This weekend I drove up to the Chicago Botanic Garden for an all day all exciting all wonderful event — the annual seed exchange event, the Orchid Show (still going on now through March 13, 2016), and an epic luncheon and speaking event with “That Tomato Guy” Craig LeHoullier who wrote the magnificently informative Epic Tomatoes. My favorite part of the day was meeting and learning from Craig and his wonderful and magical obsession with tomatoes.
First there was a blogger luncheon where we were invited to converse with Craig LeHoullier and Lisa Hilgenberg, brilliant horticulturist for the Fruit & Vegetable Garden at Chicago Botanic. I had so many tomato questions that I could not keep my hand down. Number one on my list of questions is how to handle bottom end rot drama. Their answer – bottom end rot is a calcium deficiency caused by infrequent and irregular watering conditions. Watering regularly is the best cure, but adding bone meal to the planting hole will assist in having available calcium for the plant. Using Tums and other home cures is mostly myth and will not work. Keeping steady, consistent moisture on the roots of the tomato will help a lot. After the blogger event we were delighted to hear Craig speak. His list of favorite tomatoes that taste delicious and are healthy growers is below.
That Tomato Guy’s Favorite List of Tomatoes (in no particular order) –
- Cherokee Purple (he named this one!)
- Lucky Cross
- Cherokee Chocolate
- Cherokee Green
- Lillian’s Yellow Heirloom
- Green Giant
- Sun Gold
- Stump of the World (or Brandywine)
- Rosella Purple (dwarf)
- Dwarf Sweet Sue (named after Craig’s wife)
After the lovely tomato event I went to the Annual Seed Swap, then toured The Orchid Show. Woweewowowowowow!!! Orchids were overflowing out of the greenhouses, halls, and rooms at the annual botanic garden event. With more than 10,000 orchids all blooming at once, the Orchid Show is a breath of fresh air in middle of winter. I was captivated with all the various colors and designs of orchids and blown away by the fact that there are more than 27,800 species or orchids in existence today. And no no no – I could never identify all the varieties and colors I saw at the show, but I give you a few photos below to inspire a bit of spring happiness in your heart today.
Special thanks to the Chicago Botanic Garden for the tickets to The Orchid Show – all opinions are absolutely my own and were not influenced by the ticket I was given. Give me spring. Give me fresh flower smells. Give me orchids. I truly loved visiting this bit of plant heaven.