Sculptures, fountains and water features blend gracefully in garden landscapes, and the Northwest Flower & Garden Show display gardens showcased inspiring combinations.
Massive square stones stacked into an imposing fountain, which is skirted by blooming daffodils, greet visitors to the show gardens.
These steel and wood sculptures pair nicely and seem about to take flight.
The “Good Times Great Food” garden features a varied patio landscaping with an assortment of stone pavers and groundcovers.
This bar-fountain-pool combination nicely edges a patio in a small garden.
An artistic water sculpture echoed by another shapely sculpture behind highlights one garden.
A stylish espaliered tree dresses up this shed wall.
From industrious hydroponic farming to a lot of casual living, the show gardens at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show offered inspiration, ideas and an undeniable hankering for living the good life in the garden.
The big downtown Seattle show runs until Sunday. If you attend on Saturday, don’t miss the fun and educational seminars. I’ll be interviewing restaurateur Tom Douglas and his wife Jackie Cross on their menu-powering Prosser Farm on Saturday at 11:45 a.m.
Here are some images from my visit to the gardens:
Hydroponically grown lettuces nearly burst from their tubular homes.
Water coursed through plumbing pipe to hydroponically feed this lettuce crop.
A green-roofed shed faces a plastic-covered hoop house filled with hydroponic growing.
“Honey, We Shrunk the Farm” is the title of this edibles-focused garden, highlighted by a whimsical little free library, a low chicken house and a hydroponic growing system in the hoop house.
This tiny house contains lounging space, but the cutlery over the door signals edibles, with strawberries and wheatgrass in planter boxes and pots below bursting with mint.
The “Garden on Tap” featured a pub shed with a lit G and plenty of Mason bee houses to pollinate the fruit trees.
The shed promises tasty relaxation for the gardener.
“Hanami – Savoring Spring” by the Arboretum Foundation shows a rural Japanese scene of relaxation under the flowering cherry trees.
The front of a Japanese farmhouse in the Arboretum garden, expertly faux painted to show age and texture by my wife Susie Thorness and other volunteer painters.
A Japanese water hammer (aka “deer scarer) sits by the picnic area in the Arobertum’s garden.
I can almost taste spring. Can’t you? When a warm wind casts across the yard like a fishing line tossed into a lazy stream, I cast my eyes toward the ground, seeking shoots and sprouts. When they appear, my spirit soars.
Another way to get that feeling is to visit the giant Northwest Flower & Garden Show–excuse me–Garden Festival being held this week at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle (blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest).
Over the weekend I was in the cavernous show garden area helping set up the Arboretum Foundation’s always-enticing garden, so I’ll give you a tip: brave the crowds, traffic and parking, and come on down. It looks like it is going to be a blooming success.
Here’s another tip: buy your tickets online before 11:55 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21 and get the early-bird price, $5 off.
Giant colored pots lit from within highlighted one of last year’s display gardens.
I’ll be there a few times during the week, and look forward to meeting readers and gardeners. On Wednesday, I present “Eat Your Year: Month-by-Month Actions for Continuous Edibles” at 6:45 p.m.
I’ve mined my garden journal for cultivation and harvest tips throughout the year. You’ll be surprised what can be done in the doldrums of winter, and what needs to be done in the sweetest swell of summer if you want to eat from your yard year round. A book signing follows, and I look forward to personalizing a book for you.
Then on Saturday at 11:45 a.m., I employ my journalism chops by interviewing Seattle’s star restaurateur Tom Douglas and his business partner, wife and chief farmer in the family Jackie Cross. In “The Learning Curve,” we’ll discuss their quest to generate perfect produce for their many restaurants.
If you’ve eaten at Etta’s, Dahlia Lounge, Seatown, Serious Pie, Tanaka San or one of Tom’s other great restaurants in the last few years, you’ve probably eaten produce from Prosser Farm. Six years after breaking ground in the hills west of Prosser, they have learned much (I’ll ask about the rascally rabbits!) and now deliver a significant amount of vegetables for the restaurants from their farm, taking the farm-to-table concept to a wild new level.
