Even though having a garden is a luxury in this city, hundreds of consumers hit Union Square on Sunday to score free plants, tips, and other goodies at the National Gardening Association's NYC Grows garden festival. Planned by the Vermont-based nonprofit and co-hosted by the city's Department of Parks & Recreation, the public event recognized national garden month by bringing in 60 exhibitors, holding several demonstrations and seminars, and providing a range of horticultural-based entertainment.
On the rainy day, a couple of companies stood out amongst the array of tents. Presenting sponsor Target had the largest section, taking over the area in front of the George Washington monument with a place to decorate wooden birdhouses. Using paint, feathers, moss, faux fur, and other decorations supplied by the chain department store, hordes crowded at tables to customize their pieces. Over on the west side of the plaza, Target also set up a playground for kids featuring a lemonade stand and café area and two plots of grass for playing croquet.
Promoting organic farming, Organic Valley attracted attention with a milk-carton-shaped tent, giveaways, and competitions. The bright red-and-white booth displayed wares in metal tubs, and company reps gave out branded bandannas to winners of a beanbag-tossing competition. And visitors to the Horticultural Society's tent could make their own tea bags, choosing from a selection of dried plants like lavender, chamomile, and fennel seeds.