Before we get into the building of structures I thought we would talk a little about the overall display. Most people don’t realize that behind that small 12″ x 22″ window openings, the displays actually take up a considerable amount of space. Rules dictate that that space can be a maximum of 36″ wide x 22″ depth x 42″ height. That makes for a very large box that one needs to transport to the convention center. Most people opt for something smaller. Others build no box at all but build temporary walls around their display once they are set up at the convention center. Our philosophy has been to build a rugged display that can be easily transported and will basically have almost everything in place. This makes the set up and a week later the tear down very quick and easy. The commotion of set up day with fork lift trucks only a few feet away moving full grown trees is not the best time to be fussing with little details in your display.
This picture shows the box that we will use. This is our second year using this box; we just gutted the interior after last year’s show. The dimensions are 35 1/2″ wide x 22″ deep and 22 1/2″ high. Note the handles on the ends for ease of carrying. There is also a back which is removable with a few screws and wing nuts. This allows for easy access to the back of the display and also protects it while transporting it. We also have a piece of plywood for the front that protects the display while transporting it. Across the the top of the box are various types of supports for lights that will help illuminate the display.
Since the exhibits require live plant material there also needs to be some consideration as to how one fits them in the display. Certainly little pots will work fine, but if one is making an outdoor scene with an entire garden, planting your garden in trays works better. For a garden we typically put our plants in trays that are 2″ in depth. Because of this depth we need to raise the ground level of the scene by 2″. The next two photos show how we accomplish that. First I’ve made a few wood I beams that are 2″ in height, and they are attached to the base of the box. We then slide in what I call our flooring which is 3/8″ plywood that will be screwed to the I beams. Before screwing the floor to the I beams, areas are cut out of the flooring that will allow us to insert our trays of 2″ depth.