Things to Know Before the Show!

We’re officially mere days away from the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show! While we’re busy building the gardens and perfecting the blooms, here are some quick tips for the show. See you soon!

What is the Chicago Flower & Garden Show?

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show presented by Mariano’s, is a legacy event dating back to the 1800s! This year, we’re thrilled to feature more than 24 gardens, dozens of inspirational and education speakers, and daily hands-on activities for gardeners of all ages and experience levels. We tout our show as the official start to spring—just one glimpse of these beautiful gardens and you’ll forget there’s still snow on the ground. Join us Saturday March 14 through Sunday, March 22 for tips and tricks to Do Green. Do Good.

Sunday-Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

How much does it cost?

Get your tickets online before March 14 and save $2 off the box office prices listed below! No service fees!

Weekday tickets: $17 (at the box office)
Weekend tickets: $19 (at the box office)
Children 4-12: $5
Spring fling (Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 21, from 5-8 p.m.): $10 

How do I get there?

Held at the iconic Navy Pier, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show is easily accessible by car and public transportation. Navy Pier is located just off Lake Shore Drive at the Grand Avenue exit.

By Car:

  • From the north, take Lake Shore Drive (US 41) to the Grand Avenue exit and follow signs to Navy Pier.
  • From the northwest, take the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) to the Ohio Street Exit, head east on Ohio to Wells, head south on Wells to Illinois Street, then proceed east to Navy Pier. A secondary route is to take the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) to the Ohio Street exit, head east on Ohio to Columbus/Fairbanks, then go south on Columbus/Fairbanks to Illinois, and proceed east on Illinois to Navy Pier.
  • From the west, take the Eisenhower Express (I-290) to Columbus Drive, north to Illinois Street and proceed east to Navy Pier.
  • From the southwest, take the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) to Lake Shore Drive (US 41) north to Illinois Street exit and turn right (east) at bottom of ramp to Navy Pier.
  • From the south, take the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) east to the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) to Lake Shore Drive (US 41) north to Illinois Street exit and turn right (east) at bottom of ramp to Navy Pier.
  • From the southeast, take Lake Shore Drive (US 41) north to Illinois Street exit.

By Public Transportation

    Metra commuter rail is a convenient travel alternative. Take Metra and then transfer to CTA buses to come directly to Navy Pier. Use CTA bus #124 from Union/Ogilvie Stations and Millennium Station and CTA bus #29 from LaSalle Street Station and Millennium Station. Visit to plan your trip.
  • CTA
    The CTA provides five bus lines serving Navy Pier daily. These are #29 State, #65 Grand, #66 Chicago, #124 Navy Pier (serving Metra lines from Millennium Station, Ogilvie and Union Stations) and #2 Hyde Park Express (during weekday morning and evening rush hours only). All buses are equipped with bike racks and are ADA accessible. For more information visit

What’s the parking situation?

There are a variety of parking options at and around Navy Pier while it is undergoing extensive renovations.

  • Navy Pier Discounted Parking Rates
    $15 Monday– Thursday
    $20 Friday – Sunday
    No coupon or validation necessary. May not be combined with any other promotion, validation rate or valet. Valid at Navy Pier East or West garages only. Discount based on time stamped on parking ticket when vehicle entered the Navy Pier Parking Garage.
  • Remote Garage Discounted Parking Rates
    Navy Pier has partnered with two off-site parking garages that will offer discounted parking for $15 when validated at Navy Pier. Grand Plaza Park (540 N. State) and Ogden Plaza Self Park (300 E. North Water Street) are within walking distance to Navy Pier and are serviced by the Navy Pier Trolley seasonally.

    These off-site parking garages are subject to availability. Rates subject to change. $15 discounted offer is valid only at Grand Plaza Park and Ogden Plaza Self Park garages ONLY. Must obtain validation in order to receive discounted rate. Navy Pier Guest Services validates for cars parked at Grand Plaza Park and Ogden Plaza Self Park. Validation rate provides 12 hours of parking in the Grand Plaza Park and Ogden Plaza Self Park. Discount cannot be applied to Navy Pier East or West Garages (600 E. Grand Ave.).
  • SpotHero
    Book discounted parking in advance with SpotHero. SpotHero is a Website, iPhone and Android app that helps you search for and book parking for up to 50% off.  Redeem a FREE PARKING CREDIT with $5 promo code FLOWER.

