October 24, 2009

Garden And Floral Expo/LGFashionweek

Fashion Flowers vs. Flower Fashions

October 20, 2009

Garden And Floral Expo is a trade show for the Nursery and Florist industry. Wholesalers come from across the country to showcase their garden products, plants, statuary, planters, bulbs, outdoor lighting, retail display shelving, carts...

LGFashionweek brings together dozens of Canadian Fashion Designers and is an important showcase of their work for not only retail buyers and other fashion industry people but is also a fabulous publicity venue in general.

Shortly before the show I was invited to attend LGFashionweek. I figured, why not! I would attend both shows and compare the new introductions from both for the Spring and Summer 2010. If nothing else I could compare colour trends.

The main difference between the two is that it takes 10 years to get from creation to market with plant material but new ideas about fashion design can change within 6 months. Therefore, something like the economic downturn would have more of a visible effect on the fashion industry but not on the horticultural industry.

Despite the troubled economy, there were plenty of people in attendance at the Garden and Floral Expo held at the Toronto Congress Centre. Everyone was very interested in the new plant introductions.

Garden and Floral Expo

Coleus 'Versa - Burgundy to Green' is a good example of what we will be seeing in the spring. Chartreuse is going to play a big role in much of the annual mass plantings and hanging baskets. You will see this colour being paired with orange, fuschia and black.

Coleus 'Versa - Burgundy to Green'

The new perennials are for more of a sophisticated taste. Smaller, less showy, but interesting seems to be the trend. These are plants that you have to appreciate up close. Garden writer, Lorraine Flanigan shows me a new dwarf Toad Lily that she found at the Maple Leaf Nurseries booth.

Lorraine Flanigan
Toad Lily

This is a plant for the collector. It is the first one that I have ever seen of that size, and the first one I have ever seen with variegated leaves.

Sean James, Master Gardener, Landscaper and one of the speakers at the show, is taking a look at a new Sea Holly being held by Brent Vanderkruk of Connon Nurseries.

Sean James & Brent VanderKruk
Sea Holly 'Big Blue'

Connon Nurseries also brought in this Wollemi Pine ↓ . Don't even bother to try and find it at your local nursery. This is a museum piece. The last one I saw was behind bars at Kew Gardens. When they first become commercially available to the public I would expect they will retail for about a thousand dollars a foot if not more.

Wollemi Pine

When Lorraine heard that I was going to LGFashionweek she offered me a ride down to King Street. Thank you Lorraine! It allowed me to spend more time at the Expo, and it let me arrive early to the fashion show.

In Lorraine's Car

When I got there I had a bite to eat at the local coffee shop. Then I spoke with the girls from Wildrose Gardening, who were installing dozens of cedars from Sheridan Nurseries as a screen along the side of the LGFashionweek back lot.

Wildrose Gardening Girls

Then I photographed the very cute protesters from PETA. Emily Lavender is in the seal costume. Her friend is wearing his own fur!

Peppy PETA Protesters

My advice about what to wear to LGFashionweek is that it doesn't matter as long as it's black. If you're holding a camera, then it doesn't matter at all.

LGFashionweek Interior

I can't say that I saw any celebrities, but I did see a lot of Fashion reporters.

Fashion Reporter

Minutes before the show we were ushered into our seats.

People milling about on the runway

I was there to see the collection by Jason Meyer. By chance, I was placed in the second row. Thank you Rock-it Promotions!

Like the film that started the presentation (Summertime, 1955, starring Katharine Hepburn, as and aging spinster, and Rossano Brazzi, her Italian lover), the collection is a romance between conservatism and passion, between cool engineering and creative enthusiasm.

I watched the designs come out one at a time and by the fifth one I was almost ready to give up. They were beautiful but how was I going to make any comparisons with them and the new flower introductions but then


Here is what I had been waiting for, an expression of life and love and spring! Look, I think she is even wearing gardening gloves.

Jason Meyer Design

(The fellow above ↑ , seated on the left wearing glasses is Adrian Mainella, former host of the now cancelled Fashion File.)

You can see the fluidity of colour in both fabric and flower, like Venetian glass.

Petunia 'Sophistica Lime Bicolor'

If Hepburn and Brazzi had a child, these are the clothes that she would be wearing in the spring and summer of 2010.

Jason Meyer Design
Petunia 'Pretty Much Picasso'

The Petunia above is 'Pretty Much Picasso.' Get used to it! It is the "It Girl" of the plant world for summer 2010. Expect to see it at all the best homes and gardens. Again, it is a plant that has to be appreciated up close. Mass planting only ruins the effect. It is best presented in a hanging basket or a planter situated close to people.

After the show Swarit Jajal (left) and Asad Mecci were having a great time at the bar. Asad, a Hypnotist, apparently plays basketball with Jason and came to support his buddy.

Swarit Jajal & Asad Mecci

Jason Meyer and Glen Baxter pose for a photo before they tape their interview for Fashion Television.

Jason Meyer & Glen Baxter

I was going to attend the "After Party", but I found out when I arrived that it wasn't going to start until 11 pm. I've lived long enough to realize that any party that starts at 11 pm usually in some way or another goes on until 8 am, and those days for me are long gone. Sadly I headed home.

It was lucky for me that I did for the next day, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I headed back to the Garden and Floral Expo. My friend Cathy Swain had told me the day before that David J.C. Austin would be attending the show. Songs have been written about Austin roses. David Austin Sr. created the worldwide craze for English style roses and his company continues to dominate the market.

Along with David Austin was his US Sales Manager, Debbie Remblence. I think at first she was a little wary of me. "Who does this guy think he is?" she must have thought. That is, until I started talking to David about rose genetics. There is no other feeling than when you can talk about a subject that you know inside and out.

Debbie Remblence & David J.C. Austin

Here is Austin rose 'Patience' with tulips, displayed at the show.

Austin rose 'Patience'

Here is my friend Cathy Swain, Van Noort Bulb co. Ltd. With David Austin. Van Noorts is an official wholesaler of David Austin roses in Canada.

Cathy Swain & David J.C. Austin

If you are wondering why the photo below looks different from the others, it's because I used my little pocket camera. Here I am standing with David Austin. Because I'm pointing it back at myself I have to hold it upside down. That places the flash below the lens, which brightens any dark circles under the eyes. It sort of gives the subject a virtual face-lift. The only problem is that it can accentuate a double chin.

In general, I like it because you get a closer photo than you normally would and it has a far more relaxed and casual look.

Me and David J.C. Austin

If you are hosting a garden related event in the GTA and would like it covered in gardentoronto.ca or would like to place an e-poster about it on our Events Calendar, just contact me. I am always delighted to promote anything gardening in Toronto.


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