Glen Gutierrez looks forward to the Maryland Home and Garden Show each year.
After spending most of his workdays designing patios, gardens and outdoor landscapes for customers of his Lutherville-Timonium business, European Landscapes and Design, the annual show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds is the occasion when Gutierrez gets to design to his tastes, he said.
“It is our main marketing push for the year, but it also gives us artistic freedom and is the one time of the year where I can do what I want,” he said.
This past weekend, Gutierrez’s company joined 12 other gardening and landscape businesses in competing for Best in Show at the 37th annual Maryland Home and Garden Show.
The show, which runs through March 11 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, gives visitors a chance to check out 13 styled gardens, more than 400 home-improvement vendors and 100 crafters just in time for spring, according to the event website.
Gutierrez has attended the show for the past seven years and won Best in Show “ a few times,” he said. This year’s design, which he called Solar Mines, was inspired by his 14-year-old son, Aidan, and took two-and-a-half days of preparation, he said.
In keeping with this year’s gardens theme of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, the father and son chose to use an old rail cart, track, ties and old timber and set up a façade featuring the rail cart entering a coal mine surrounded by greenery.
Two solar panels sit on top of the display in direct contrast to the “old, dirty” technology of years past. Gutierrez said Aidan came up with the idea to attach solar panels on top of the display to get people thinking about cleaner energy.
“As landscape designers we’re subject to the forces of everyone else in the use of the energy that allows us to create a garden like this, but we do have an opportunity and a responsibility to suggest that there are better ways to use energy and mine energy,” Gutierrez said. “This shows the contrast of the choices we have—it’s a little political, a little environmental and is just meant to create a discussion.”
Another garden on display this year features an antique Volkswagen Beetle surrounded by florals, according to S & L Productions vice president Jay Plummer. The Glen Burnie-based production company puts on the Maryland Garden Show each year.
“It makes them interesting and something fun to look at,” Plummer said. “For consumers, it’s a chance to come in and talk to contractors and landscapers all in one place.”
The day's events also include a petting zoo and a butterfly train display, which visitors can enter to feed butterflies, he said.
The show will continue next weekend alongside the Maryland Orchid Society's annual show and sale in the Cow Palace, which features seedlings, flowering plans and rare orchids, for viewing and sale.
“There’s 500 different companies representing a lot of different products,” Plummer said. “If you can’t find something interesting here, then you probably aren’t interested in your home or your garden.”
A special, reduced-price admission is available for $5 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Friday. On March 10 and 11, admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $3 for children 6 to 12. Admission to the craft show only is $6. Children under 6, active military, police and fire employees are free.