A trip to the Portland Expo Center to look at home and garden installations might sound a bit like a bore to a college student, but this year’s Portland Spring Home and Garden Show might be more relevant than expected.
A trip to the Portland Expo Center to look at home and garden installations might sound a bit like a bore to a college student, but this year’s Portland Spring Home and Garden Show might be more relevant than expected. With exhibits featuring urban design, sustainable building materials and do-it-yourself building demonstrations, the show is well suited to anyone interested in growing plants in a city apartment or learning about progressive ideas on urban design.
Now in its 63rd year, the Portland Spring Home and Garden Show is the largest of its kind in Oregon. For five days, it fills the Expo Center with plants, gardens, orchids, house exhibits and crafts.
The show’s big hit this year is the Ideabox, a real-size home that employs new urban design concepts, which the creators of Ideabox have dubbed “Urb Appeal.” Made with sustainable materials and built to be energy efficient, the building exemplifies the most innovative applications in energy-efficient architecture and urban gardening. The cool roof, which deflects the sun’s radiation and thus keeps the house cool on hot days, is the most notable of the Ideabox’s fittings.
Three Portland landscaping designer firms came together for the project: Terry Gibson ~ Landscape Architect, Schultz and Long Landscape Architecture, LLC, and Jack Hays Landscape Design. Each had a different take in creating a garden to complement the house. The gardens range from strategically placed rain collectors to art-filled plant beds, focusing on how a garden can be both functional (think chicken coop) and aesthetically pleasing.
Aside from innovative ideas for urban homes, expect to see plants at the show—lots of them. Patrons are free to wander the 15 showcase gardens arranged by top landscape designers and artists from the northwest. The show’s huge plant sale is an awesome opportunity to stock up on all kinds of cheap but gorgeous plants. Representatives from the nurseries will be there to explain which plants require the least care, so you can find the little bulbs that will survive neglect through finals week.
Eighteen nurseries from in and around Portland will participate in the plant sale and there will be dahlias, lilies and cacti abound. There will also be an orchid show and sale, which, for us poor students, might be best just for ogling.
For those who want to make their home more, well, homey, but can’t fork out the cash for someone else to do it, there will be some D-I-Y demonstrations on crafts from pottery to metalwork. Two Portland studios, The Shop People and 100th Monkey, are hosting it. It’s a sort of introduction to their D-I-Y shops where anyone can pay a small membership fee to use their tools and workspace.
Home Depot will have a similar exhibit where people can learn more D-I-Y house projects. They will host workshops such as “Raised Bed Gardening” and “Biodynamic Gardening.”
The show is a generally good place for questions regarding home projects and gardening. Anyone with an interest in either would do best to check it out this weekend.