Lea Wait, here. One of the first signs of spring in Maine is the Portland Flower Show, held last week. Given the exigencies of life, however, I’d always wanted to go, but had never been until this year.
So when Liz DeSimone, a member of the Maine Antiques Dealers Board of Directors (a board I’d also served my time on a few years back) called and said MADA was going to take a booth there this year, I immediately agreed to help out.
(One of the hats I wear, although not as often as in the past, is that of a 4th generation antiques dealer. I specialize in antique prints, just as my sleuth, Maggie Summer, does in my Shadows mysteries.)
The idea was simple: MADA members would contribute antiques from their businesses that fit the theme of “gardens” or “flowers”, we’d display them for sale in one booth, remind people about our statewide organization of dealers, (http://www.maineantiques.org) and give out directories with information about members’ shops.
For those of you who’ve never experienced the joy of setting up a vendor’s booth at a large trade show, I took a picture before we’d set up. We had one space, 10 feet by 10 feet, in which to display antiques donated by about thirty dealers. (Luckily, we had a corner space and no one stopped us from overflowing.)
I brought botanical prints, both framed and unframed, wire walls to hang the framed prints on, and a free-standing print bin. Other dealers brought stenciled tin watering cans, wicker furniture, botanical china, garden tools, a quilt appliquéd with flowers, hooked rugs with floral designs, a magnificent bird house … an amazingly varied collection.
But if our booth was varied, it was nothing compared to what was in the rest of the Flower Show. From the other 80+ vendors you could, yes, buy flowers. But you could also buy nuts, hand lotion, hooks to organize tools in your barn, jewelry, modern bird houses, stuffed iguanas, top soil, teak furniture, pottery, stoves, bulbs, awnings, mud mats, mosquito repellant, poison ivy cures, porch swings, herbal remedies, and canvas bags in which to carry all those treasures (well, maybe not the top soil) home.
And, yes, there were gardens. And, since it was Maine, rock gardens. And stone walls. And rocky landscaped paths. And waterfalls. Altogether, the gathering of vendors was rather amazing and fun.
How did the Maine Antique Dealers do? We sold a few things. We made a few friends. Enough so we’d consider doing it all again next year. Right now we’re too weary to decide.
But, who knows? Maybe Maggie Summer could take a booth at a garden show sometime. Lots of people admired her botanical prints. I wonder how deep those pools
near the waterfalls were. Just deep enough, I suspect. Especially if someone were to be hit on the head with a rock. Certainly there were enough rocks in the landscaping areas. No one would miss one or two. And the exhibit buildings are locked all night ….
Shadows at the Flower Show. That just might work.