San Francisco Flower & Garden Show Changes Hands

July 10, 2013

For the second time in the past few years, the third largest flower show in the country – the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show – has changed ownership.

Sherry Larsen of Larsen Enterprises, and Maryanne Lucas, founder and executive director of Kids Growing Strong – a healthy living program for children – bought the show from Weston Cook.

Three years earlier, Cook bought the event from drugstore chain Duane Kelly, which also owned the second largest flower show in the U.S. at the time – the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle.

The largest U.S.-based flower show is the Philadelphia Flower Show, held annually at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The San Francisco show is on tap March 19-23 at the San Mateo Event Center in San Mateo, Calif., and regularly attracts upwards of 40,000 attendees, according to the show’s spokesperson.

Larsen, who is a veteran event producer, said the 2014 show would feature several changes.

"Just as gardens grow, change, and renew over time, so too will the show,” she added.

Changes include “fresh ideas, new perspectives and a stronger message emphasizing community and sustainability,” Larsen said.

Garden creators for the 2014 show will be asked to consider only plants that do not pose a threat to natural California habitats in an effort to raise awareness about protecting the state’s landscapes.

There also will be an emphasis on the “garden-to-table” trend seen in the culinary industry.

"The garden-to-table emphasis will continue surrounded by edible gardens and an all-new Chef Stage,” Larsen said.

She added, “Workshops and seminars will focus on education, sustainability, family activities and healthy living.”

One of Lucas’ main goals for the show she said is to get a younger generation interested in gardening.  

"As part of the gardening community, we must cultivate a new generation of gardeners and enthusiasts and instill within them a sense of stewardship for our earth and responsibility for the welfare of our neighbors,” she added. “Our mission is to bring a garden, with all of the riches it holds and the lessons it has to offer, into every child's life."

Besides her Kids Growing Strong program, Lucas, who has been a longtime attendee of the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, is active in engaging the younger generation in a healthy lifestyle. She also is responsible for establishing the Kids' Adventure Garden in the 33-acre Conejo Valley Botanic Garden in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

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