The Hyde Park Garden Fair: The Game Of Thrones of Gardening

Brutal.  Machiavellian.  Ruthless.  A Blood Sport.

No I'm not talking about the popular Game of Thrones television series.  I'm talking about the Hyde Park Garden Fair.

For those of you who don't know, the Hyde Park Garden Fair is the preeminent event for gardeners on the south side.  Billed as "Chicago's Oldest Community Garden Sale" it has both the variety and (if you're there early) the quantity of every annual, perennial, basket, herb and shrub for your garden.

I am not exaggerating when I say it's a  brutal blood sport.  It truly isn't for the faint of heart.

I would rather walk through hell in a gasoline suit than tangle with a bunch of little old ladies determined to score a basil plant.

Don't let the gardening gloves and floppy hats fool you, those ladies always come with their "A" game and they will hip check you out of the way to get to what they want.

I'm not ashamed to say that they scare me.

Those pipe smoking professor looking types and their wives (and partners) turn into a wrestling tag team to get the best that the garden fair has to offer.

Little old grey haired ladies will ram their carts into your Achilles tendon to move you along if you're not walking fast enough.

Ladies and gentlemen, gardening is some serious business down here.

As I've stated in previous posts, the lack of nearby garden centers and places to buy plants on the south side makes the Hyde Park Garden Fair a much in demand event.  The competition for the best plants has led to some spirited discussions.

And when I say spirited discussions, I mean finger in the face raised voices spirited discussions.

If you like people watching and good theater, you should pull up a chair after you purchase a delicious pastry at Bonjour Cafe Bakery and watch the action.

Getting the best the Hyde Park Garden Fair has to offer  is not unlike the plot line to HBO's epic fantasy, intrigue filled, middle earth-esque series.

Except their is no nudity and substitute mosquitoes for dragons.

Like "Game," there is a great deal of scheming involved to influence the desired outcome.

The uninitiated get to the fair early to secure their carts so they can go into battle.  Most times, people shop in pairs---one person minds the cart and the other runs for plants.

All in all not a bad idea but also not the best and a tremendous waste of energy.

Smart garden fair attendees, do the same amount of plotting but drop an e-mail with the plants they want to the appropriate person and come pay for them and pick them up during setup.

No waking up early to get in line.

No hip checking.

No ugliness with a person old enough to be your grandparent over a frickin' basil plant.

No muss, very little fuss and you're on your way home to plant.

That is how you ascend to the iron throne of gardening down here---by using your noggin.

No blood letting needed.  That can stay on t.v.


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