Home and Garden Guide

This month, escape these winter days and discover ...
The Romance of France
Visit France and take home lovely ideas for indoors and out at the 66th annual Home & Garden Show.

How about a trip to France this February? Imagine strolling down Monet’s Grande Allée in Giverny, with its arbor tunnel of sweet roses and bursts of wildflowers. Or tuck into a quaint garden cafe, reserve a table for two, and split une bouteille de vin. Experience the culture, the colorful markets, the posh boutiques — you don’t even need a plane ticket.

The Fifth Third Bank Home & Garden Show delivers the romance of France at its 66th annual show at the I-X Center Feb. 7 through 15. “The weather outside is always looking bleak at this time of year,” says Rob Attewell, show manager of Expositions Inc. “People come to experience spring.”

Color of Monet
French-inspired landscape ideas for your backyard

Project Next
Do you need to hire a pro for that fix on your list?

Water Way
Build your own pond in seven steps
66th annual Fifth Third Bank
Home & Garden Show

International Exposition Center (I-X Center), 6200 Riverside Drive (state Route 237 near Hopkins International Airport)

››Show Times:
Feb. 7: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb. 8: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Feb. 9-12: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb. 13: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Feb. 14: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb. 15: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
*closing night plant sale:  7 to 8 p.m.

$10 in advance, available at most AAA offices and participating Home Depot locations
$13 adults at the door
$4 children ages 6 to 12
Free for children 5 and younger
Showgoers will be bombarded by printemps (that’s spring, if you’re brushing up on your French). Blasts of vibrant yellow, purple hyacinth, cheery tulips and fields of fragrant wildflowers welcome visitors into the entry garden, which is an accurate portrayal of Monet’s Grande Allée and Japanese water gardens. To add authenticity, the French-American Chamber of Commerce, including board member Anne-Marie Saunier and executive director Yannick Le Couedic, consulted on the project.

“The garden mirrors impressionist paintings with lots of sporadic color — masses of color — and arches of climbing roses,” says Brad Thimke, designer for Don Mould’s Plantation, which planned the 16,000-square-foot entry garden. The space is twice as large as last year’s. Visitors can meander through the perennial garden down Old World paths constructed of

Naturestone and rustic concrete aggregate. A replica of the Japanese bridge Monet captured in a series of paintings will cross a reflecting pool inhabited by water lilies.

“We have the resources and the canvas, the landscape plan, but the landscape is like a painting that will take on a life of its own when it is created,” Thimke says, relating how French country gardens afford landscapers artistic license.

Just beyond the entry garden is a French boutique, including a French apartment display to show off wares such as furniture, tablecloths and paintings. In the cafe, accordion players will serenade visitors who stop to sample a taste of France. The show truly is designed as an escape, and yet the connection between Cleveland and France is more familiar than most people know: Cleveland’s sister city is Rouen, France, a 35-minute drive from Monet’s gardens at Giverny, le Couedic notes.

The show also offers a taste of reality. The Home Idea Center will provide practical decorating ideas. Attewell is pleased to reintroduce two log homes to this year’s lineup. One features a wrap-around porch, and its quaint counterpart is a hunter’s cabin. A straw bale house — you can’t get more sustainable than straw and mud — will be the focal point of this year’s Green Pavilion, which continues to expand each year.

“You can walk through the home and see different ways to improve the sustainability of your home, from furniture to paint and landscaping,” says Rebecca Reynolds, owner of Green Clean Inc. and Planet Green boutique in Rocky River.

Meanwhile, education stages will offer cooking demonstrations, landscaping how-tos with Petitti’s “Ask the Expert” series and interior design seminars.

So say bon voyage to Cleveland winter for a day and take home great design ideas for both inside and out.
Share this story: