Go like a Pro to the Garden Show!

At the 2016 Chicago Flower & Garden Show - Diane, Gayle, me (yours truly), and April

At the 2016 Chicago Flower & Garden Show – Diane, Gayle, me (yours truly), and April

It’s time to get ready for this year’s Chicago Flower and Garden Show! I think this year’s theme is particularly good: Chicago’s Blooming.  It’s all about urban gardening, folks, and I love it! My dad was the best urban gardener on the north side of Chicago.  I’ve gone for many years and learned all the ropes. Here are my tips.

Buy Your Tickets NOW

…and don’t pay full price! Groupon is offering them for nearly half off, plus right now (2/24/17) you can get another 20% off with this sale code: SALE3.

NOTE TO THRIFTY GARDENERS: Before you buy these or anything else from Groupon, sign in through Ebates to get another 6% in cash back later. New members could use my link here to get a $10 BONUS—WOW!

The Groupon deal has been the best one available for the last several years, and it requires buying your tickets in pairs. That’s a good thing because you want to go with friends. Not only do you save money by going together (you could split the expensive Navy Pier parking cost, too), but you’ll always learn more and have more fun.

Gayle got plant recommendations from the master gardeners in our group.

Gayle got plant recommendations from the master gardeners in our group.

Plan Ahead for the Day

Here is my plan for this year:

WE MEET BY 9:30 AM at my house. (That means you can come earlier, but please no later than 9:30.) The show opens at 10 AM. The first seminar is at 11 AM (the last one is at 5 PM), and the first cooking demo is at 11:30 AM (the last one is at 6:30 PM).

I recommend packing snacks/lunches as well as bringing money for food and shopping with the vendors. There are plenty of lunch options there (including a nice deal from Riva’s–fancy!), but I personally prefer getting to as many seminars and cooking demos as possible, and that leaves little time for lunch. 
Once there, you can each go to whichever seminars and cooking demos you want; and whenever you’re not doing that, you could visit the gardens and vendors. Pace yourself however you like! We could meet at 3 PM, at the entrance garden perhaps, to touch base. We’ll compare notes and see if we all got to see everything yet and which, if any, of the remaining talks and demos we want to attend. (That 5 PM one does sound interesting!) We could also decide then what to do for dinner. There are many nice new eating places on Navy Pier that I’d like to try.
We should be ready to drive back home in the early evening, hopefully after rush hour traffic has died down.
Looking forward to this adventure!

Additional Tips

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking.
  • Bring a sweater or light jacket. It’s usually a bit chilly in the showroom, but you might want to remove this layer at times.
  • BRING A DIGITAL CAMERA! I like to take MANY pictures. Pro Tip: I also take notes with my camera by using it to take pictures of plant labels and other signs on display.  Speaking of pictures, I prefer to take pictures of the garden displays in the late afternoon, when they are usually less crowded. (That may change, of course, if everyone starts following my tips here.)
  • Bring one water bottle, preferably in some kind of carrier so you don’t have to carry it. You could refill it, as needed, at the water fountain down the hall outside the showroom. Sorry, there are no fountains inside the showroom–that’s why I’m telling you to carry a water bottle.
  • Bring a light daypack. Pack a pen and paper in it, as well as your lunch and snacks.  Throughout the day you will use it to stash the brochures, recipes, and notes you’ll collect, and perhaps any small purchases you make.

I like to go as hands free as possible.  If you look closely at the picture at the top of this post, you’ll see backpack straps on my shoulders. (OK, maybe you won’t. They’re hard to see because I was using a backpack with a blue flowery design, and it blended in with my blue–a different shade of blue–flowery jacket. I like blue flowery stuff!) You’ll also see that my purse/phone, camera (blue camera in a blue case, of course), and water bottle are all hanging from my waist. That’s the way to go like a pro to the garden show!


About A Well Watered Garden

Rea is my last name, and Chez Rea is what we call our home and family. That’s French for the Rea House, and it rhymes. Say “shay ray” and you’re pronouncing it right.
This entry was posted in Garden Talks and Shows, Tips and Tools. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Go like a Pro to the Garden Show!

  1. ANNA M SHRADER says:

    Sounds like fun!! Wish I could go!


  2. You could! Stay with us or with Matt & Tarah. 🙂


  3. Pingback: Look Who SHOWed Up! | A Well Watered Garden

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