In our previous installment, you saw flowers and nothing but flowers from the 2015 Indiana Flower and Patio Show. But the exhibition, sprawled across two buildings at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, has so much more to offer than pretty flower displays. Various vendors offer gardening implements, flower and vegetable seeds, digging advice, contest drawings/telemarketing signups, garage finishing services, gutter-cleaning inventions, non-stick cookware, liquor, chocolate, nuts, coffee cakes, summer sausage, massages, eyelashes, poor abandoned pets, Indianapolis Star subscriptions, and more more more. And if you’re a fan of pushy sales pitches, this year DirecTV had no less than four different booths staffed with aggressive go-getters excited about interrogating and shaming you over your home entertainment choices.
Meanwhile, their comparatively classy competitors over at Comcast/Xfinity bought one (1) booth and, instead of practicing gotcha salesmanship, invited a celebrity spokesperson to hang out with them and sign autographs: Blue, the official mascot for the Indianapolis Colts!
(At left in the first photo above, that’s my wife’s grandmother being smothered with fuzzy showbiz love. And in case you’re wondering, I have no idea why Blue has streamers in his nose. As a chronic sufferer of sinus problems myself, I say any technique that keeps the airways free is fair game. Ignore the gawkers and run with it.)
Blue technically wasn’t the only extraordinary animal on the premises. New at the show this year: an army of topiary critters, all waiting to be called up to Off-Off-Broadway for an all-floral stage version of The Chronicles of Narnia.
This green donkey stood apart from his peers on guard duty at one of the entrances. Clearly this post was an earned privilege, and I trust he did his kind proud.
If you prefer smaller animals on your lawn, one booth had a host if inorganic options, some with a more impish sense of humor than others. The gator in particular is either a good example of 21st-century “edgy” landscaping, or a stern reminder to the neighborhood kids to the fate in store for them if they don’t beware and begone.
If you’d rather project a calmer, more soothing atmosphere in your yard, and if you’d prefer to keep it modest and visible only to your family and any up-close trespassers, I hear fairy dioramas are the next big thing, probably. At least, I think this is just a fairy diorama and not a demo for someone’s actual front-yard plans.
If you’re not a fan of fairies but you’re interested in stealing their idea for a stream down the middle of your property, another landscaping company has you covered. Add a couple of chairs and some obligatory side flowers, and soon you’ll be outside meditating and enjoying some fresh air instead of your favorite TV shows, unless you bring your phone and skip meditating. Maybe running water makes watching TV on a tiny screen more therapeutic. Who knows.
For a more adventurous waterway, try an elevated waterfall setup. Some terraforming may be required. You can follow this example and surround it with random inspirational signs, or you could go for something with a little more derring-do and have some action figures plunging over the falls in tiny, destructible barrels.
If you’d rather have still water, whether for aesthetic reasons or old-school vampirism weaknesses, try installing a modest pool. Preferably in the backyard. A front-yard wading pool would send the wrong message and give passing hobos wrong ideas.
Or if your elemental preferences run counter to societal norms, skip the water shows and light up your patio with FIRE. If you’re a reader like me, I’d strongly consider setting a second end table on the other side of your chair for your reading matter, safely away from your decorative burning.
Lawn fires come in different sizes, all of them painful but some cuter than others. This tiny fire is contained inside an artfully ventilated stone pedestal, like a caged baby ifrit.
If you’re not attending the show for your lawn’s sake and sometimes dream of covering every square foot of it in shiny, suffocating gravel, I recommend skipping all the home improvement booths and heading straight for the snack stands. Special mention goes to Bowman Bakery of Hagerstown, IN, for the most generously priced yet competitively delectable baked goods at the show. This is how you do exhibiting: stow the verbal assaults and let your great products do all the talking.
Our last stop before exiting was one of the two mandatory chocolate booths. My wife’s grandmother bought herself so many sweets that they gave her a free T-shirt. She was excited and most grateful, as those lovable elderly do love their freebies. And then, having ignored all their signs, she asked us what her free chocolate-stand T-shirt said.
This is, as you might imagine, not something my wife or I would choose to wear. But, y’know, it’s not our shirt.
…though come to think of it, if I wanted to take a more proactive stance against hard-sell hucksters, I could nab myself one of these, wear it to the show, and dare those guys to look me in the eye and proposition me again.
See you next year!