Sunday, February 20, 2011

Northwest Flower & Garden Show – it's here!

You can feel it. You can hear it. The stampede of the Gortex and fleece clad Seattleites (+ visitors who try to blend in by getting wet rather than being laughed at by using an umbrella).  It can only mean one thing – it’s time for the annual Northwest flower & Garden Show! It begins this Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

One of my 2009 show designs
For a few days we can be in seasonal denial as we breathe air heady with the perfume of daphne and sweetbox (Sarcoccoca). We can be dazzled by an array of masterful gardens that transport us from damp mossy forests to a garden vignette which is a journal of botanical discoveries from around the world. Vegetable gardening seems like a possibility again as we long to reach over for a few salad leaves growing tantalizingly close. Surely this can’t be February?

Yes, for the intrepid Pacific Northwest gardener this is a time we can set aside our wellies and believe that grey skies will eventually turn blue again and that our spades will slice through rich, warm loam rather than sink into a muddy mire. Well OK that’s a stretch for me since my options are squelching in sticky wet clay or bouncing off concrete-hard dry clay. Still we can dream, and that is what the show is all about. Dreaming, imagining the possibilities, getting new ideas and rejuvenating our gardening spirits.

So what’s in store for us this year? Twenty two garden designers and organizations have taken on the challenge to develop the theme ‘Once upon a time’ and they have all created spectacular gardens with a story to tell. For example;

Explore the classic English tale ‘Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Graeme where you can meet Ratty, Mole, and Badger as they rein in the mischievous Mr. Toad on the river and the road.  Dappled woods, a marshy swale and an open meadow set the scene. You too may discover that there is nothing quite so fine as messing about in the garden.

‘And he huffed and he puffed…’ yes the Three Little Pigs have come to town. As they build their homes to protect them from the big bad wolf we can see the story unfold as the wolf moves through the dark and barbed landscape to get his dinner.

Gaze through the crystal ball to look into the future with Karen Stefonick’s design ‘A Wrinkle in Time – gardens not yet discovered’. Follow three young people along with beings who were once stars in the galaxies while they use their psychic ability to travel the tesseracts (folds in time and space), to fight for love and free thought.  Provocative with the appearance of science fiction, tesseracts do really exist. Is the story a stretch of the imagination or …a glimpse into worlds not yet discovered?

Join me for a fun seminar!
Anyone gets tired after reading 22 books so head to one of the 124 FREE seminars and learn about the latest in gardening trends, edible gardening, pruning Japanese Maples, container gardening and other delights. If you can only make one seminar be sure it’s mine! Join me at the DIY stage (where they let me make a mess) at 9.30am this Wednesday for Pizzazz in a Pot. I’ve chosen some seriously gorgeous containers from AW pottery to inspire you and will demonstrate how to combine plants to make a dazzling display. Come early to be sure of a good seat! (A huge THANK YOU to my friends at Molbaks nursery for generously providing all the plants and materials to wow you).

Of course you can never visit a nursery without buying a few things. After all you need a new watering can don't you? Surely you need another dozen lily bulbs for the garden this year? Well you’ll find all that and lots more at the Marketplace where 300 vendors will tempt you with all things gardening.

Great container ideas
So have I whet your appetite yet? I haven’t even told you about the orchid display, the container show or the Sprouts stage to engage the children! Well you can read more or just go online to buy your tickets. You won’t want to wait in line – you might miss something!

Mark your calendars NOW – February 23rd-27th at the Washington State Convention Center, Seattle.

See you there! (I’ll be the one with the wheelbarrow load of trees, tools, seeds and books…)

P.S. My next post will be on Friday afternoon (rather than late Wednesday) so I can report back on some of the ultra cool 'must see' highlights for those of you planning a weekend visit.

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