You’ve got nine days (and nights), a blank canvas, or in this case a barren concrete floor, and many tons of sand, rock, plastic, and rubber. A kid’s dream? Absolutely! That’s how Brian Helfrich approaches the Chicago Flower and Garden Show each year. And the results speak for themselves, filling Chicago’s historic Navy Pier with the tranquil tunes of waterfalls and streams.
The inspiration for this year’s booth is the same as it’s been the for the previous eight shows; Inspire attendees to what’s possible in their suburban, or even urban, backyard or patio “Most people don’t even realize it’s possible to recreate a favorite piece of paradise where they live but we show them it is!” states Helfrich, head designer extraordinaire for St. Charles based Aquascape. Recreating paradise in someone’s backyard is one thing, doing it inside an assembly hall is quite another. Nothing can be done till you build everything up and only then can you carve it all out to create the foundation for all the water features, and hundreds of plants, and thousands of blooming flowers. It all needs to come together in a way that looks like it’s always been there. And be there it will be for a full ten days, and tens of thousands of visitors, we work to please before it all gets returned to its original blank slate. It’s the sad reality of doing a show like Chicago’s Flower and Garden Show. But it’s also part of the creative destruction as each year’s show fuels the next year’s design. Creating spaces people feel comfortable in, designing areas for kids, or senior citizens alike, to engage with the fish and turtles and doing it all in a way that encourages visitors to take time “to smell the flowers.” It’s a labor of love for all involved and one we look forward to doing and improving every year.