In addition to typical home and garden items (plus not one, but two ShamWow! vendors), there were a few unexpected items like this underground tornado shelter (safezonesheltersinc.com).
For $5k you can have a shelter for 4 installed in your backyard. The shelters go up in size to hold as many as 18 people. Chris suggested we could really add to our home's square footage by putting in one of these babies. As you can see, it was a very popular item at the show.
Two other significant finds were the slate flooring and edible landscaping exhibits. Until the show, we hadn't seen any patio flooring that really appealed to us. The slate looks amazing and really fits in with a more natural look (vs. stamped concrete or concrete pavers). According to Andrew at Skyline Lawn & Landscape, the increased price of this material (vs. pavers) won't be as shocking to our budget because we have a smaller yard and smaller patio plan. The photo below shows two color options. We're thinking the one with more gray and blue will play off the colors of the river.
Virginia Berry Farm had an entire exhibit of only edible plants, trees and shrubs. This particular farm sells wholesale to local garden stores but we were still able to pick up helpful literature about this multi-functional landscaping movement. Now we're definitely planning on integrating as many edible plants and trees as possible. Blueberries make excellent deciduous hedges (the white blossoms below will mature into fuller blueberry hedges).
A few more show highlights: Chris discovered the Richmond Bonsai Society has classes for beginners and club meetings once a month...
and Lauren was practically tackled by a closet designer while trying to take this photo (apparently one shouldn't even attempt to recreate something like this without closet design lady's expertise).