Grow & Build Ideas, Steampunk: Garden Show Images

Crowds will pack the convention center in downtown Seattle this weekend for the final two days of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

I spent the day there yesterday, and was inspired by reuse of old stuff, some interesting new ways to grow plants, a “steampunk” inspired show garden, and seeing old friends.

Here are some images from my visit.

Very nice design for a key season extension device from the local builders at Cedar Cold Frames.

Very nice design for a key season extension device from the local builders at Cedar Cold Frames.

Edible Seattle

The Edible Seattle folks are handing out scads of free magazines. And it happens to be the Nov/Dec issue, which has my article on seed saving!

GPP Wild Ginger

One of the Great Plant Picks, um, picks this year is Splendid Wild Ginger. Get it.

Reuse Bench

Got a shipping pallet sitting around? Ballard Reuse could show you how to turn it into a cool bench.

Blue bike

An old bike painted a bright color with plants added in strategic places would make a whimsical piece of garden art.

White Bike

And another bike/planter.


This is the Foody Garden Tower, which is how we will all grow veggies in the garden of the future.

David Hutchison in his element, at the Flora & Fauna Books booth. Lots of unusual finds there.

David Hutchison in his element, at the Flora & Fauna Books booth. Lots of unusual finds there.

Steampunk garden

The “Romance of Steampunk” show garden evoked another era.


Old windows repurposed into a shed — probably the easiest way to build a cold frame.

Reuse Ladder

This herb ladder from Ballard Reuse demonstrates an easy project with some old wood.


Plan and Prep: 5 Thoughts for Saturday’s Talk

Getting started on an edible year is so simple, really. Here are five key thoughts from my upcoming talk this Saturday at 10 a.m. at Swansons Nursery, “Plan and Prep for Your Edible Garden.” Hope you can join me!

Begin to dream

Get outdoors

Protect your babiesGrow through seven seasonseat great food

Saving Seeds, Planting Now: Weekend Talks

How do you save seed from a favorite tomato? Will bean seeds dry fully in the yard? How do you keep birds from gobbling all your flower seeds?

Black Spanish Radish

Black Spanish radishes and their edible pods.

Those practical issues, along with a bit of science and philosophy behind saving seeds, will be the topic of my talk this Saturday at City People’s Garden Store in south-central Seattle.

“Saving Seeds of Your Favorite Edibles” is the sixth of seven classes in our Edible Year series. It’s 10-11 a.m. Please pre-register with the nursery.

On Sunday I’ll head the other direction, both literally and figuratively. Going north to Swansons Nursery, I’ll give a slide show and presentation on what to grow now.

In “Edibles for Fall and Winter” I’ll detail what crops you can get started now from seed, what to look for in the nursery, and when to plant them for fall and winter harvests. We’ll also discuss “overwintering” crops that you start now and plan to eat next spring. That talk, also free, begins at 11 a.m.

Contest alert: $1,000 Available


Do you work with a community garden that could use some new supplies, or has big plans for next spring but could use plants? Then you should apply for the City People’s Garden Store Urban Garden Contest! The chosen entry will get a $1,000 gift card that can be used at the nursery over the next year. Deadline is Aug. 31, so there’s still time to apply.



Let’s Walk and Talk Gardens – This Saturday

Join me this Saturday, July 12, for two garden events. In the morning, we’ll talk about getting the winter garden growing, and in the afternoon, we’ll walk to a couple of community gardens and explore other efforts old and new to transform our urban landscape.

City People’s Garden Store in Madison Valley is the site for my morning talk, “Start Now for Fall and Winter Vegetables,” which is part of our “Edible Year” series. It’s not too late to get things growing so you can eat from your garden nearly year-round. This free talk is 10-11 and includes a brief tour of the nursery to see what plants, tools and supplies they have to help you get growing.

Fall and Winter Seedlings

I’ll head to lower Queen Anne for a 1 p.m. walk sponsored by MOHAI in their Neighborhood History Tour series. I will lead a tour called P-Patch at 40: From Uptown to Belltown.  We’ll stroll from the UpGarden atop the Mercer Street parking garage to the Belltown P-Patch. We’ll consider the 40-year history of P-Patch along with exploring these gardens, one that is 2 years old and the other that is 20.

Belltown sign

Along the way, our tour will stop and review the many landscaping efforts (one on a ridiculously grandiose scale) that Seattle people have done over the city’s history to bend nature to our will. It’s a two-hour urban tour with a few surprises, some delightful stops and a wonderful urban ramble.

There is a small fee for this tour, which supports the Museum of History and Industry’s efforts to bring unique aspects of Seattle’s history to its residents.

Please pre-register for either event (or join me for both!) at the links above.


Celebrating P-Patch @ 40: Summer Visits

This delightful community garden is called the UpGarden, and it’s on top of a large municipal parking garage in Seattle near the Space Needle. It’s a recent addition to the 40-year-old P-Patch Program.


The UpGarden opened in 2012.

To honor the program and share it’s history, I’ll be leading two Neighborhood History Walks for our Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) this summer

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— one on Saturday afternoon, July 12 (details) and the other on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 13 (details).

We’ll visit the recent UpGarden, and the 20-year-old Belltown P-Patch, one of my favorite small gardens.

Belltown sign

Belltown P-Patch is half as old as the program.

We’ll also see some of our other public gardens and spaces, old and new. Here’s a peek at some of our locations.

New street park

New Bell Street Park.

Tillikum Place

Tillikum Place, an historic street park.

Vertical downspout gardening

Vertical downspout gardening.

Rain garden below downspout

Rain garden below downspout.

Historic fountain

Historic fountain in Seattle Center.

Recent Seattle Center garden

Recent Seattle Center garden, focused on native plants.

And to reward you for getting this deep into the post, here are a few more pictures of the unique UpGarden.

classic car

A classic car, now hosting plants and poetry.

airstream toolshed

The airstream serves as the toolshed.

Space Needle view

Space Needle visitors have a great view of the garden, and vice versa.

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