Tom will sign copies of his excellent cookbooks after the talk, and I’ll head up to the University Book Store’s booth (#211) to meet and greet and sign my own books for an hour, 1-2 p.m.
You might also find me at my publisher’s booth. The Mountaineers Books and their green living imprint Skipstone will have their books on display and for sale (booth #2354) and will have lots of authors as well as staff to visit with. Learn about recent and upcoming titles, including my next cycling book, Cycling the Pacific Coast: A Complete Guide, Canada to Mexico, which will be out this fall.
I hope you’ll consider attending one or both of my events, but do you realize how much there is to do at the show?
- Attend one of the 110 seminars and demonstrations going on throughout the show. Besides learning and being entertained, you’ll get to sit down and relax after touring the giant exhibit hall and display gardens.
- Speaking of which, tour the 22 show gardens for inspiration and that “taste of spring.”
- Shop at the 350 exhibitors offering garden, nature-related and gourmet food goods in the Garden Marketplace. I especially like the non-profit organizations that offer information and help build our gardening community. I also enjoy touring the Vintage Garden Market to find some rusty old thing that would give my garden a bit more character.
Old windows repurposed into a shed — probably the easiest way to build a cold frame.
- Snack and sip your way through the Tasting Corner, a new gourmet food and beverage marketplace offered this year. Nearly 30 vendors will offer samples of their tasty wares.
This is the second largest garden festival in the U.S., so plan enough time to enjoy it fully. It’s a great way to get spring underway, even while waiting for those first buds to break.
Back from my annual visits to the region’s garden shows, which filled my head with ideas for pathways and fun garden additions. I was also amazed at the materials used for the hardscape and water features, and had a very enjoyable time helping one display garden become reality.
Here are pictures from Portland’s Yard, Garden & Patio Show and Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
A scene from the Hoh Rainforest was the theme of the Arboretum Foundation’s garden at the NW Flower & Garden Show. I had the pleasure of helping bring this one to life.
A path through a nurse log was part of the Hoh Rainforest display at the NW Flower & Garden Show.
Flowers line the path to a forest service lookout tower in this display at the NW Flower & Garden Show.
Large circular stepping stones blended beautifully with washed gravel in a pleasing curved path in this Yard, Garden & Patio Show display.
“Tough to mow” was my first thought when seeing this grassy bridge in a garden at the NW Flower & Garden Show.
Here’s a well-built stone bridge at the Yard, Garden & Patio Show.
An impressive combination of stone products created this inviting waterfall at the Yard, Garden & Patio Show.
Salmon (of the porcelain variety) headed upstream to spawn in a display garden at the NW Flower & Garden Show.
Giant recycled-plastic pots lit from within and gabion walls with galvanized metal screens highlighted this garden at the NW Flower & Garden Show.
Glamping in a Southwest cactus garden was part of this display at the NW Flower & Garden Show.
Movie night in the garden – complete with s’mores and a fire pit – looked very inviting in this display at the Yard, Garden & Patio Show.
Simple and elegant with just two elements, this ikebana arrangement by Charles Coghlan caught my eye at the NW Flower & Garden Show.
Adding just a third element, this arrangement by Mina Dizon was also spare and striking at the NW Flower & Garden Show’s ikebana display.
A quote from the artist Cezanne mirrors my attitude toward vegetables at the Hudson Valley Seed Library’s booth at the NW Flower & Garden Show.
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.
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!
Got a shipping pallet sitting around? Ballard Reuse could show you how to turn it into a cool bench.
An old bike painted a bright color with plants added in strategic places would make a whimsical piece of garden art.
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.
The “Romance of Steampunk” show garden evoked another era.
Old windows repurposed into a shed — probably the easiest way to build a cold frame.
This herb ladder from Ballard Reuse demonstrates an easy project with some old wood.