoke and desperation. Outside it smelled like the sea."

    Great writing! The pictures are super as always.

    P.S. Dare I confess I like garden fairies? I think it is a girl thing.

  10. The pigeons in front of the window, with their shadows reflected below: what a wonderful composition! I just love that picture!
    But what on earth is 'fairy gardening'? I'll be googling this next...

  11. stale cigarette smoke and desperation -- sounds like the 60s suburbs.

    don't know exactly what is meant by fairy gardening, but as far as miniature plants and tiny leaf and acorn houses in the woods (or a container) i'm all for it. kids love it and it's fun for moms too. like jennifer said, it's probably a girl thing.