The Northwest Flower and Garden Show

This is going to be a rant and rave post. At first I thought I should only say nice things but why? This is my blog and I’ll bitch if I want to!

I have two main rants so I’ll just get them out of the way:

1) I’ve been going to this show for years and I have never understood why the lighting for the display garden area is so terrible. I feel like I’m going into a cave or viewing gardens at night. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. Can’t somebody figure out how to brighten the place up a little?

2) Where was the color? Outside, so many plants are in bloom; early cherries, heather, camellias, hellebore, viburnums, rhododendrons and more. We also have several deciduous plants with brightly colored stems; red twig, yellow twig and midwinter fire dogwoods, Coral Bark and Pacific Fire maples. Winter gardens in the northwest can be full of flowers and color. I know plants go in and out of fashion at the show – one year EVERYBODY had Pink Dawn Viburnums, another year EVERYBODY had masses of forced bulbs – this year evergreens were in. Evergreens are great, but the northwest has so much more to offer.

Okay, now that that’s out of my system – lets get to the cool stuff.


I absolutely love this. It’s hard to tell in the picture but this giant glass ball is really a fountain with water gently spilling out of the top. You can kind of make out the ripples in the water in the second photo.


This design  by Karen Stefonick titled, ‘A Wrinkle In Time: Gardens Not Yet Discovered’, won the Best in Show Founder’s Cup.


Kinssies Landscaping produced this gold medal garden called ‘Stepping Through A Timeless Tranquil Forest.’  I really like the natural waterfall in the middle and the use of color! The Coral Bark Maple, heathers and PJM Rhododendron really stand out in all the green.


The container garden competition was held on the sky bridge with lots of natural light. I particularly liked this orchid, fern and bromeliad garden. Unfortunately, I forgot to note who created this so I could give them the credit they deserve.


Now for my favorite part of the show … shopping!

These hollow glass bamboo poles are the creation of artist Jesse Kelly.  I went to the show with limited funds so art wasn’t in the budget; but if I had the money, I would definitely buy some of these.


Plants were my my main objective and my first purchase was from Keeping It Green Nursery. I got two pots of hardy ground Orchid, Bletilla striata ‘Murasaki Shikibu’. In the pictures I’ve seen it’s a beautiful blue-toned lavender. One of the pots has three shoots coming up and the other has six. I also got a pot of Bletilla striata ‘Kuchibeni’ that’s described as magenta in color. It currently has no shoots and just looks like a pot of dirt but I have faith.


This is the booth for Heaths and Heathers. Just look at all those vibrant colors! I bought Calluna vulgaris ‘Clare Carpet’, a two inch tall ground cover with pink flowers in late summer and Cassiope selaginoides var. nana, a four inch, mounding, heather-relative native to the northwest that gets white flowers in mid-spring. Someday soon they’re going to be part of a miniature garden.


At the end of the day I attended Ivette Soler’s seminar on edible landscaping. For those of you still in the dark – she’s The Germinatrix and my idol and inspiration. I just love her! Here she is about to sign my copy of her book, the Edible Front Yard. I was so excited I could barely speak – something that’s very unusual for me!


One final and very serious note; according to the Seattle P.I., after 21 years the show’s owner is trying to sell. If he doesn’t find a buyer there probably won’t be a show next year. NOOOOOO!!! Say it isn’t so! This is the second biggest flower show in the COUNTRY, with over 50,000 attendees and close to 2 million in revenue. It can’t close – it just can’t. Let’s pray, send good thoughts, beg – cry if we have to. The show must go on!

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