Arriving at Gardex, the International Garden Expo Tokyo, was a bit of a shock. First, I could not believe how far it was from Tokyo. Past Disney. Past IKEA. Past Costco. Gardex occupied a portion of one of the five mega-halls. The first impression was overwhelming: a hum of electricity and a burst of fluorescent lighting animating a trade show as removed from nature as possible.
The first booth we passed promoted a pesticide company. Spray bottles seemed to float above colorful flowers, a salesperson spoke with much animation into a wireless mic, and lighted towers offered multiples of each product. The photo mural and garish colors seem to contradict the “natural safety” message.
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Clearly gardening is big business with global suppliers. Roses come to Japan from Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kenya and India. The flowers are so huge and the distances so vast, I fear they are pumped with pesticide, fertilizer and other chemicals.
I was impressed with the technology and artistry of E-Soil Board, a vertical garden system. It seems less modular than the hydroponic vertical Suntory Midorie, which also exhibited at Gardex.
Also featured were several large machines for bunching and plastic wrapping cut flowers for large retailers. I like the juxtaposition of machine and “we are flower people” message.
There was some garden art, including this framed Christmas pig made from flowers.
And finally, as if to underscore that gardens are no place for wildlife, there were enormous rat-killing product displays.