Can I bring my kids?

YES! The Chicago Flower & Garden Show is extremely kid-friendly. With lots of creepy crawly bugs, hands-on potty parties and other adventures, children will be very entertained. Check out our Kids’ Activity Garden schedule, sponsored by Julie.

Kids ages 4-12 get in for $5 every day!


What day is the best day to come?

Each day is jam-packed with different seminars and chef demonstrations—we can’t pick! If you like cake, you’re not going to want to miss the Retail Bakers of America’s cake-decorating competition, March 21-22. Want to catch another competition? The American Institute of Floral Designers Bobbi Cup Design competition is on opening day, March 14. Want to catch Ronald McDonald? Stop by the Kids’ Activity Garden on March 22! Need rose garden tips, want to get recipes from the best Chicago chefs or just can’t make up your mind? Schedule your trip (or trips!) online now so you can make the most of all the show has to offer.


What will I find in the marketplace?

More than 100 vendors of gardening, landscape and horticulture products and
services will showcase their green and eco-friendly wares at the Marketplace. Find out who and what companies will be there.

Is there food?

There are a number of food kiosks, as well as a food court and many other restaurants on Navy Pier, including Harry Carey’s Tavern and Riva Crab House.

Can I take pictures?

Say cheese! Share your show photos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with hashtag, #chicagoflower.



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Come for the Flowers. Leave with Recipes.

Calling all foodies, master chefs and microwave mavens: Garden Gourmet is coming!

No matter what your cooking style or habits include, visiting Garden Gourmet for one, two or multiple culinary demonstrations will not disappoint! Our live culinary demonstrations will feature top Chicago-area chefs who’ll share their expertise on creating sumptuous dishes from fresh, homegrown ingredients. And during the last two days of the show, the National Cake Decorating Competition will take over in an action-packed event.

Garden GourmetYou’re welcomed to sit in on demonstrations every day of the show with timeslots being 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm and 6:30pm. Each demonstration will introduce something new and inspiring to bring home to your table.

Our Garden Gourmet lineup of participating chefs and restaurants include:

Sarah Koechling, Pastry Chef at Formento’s

Martial Noquier from Bistronomic

Alan Yuen from Friendship Restaurant

Markus Ford and Dane Neal from Flavor HD on WGN Radio

Peggy Balboa, RD, LDN from Mariano’s

Sam Netter from Real Urban BBQ

John Terlato from Terlato Kitchen

Ed Nemec from Dancing Marlin Restaurant

Luigi Garcia from RIVA Crab House

James Sitkiewicz from VEG’D at Mariano’s

Didier Durand from Cyrano’s Farm Kitchen

Devon Quinn from Paramount Events

Lorin Adolph and Kiki Luthringhausen from Mariano’s

Lorel Boger, Executive Pastry Chef at Eli’s Cheesecake

Dirk and Terry Fucik from Dirk’s Fish

Tony Priolo from Piccolo Sogno

Victor DeLeon from O’Donovan’s Pub and Restaurant

Mathew Reichel from The Berghoff Restaurant

John Cosnotti from Devon Seafood Grill

Sarah Grueneberg from Monteverde

Ina Pinkney

Joe Rosetti from Harry Caray’s

View the complete day-by-day schedule here.


National Cake Decorating Competition in partnership with Retail Bakers of America and Pillsbury

Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22 | 10am – 4pm

In partnership with Pillsbury, the RBA is pleased to announce that the 14th annual National Bakers + Creative Decorating Competition will be held at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. The event will feature eight professional cake decorators competing in three different categories for a chance to be named Best Cake Decorator! Be sure to stop by and catch the action! Learn more here.

Decorating categories include:

Wedding Cake
Theme: A Spring Garden Wedding for Emily & Peter
Contestants will be given a choice of wedding cake layer sizes and cakes must be at least 4 tiers high.

