The snow in Olympia last week was hard on me, so over the weekend I made my annual pilgrimage to the largest garden show west of the Mississippi: the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
This is a crucial part of my wintertime mental health. Here in the PNW, we don’t specialize in the “glowing orb in the sky,” but when you walk into the NWFGS and the wall of smells hits you – thousands of flowers in bloom, dirt, enthusiasm, money running like water – winter melts away. It’s good for your heart to see so many beautiful plants in one place, even if it’s not great for your budget to impulsively buy too many and bring them home. The display gardens were amazing. I saw some great people talk about growing things.
This year was a personal triumph for three main reasons:
1. I took the light rail for 1/3 of my trip. I avoided all the stress, cost and drama of parking in downtown Seattle and I read an entire book. It was so awesome, I may never drive to Seattle again. A+
2. I had a shopping list for the plant market at NWFGS so I didn’t make any crazy purchases. I knew what I was buying, I was able to pack the right number of sturdy cloth bags. And Raintree didn’t have any filberts, so I spent the extra money on a new garden tool. A+
3. I packed food for the day. The Seattle convention center has veggie burgers, but the price & nutritional value are never where I’d like them. An organic Minneola tangelo is more exciting. It makes me so happy to have good food when I’m braving Weather and Crowds. A+
Verdict: I win at NWFGS 2011.
The show’s theme this year was “Once Upon a Time…”, so many of the gardens leaned toward fairy tale / fantasy themes: Rapunzel, Alice in Wonderland, Three Little Pigs, The old woman who lived in a shoe, etc. Some of the gardens were not so literal about the theme, and that’s alright by me too.
The first fairy tale I spotted was the Rapunzel vertical garden. Rapunzel, her hair and her prince are all made from plants. This is one of the coolest vertical gardens I’ve seen in person.
Suburu called their garden, “Paul Bunyan Gets a Conscience.” I guess Mr. Bunyan is reconsidering the sustainability of his ways.
This is from the Wrinkle in Time display garden. I don’t understand it at all, but I do love a Wrinkle in Time. This garden won the Founders Cup (which is the plant show version of Best in Show).
One of my favorite themed gardens was the Alice in Wonderland garden by Zsofia Pasztor from Innovative Landscape Technologies. I mention the creator because the same company created my favorite planted vertical garden at the NW Flower & Garden Show in 2010 (photo here). The Alice garden had sculptural elements, a ginormous staghorn fern suspended overhead, pink plastic flamingos & a live white rabbit. I heard some woman call the bunny “a little dog” but I can verify it was actually a rabbit. With the scale, the colors, textures and sculptures, I really felt like I was in wonderland in this garden. And now I want a completely impractical large “drink me” vessel for my yard.
Hopefully I will find some time this week to talk about what else? The on-trend topics of vertical gardening, container gardening, city farming, edible gardening, succulents and other plant-related stuff I collected at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
Here’s our 2010 NWFGS coverage: general info here, vertical gardening here and cold frames here.