Green industry trade shows feature acres of hot new plants and products from all around the world. This is a B2B environment - wholesalers selling to retailers, landscapers, garden centers, etc. Lots of orders are placed; much wining and dining occurs between client and vendor. Many gardeners would give their eye teeth to walk the floor of these behemoths to see the latest and greatest; it's actually not that hard to get in - I've given tips on this before in various seminars and talks. The bummer is you can't "shop" the show per se; nothing can leave the floor until the trade show closes. But if you're willing to hang around, you can buy an entire booth of product at wholesale prices - trees, shrubs, perennial plugs, etc., because the vendor's really not interested in lugging it back to wherever.
Here's a few cool things I saw last week at MANTS - the Mid Atlantic Nursery Trade Show, held in the Baltimore convention center (not to be confused with PANTS - the Pennsylvania show). Virginia Tech always has a great presence there - tons of our alumni exhibit at the show, and we always represent with some faculty and staff from Horticulture and CALS.
A flock of Aloe, all in perfectly synchronized bloom just for the tradeshow. From the fabulous Carolina Nurseries, way down near Charleston.
A whacky little thing called Synogonanthus chrysanthus 'Mikado'. Cute but apparently fussy - moderate temperatures, lots of moisture but not water-logged = certain death on my windowsill.
A gorgeous new coleus from the Ball Seed empire - this one's 'Henna'. The darned sales guy would not move away from it long enough for me to brush up against it and...well, never mind.