Sculpted Cake
Theme: Unknown until competition
Contestants must prepare a 2-tiered cake, incorporating at least 2 specific fondant techniques.

Rolled Fondant Cake
Theme: A Walk in the Woods
Contestants must create a 3-dimensional design that is at least 12″ tall. They are encouraged to add an element of movement.

RBA CompetitionRBA CompetitionBe sure to stop by Garden Gourmet to see what’s cookin’! We can’t wait to see you all soon!

Also, purchase your tickets before March 14th and save $2 off box office prices. BUY TICKETS NOW!

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25 Reasons to Come to the Show

Imagine a day filled with spring scents, bright blossoming colors and backyard patios brimming with friends. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? Well, you don’t have to wait until May to enjoy the warmth of spring! It will be here March 14-22 at the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show!

Yes, we are only days away from show start. That not only means you have something exciting to look forward to—it means you have a reason to get out of the snow!

Tulip Garden Rich's Foxwillow PinesWhether you’re looking for inspiration in your own space or simply in need of a greener scene, the 2015 show will be home to 21 featured gardens, 1 garden vignette and 3 activity gardens…giving you 25 different reasons to visit us at Navy Pier this March. There you can gain advice from the builders, be motivated with new ideas and take home the tools to get you started.

Backyard InspirationHere is the lineup of gardens and their builders:

Garden 1: Que la Fête Commence by City Escape

Garden 2: A Piece of Ireland by Cotswold Gardens Ltd

Garden 3: Art of Floral: Rebirth by the North Central Chapter of AIFD

Garden 4: 811 N. Greenline Parkway – Natural Gas Safety Garden by Christy Webber Landscapes

Garden 5: Water for All the Senses by Aquascape Inc.

Garden 6: Santuario de la Monarca (Monarch Sanctuary) by Premier Service

Garden 7: Tiny House, Big (Little) Garden! by Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences

Garden 8: Garden of Weeping Wonder by Rich’s Foxwillow Pines Nursery, Inc.

Garden 9: Hyacinth Lounge by First Choice Landscaping

Garden 10: Tablescapes: Reduce, Reuse, Inspire by various Chicago designers and event planners

Garden 11: Tulip Splendor by Four Oaks Landscape

Garden 12: Photo Competition featuring entries from photographers across the nation

Garden 13: Miniature Rose Garden by Atrium Landscape

Garden 14: The Gardens of Mackinac by Barnwell Landscape & Garden Services

Garden 15: Masks: Disguise • Expose • Celebrate by Atrium Landscape

Garden 16: Outdoor Paradise by Eurobrick, Inc.

Garden 17: The Magic of Gardening by Leisure Woods Inc. and Hocus Pocus Groundcovers

Garden 18: Embrace Your Space by Lurvey Landscape Supply & Garden Center

Garden 19: Serenity in the City: Growing Green for the Body and Soul by Ted’s Greenhouse

Garden 20: Window Box Competition by The ABL Group and The Garden Clubs of Illinois

Garden 21: A Classic Rose Garden by American Gardens, Inc.

Garden Vignette: Gardening with a Purpose by Lurvey Landscape Supply & Garden Center


How-to Garden by ValleyCrest
Visit for Potting Parties, Stem Studio classes, how-to presentations and more!

Kids’ Activity Garden by First Choice Landscaping
Visit for Potting Parties, “Did you know?” presentations, bug & worm activities, arts & crafts and more!

Garden Gourmet by Lawncare Plus Design
Visit for daily culinary demonstrations from Chicago’s top chefs and restaurants

Chicago High School for Agricultural SciencesAquascapeAquascapeLearn more about all our gardens by visiting All our featured garden spaces are life-sized and filled with living plants. You can often find the builder present, making it easy to ask questions, discuss and learn tips.

We hope that by visiting the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, you’ll leave educated, motivated and inspired with the endless possibilities of “Do Green. Do Good.”

So dust off your gardening tools and prep your green space. Spring is coming!

Purchase your tickets before March 14 and save $2 off box office prices. BUY TICKETS NOW!

