The Chicago Flower and Garden Show this year is filled with inspiration for gardeners who like themed gardens, but it also hold some special shopping opportunities for us urban gardeners and people who garden in small spaces and lovers of unusual plants.
The D. Landreth Seed Company: creators the African-American Heritage Collection of vegetable garden seeds has a large booth with unusual vegetable & herb seeds, seed potatoes, garden tools and books. During my recent trip through garden centers in Chicago I didn't see that any of them carried Landreth seeds, so don't miss this opportunity to purchase some seeds that your friends and neighbors don't grow. If you grow backyard tomatoes check out the Texas Tomato Cages, the best way to support tomatoes that I've seen.
The Dutch bulb sellers: Great tender and spring bulbs like Amaryllis bulbs, Voodoo Lilies, GIANT elephant ear tubers, pre-chilled tulips and hyacinths that you can force indoors, calla lilies, dahlias and irises. Some of these are hard to find in Chicago garden centers and when you do they are a lot more expensive.
Out of Africa: African violet lovers and people who want houseplants that bloom in low light settings shouldn't miss this vendor.
Ted's Greenhouse: If you are a fan of cacti and succulents Ted's is a must, especially if you like rare and unusual cacti and succulents.
CobraHead: A garden weeding tool that is popular among garden bloggers.
Garden Things: An interesting collection of gardening gear like holsters to carry your garden tools around while working in the garden.
There is also an assortment of pots and tools (many that I spotted at the Independent Garden Center Show) and garden art. At the Chicago Flower and Garden Show cash is king. Make sure you have plenty of cash because some vendors don't take plastic and some have a minimum to purchase requirement.