QBARS - v11n3 The California Spring Home and Garden Show

The California Spring Home and Garden Show
Daryl B. May, Landscape Architect

The California Spring Home and Garden Show, held in Oakland, California, is justly famous for its lavish floral displays that have been exhibited in years past. Judged by previous standards 1957 was a banner year. The make-believe theme of Shangri-la was successfully carried out through the entire show by Howard Gilkey, Landscape Architect.
The exhibit by the California Chapter of the A.R.S. was on a direct axis from the Exhibition Building, and in the main line of pedestrian travel to the outdoor exhibits, consequently it received considerable attention.

 California Chapter exhibit
Fig. 28.  Exhibit of California Chapter, American Rhododendron Society at
California Home and Garden Show, Oakland California, May 4-12, 1957

Our design idea, based on the general theme, attempted to create in the mind of the individual viewing it the impression of just arriving in the valley of Shangri-la, and being greeted by the color and fragrance, but with the full vision of the valley just around the bend in the path.
We developed this idea by blending down from tall whites (R. 'Loderi White Diamond') and light pinks (R. 'Eureka Maid', etc.) to bright pinks (R. 'Betty Wormald', etc.) and reds (R. 'Jean Marie de Montague', 'Langley Park', 'Matador', etc.) in the foreground. As the color was intensified, to the front, the plants were scaled down in size to create a low plane at the path entrance. The small species were placed in the very front to show their interesting colors and textures. The necessary changes in pace to create interest in a small area were developed by the expedient of rapid changes in height and strong contrasts of color on the path side of the exhibit. This developed a center of interest in the entrance and created a visual movement along the path leading you into the valley.
Bringing the reds to the immediate foreground, holding the strong lavenders and purples to the sides, and blending hack to the light shades gives the illusion of distance in this particular design. Other areas of color and texture were used for secondary accents as the design indicated; rocks, ferns, etc. Please note the photograph.
The rise and fall in ground level, (approximately three feet), from front to back is accentuated by the rapid change in height of the plants. The number and relationship of individual color groups of low azaleas in front also accent this rise. This quick transition in size and scale is necessary in a small area to give the feeling of space and yet still contain the necessary components of balance and proportion.
Rhododendrons, hybrids and species which received comment from the public. Names given are chapter members and donors of listed material.

  • Howard Kerrigan: R. artosquameum , R. dalhousiae , R. 'Lady Primrose', R. ledoides , R. yunnanense .
  • Floyd H. Mick: R. 'Broughtonii Aureum', R. cremastum , R. 'Fragrantissimum', R. fortunei , R. maddenii .
  • Maurice Summer: R. 'Broughtonii Aureum', R. carolinianum , etc.
  • Charles Jensen: R. johnstoneanum , lutescens .
  • Thomas Russ: Exbury azalea seedlings, selected Azalea occidentale forms, R. 'Zuyder Zee',
    R. 'Moonstone'
  • Jack Osegueda: R. 'Matador', R. 'May Day'.