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Ready to Get Your Hands Dirty?

It’s time to make your neighbors green with envy. (But only when it comes to gardening, of course!) Yes, this year’s lineup for our Gardening Live stage and How-to Garden is sure to help make your space greener, brighter and bolder.

Presented by Wintrust, the How-to Garden and Gardening Live stage were designed to host educational and interactive workshops fit for all experience levels and covering a range of topics. Whether it’s potting your own plant or discovering mulching techniques, you’re sure to leave with a green piece of insight and inspiration.

Potting Party

Gardening Live StageOther happenings include the AIFD Bobbi Cup Design Competition on March 14. This annual, live design competition will showcase the talents of some of the finest floral designers in the industry as they race to create the best display. Winners will be announced the same day—making it a fast-paced, petal-inspired event! The competition begins at 1pm; winner announced at 3:30pm.

How-to GardenSo which activity or presentation will you be participating in at our 2015 show? Here is who and what you have to look forward to:


  • Shawna Coronado
  • AIFD Bobbi Cup Design Competition
  • Suzie Kostick, “I do…Glitz!” Wedding Show
  • Heather Sherwood, “Growing Dwarf Evergreens in the Home Garden,”
    “Forcing Branches for Spring Blooms,” and “Edible Spring Container Garden”
  • Cook County Farm Bureau, “Farmer’s Opening Their Doors”
  • Peterson Garden Project, “Tomato Trellising,” “Sowing Seeds & Succession Planting” and “Growing Potatoes”
  • Kristie Webber, “Spring Container Gardens,” “Kitchen Herb How-to’s,”
    and “Seed Saving 101”
  • Back to the Roots
  • Growing Power
  • Nancy Clifton, “Flower Show Arrangements,” “Herbal Spa Ideas,”
    “Container Tricks of the Trade” and “Attracting Pollinators to the Garden”
  • William Moss
  • The Seed Keeper Company
  • Chris Olsen, “Refresh, Remix, Restyle”
  • Dave Cantwell, “Pruning Basics,” “Mulching and Edging Techniques” and “Planting Trees and Shrubs”
  • Tom Weaver, “Top 10 Houseplants,” and “Terrariums”

Potting Parties


Hands-on Gardening Workshops
Daily at 12:30pm, 2:30pm and 3:30pm

Potting Parties hosted by instructor Tu Bloom
Daily at 11am, 1pm and 3pm; 5:30pm time slot available on March 14, 19, 20 and 21.
*Potting Party spaces are limited, register upon arrival; $20 workshop and supply fee.

  Potting Party with Tu Bloom

Be sure to review the full How-to Garden and Gardening Live schedule here. We can’t wait to see what you learn, discover and create at the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show!


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Coming up Roses!

With Valentine’s Day around the corner and just over 30 days until the Chicago Flower & Garden Show,  we’ve got flowers on our minds. More specifically, roses!

This is the first show in over a decade that will feature a rose garden—so we’re having two! We will feature a classic rose garden and a miniature rose garden to showcase the beauty, diversity and versatility of this ubiquitous and beautiful flower.


True to the Do Green. Do  Good. theme of the show, both rose displays will focus on disease-resistant varieties that reduce the need for chemicals and insecticides. Rosy highlights will include:

  • A rose room with shrub, English and old-garden roses
  •  Five varieties of low-maintenance hybrid tea roses from Star Roses and Plants and Weeks Roses
  • Disease-resistant antique roses, provided by Chicago’s Gethsemane Garden Center
  • For the Love of Roses‘ miniature rose garden will feature arrangements perfect for urban life—balconies, patios and containers. Additionally, for the Love of Roses’ Richard Anthony will expand on the versatility of miniature roses, with his seminar, “Growing Miniature Roses in Containers. It is Easy and Fun.”
  • Susan Fox, of Gaga’s Garden, will be giving two presentations, “Miniature Roses: Hot New Color Spots for Your Garden” and “Landscaping with Roses”
  • Expert rosarians from the American Rose Society will be on-hand to answer all your questions about cultivating roses
  •  And much more!

Can’t wait until March? We are tickled pink (and red!) to announce a special, one-day-only partnership with our presenting sponsor, Mariano’s. Buy a dozen roses ($20 or more) on Thursday, February 12th at any neighborhood Mariano’s and receive a complimentary ticket to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show! We repeat: if you buy a bouquet of roses at Mariano’s, you will get one FREE ticket to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show! What’s not to love?


Find your nearest Mariano’s and get a head start on your Valentine’s Day!

Share your bouquets with us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram! And don’t forget—just over one month left to get your show tickets online and save $2 off the box office price. Start planning your trip today!


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What Will You Learn at the Show?

A big part of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show is about education. We want gardeners and green enthusiasts of all experience levels to leave the show with a new piece of insight and inspiration. Whether it’s found at a how-to workshop, within one of our featured gardens or during one of our seminars—taking home something that will improve your garden space is important to us!


This year, in continuation of our “Do Green. Do Good.” theme, the show is proud to host more than 40 speakers to participate in our daily seminars. A number of presentation topics will be related to sustainability, as well as other topics like landscaping, annuals and perennials, planting techniques, organic gardening and more.


Speakers and topics lined up for the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show include:

  • Amanda Thomsen, “Weeder’s Digest”
  • Barbara Wise, “The Garden of the Future is the Patio”
  • Ben Helphand
  • Beth Botts, “Little Wild Things: Wildflowers in the Shade Garden” & “Snip and Shape: Practical Tips for Pruning Shrubs”
  • Bruce Bailey, “Container Named Desire” & “Don’t Let Your Lawn Stop You”
  • Carol Kim, “Pollinators and Native Gardening”
  • Charlie Nardozzi, “Growing Edibles Everywhere”
  • Dan Heims, “Shade Gardening with New Perennials” & “Sexy Succulents: Indoors and Out”
  • Diane Blazek, “10 Cool Trends in New Flowers and Vegetables”
  • Fran Sorin
  • Gary Dulock, “If Color Could Talk”
  • Jack Barnwell, “Landscaping and Gardening on Mackinac Island: Overcoming a Unique Challenge to Create Timeless Results”
  • Jennifer Brennan
  • LaManda Joy
  • Laura Erickson, “Welcoming Birds to Your Garden”
  • Maria Zampini, “Runway Stars: New Plants in Your Local Garden Center”
  • Mark Highland, “Organic Mechanics: Green Methods to Create Healthy Soil”
  • Melinda Myers, “Eco-Friendly Vegetable Gardening Success”
  • Michael and Kathi Rock, “Gardening to Attract Hummingbirds”
  • Nan Chase, “Welcome to the Drinkable Landscape”
  • Peggy Pelkonen, “Ideal Specimens for Small Spaces”
  • Richard Anthony, “Growing Minature Roses in Containers. It is Easy and Fun.”
  • Scott Mehaffey, “Bringing Nature Indoors for a Year-Round Garden Life”
  • Scott Stewart, “A Conservation Biologist Views a Public Garden”
  • Seth Reed & Mason Day, “Garden Revolution!”
  • Shawn Odeal, “The Future of Hydroponics, Aquaponics and Vertical Gardening”
  • Shawna Coronado, “Build a Sustainable Ornamental Edible Garden”
  • Stacy Best, “Garden for the Health of It”
  • Susan Betz, “Green Bridges: Safe Passages for Plants and Pollinators” & “Herbs for Pleasure and Purpose”
  • Susan Fox, “Miniature Roses: Hot New Color Spots for Your Garden” & “Landscaping with Roses”
  • The Seed Keeper Company, “The Legacy of Seed Saving”
  • Thomas Mickey, “America’s Romance with the English Garden”
  • Tom Tiddens, “Environmentally Sensitive Pest Control: Don’t Just Grab that Pesticide”
  • Tony Fulmer, “25 Problem-solving Perennials for Challenging Sites”

These individuals are the best of the best in the industry—and we’re thrilled that each and every one is joining us this year! So take notes, ask questions and learn! That’s what they’re here for.

What will you learn at the show this year? Start planning your trip by viewing our seminar schedule here. There will also be plenty of action and how-to advice happening within our busy How-to Garden. Discover what interactive activities, workshops and speakers will be joining us here.



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Do Green. Do Gala!

Do you like sneak peeks? What about delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails? The chance to win a roundtrip flight for two? We already know you like the Chicago Flower & Garden Show! Therefore, you’re invited to join hosts Nina and Bob Mariano at this year’s Preview Benefit, Evening in Bloom!

Matt Mansueto Photography Web-9243

Flower Show Productions president, Tony Abruscato, officially debuts the 2014 Chicago Flower & Garden Show last year.

Join us 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13 at Navy Pier for an exclusive first look at the 2015 show in all its grandeur. Tickets are $125 each and include cocktails and delectable appetizers.

Matt Mansueto Photography Web-9042

A longtime, pre-show tradition, Evening in Bloom is a great chance to scope out the setup, enjoy food and entertainment from Chicago’s finest, and support a great cause.

Matt Mansueto Photography Web-9300

A portion of the night’s proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association, Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and the Peterson Garden Project. Patrons have the ability to select which organization they would like to support at ticket checkout.

Matt Mansueto Photography Web-9049
As if you needed another reason to attend, each Evening in Bloom ticket purchased automatically enters you into a drawing for a chance to win two roundtrip airfare tickets courtesy of Qatar Airways!

Matt Mansueto Photography Web-9219

Evening in Bloom co-chairs and hosts, Nina and Bob Mariano, take the stage at 2014’s Evening in Bloom.

Participating restaurants include:

Matt Mansueto Photography Web-3553
So grab your tickets today for this exclusive Preview Benefit. We can’t wait to see you as we kick of the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show in style!


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Looking Forward to Spring

Good news: The Chicago Flower & Garden Show is only weeks away! Bad news: Chiberia is back. To help ease your winter blues, we’re listing 5 things to look forward to at the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show!

 1. Rose Garden Galore

This year we are welcoming not one, but two rose gardens to the show. One will focus on climbing and shrub varieties while the other will show off a sea of miniatures. Both gardens will dazzle while demonstrating that roses are easy to grow and need not be relegated to a shrub or border for fear of disease and maintenance demands.

Rose garden

 2. RBA Cake Decorating Competition

The Retail Bakers of America (RBA) are coming to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show to host their annual National Cake Decorating Competition. In partnership with Pillsbury, the RBA will bring together the best of the best in cake decorating to compete for over $14,000 in prize money. Contestants will compete in a 2-day event where each baker is required to complete a themed wedding cake, sculpted cake and creative cake. Don’t miss this fierce event as it unfolds March 21 and 22 at the show.

 3. Evening in Bloom Gala

Every year on the eve of the show’s public opening, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show hosts an exclusive preview benefit, Evening in Bloom. As a sneak peek at what’s to come, Evening in Bloom is an exciting event that brings together friends and fans of the show to benefit local charities. The official beneficiaries of the 2015 show are: Alzheimer’s Association, Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and Peterson Garden Project. When purchasing your tickets, you may designate a portion of your proceeds to any beneficiary. Along with your support of a local charity, Evening in Bloom is a fun-filled social event that includes music, a variety of food and drinks and, of course, a first glimpse of the show’s spectacular gardens. To purchase tickets click here.

 4. Irish Heritage Garden

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show is introducing an Irish Heritage Garden. Complete with Irish stone, backdrops and other traditional elements, this Irish-themed space will be a can’t-miss experience.

 5. Photography Competition

Presented by Birds & Blooms magazine, the show’s annual photography competition is a must-see event. Walk through our competition gallery to see the beautiful work of photographers of all ages and experience. Categories of the event include still life, abstract and landscape. A panel of judges will individually review photographs, and class winners along with “best in show“ will receive special recognition for the duration of the event. The deadline for photo entries is approaching on February 2, so be sure to capture your masterpiece before it’s too late. Click here to learn more and register.

We know you’re counting down the days till spring…so be sure to get a head start by visiting the Chicago Flower & Garden Show this March 14-22. Tickets are available now!

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Guest Blog Post: Designing a Stress-free Environment

This week, we’re honored to share tips from Deborah Weisenhaus from Art of Imagination, whose beautiful, custom designs will be on display at the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show, taking place March 14-22, 2015. Read on for her tips on creating a harmonious and peaceful environment for events large and small.

A nature-inspired design in a residential or venue setting can reflect balance and harmony while also stimulating the senses in a calming way.

When one walks into a space I’ve designed, I try to generate excitement and wonder by making them take a closer look at the details. These basic design details I use include color, unique textures, patterns and light—with sound and smell as an undercurrent layer.

When I assess the perimeters of what to design, I like to know how everything will flow through the space with its functionality—if I’m designing for an event, how is it being used with the physical setup? What will the guest movement look like? If it’s an interior room, what’s the prime usage? Once those answers are determined then placement of the furniture, décor and equipment is laid out with a conscious flow of movement to keep it minimal without clutter.

AOI-PrairieProductions-Tablescape (34)

Choosing the color palette is such a meaningful part of creating a peaceful, inviting environment. Each hue makes a statement and can reflect various cultures and subliminal meanings.

Overhead swag with LED lights
For example, green symbolizes nature and has a calming, refreshing effect. I can combine green from live plants with décor elements such as accent pillows. This will also be used in conjunction with other colors to create an entire composition—from walls to furniture to linens. Don’t forget, white and black are important accents to incorporate strength and influence emotions.

Textures within the fabrics and décor can add layers of softness with contrasting roughness as inspired by nature.

Lighting is the strongest design element, and can include overall illumination from natural sunlight, pinspotting lights on a focal point, or decorative lighting to accentuate certain features. Placing dimmers and timers on the light source will add transitions.

Patterns can be very versatile and help set the mood of your design. I use gobo patterns of nature (branches, leaves) on a light source, which makes it appear that the shadows are being cast from a window.

AOI-PrairieProductions-Gobos (2)
Sound and smell are the final layers that pull everything together and enhance the total guest experience. Essential oils, beeswax and soy candles will create a fresh aroma and invigorate the sense. Soft soundscapes like raindrops, waterfall or even singing birds can filter within the space to relax the spirit or create an inviting space for guests.

It’s never too late to use your senses to harmonize design elements with your own Zen-inspired design. We love creating magical forests, spa-like environments and nature-inspired themes, especially when we can add “green” elements to the event. We’re happy to offer any Chicago Flower & Garden Show readers a complimentary hour with Deborah to discuss ways to make your space more Zen. Let’s get started!

Don’t miss Deborah and her beautiful Art of Imagination designs at the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show, taking place March 14-22, 2015 at Navy Pier. For the most up-to-date inspiration, follow Art of Imagination on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

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Guest Blog Post: Adorning Candles

Brighten up your winter festivities with candles—accented with simple, DIY elements. Erika Jones of A Social Life shares her custom tricks to transform any candle in minutes. Don’t miss her inspiring tablescapes at the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show!

Candles are the perfect accessory to add to any table setting but sometimes they need a little sprucing up. Here is a great—and easy!—tip to give your candles a little life.

Items you will need:






Step 1.
Wrap the desired amount of ribbon around the candle. Make sure that the design on the ribbon lines up. You want the pattern to look continuous.

Step 2.
Cut the ribbon and place it to the side. Take out four straight pins

Now here is where the Band-Aid comes in.

Step 3.
Place the Band-Aid on your thumb. You’re going to be applying a lot of pressure with your thumb so the Band-Aid is to protect it. Wrap the ribbon around the candle. With one straight pin, push it slowly with your thumb at the bottom of the ribbon. Repeat at the top of the ribbon. Repeat the same process with the other end of the ribbon.

Happy Times!
Erika Jones, A Social Life

For more great tips and inspiration, follow Erika on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram! Don’t forget to grab your discounted tickets to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, taking place March 14-22, 2015 at Navy Pier. Use code NEWYEAR15 to save $5 total off box office prices, expiring December 31, 2014.



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Posted in Flower & Garden Show | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Guest Blog Post: Adorning Candles