Sculptures, fountains and water features blend gracefully in garden landscapes, and the Northwest Flower & Garden Show display gardens showcased inspiring combinations.
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:
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.
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?
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.
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.
It was loud when we arrived with our ladders and buckets. Back-up beeping echoed through the cavernous concrete hall. They let us drop off our painting supplies inside, so I drove our old Subaru right up onto the show floor, among the giant trucks and front-end loaders.
My wife and I were at the Washington State Convention Center to help build the Arboretum Foundation’s display garden for the big Northwest Flower & Garden Show, which opened Wednesday and runs through Sunday. I’d never really helped before, but this year they asked Susie to design and paint the backdrop for the plantings, so I signed on to assist.
The build started on Saturday, and as soon as the raw plywood wall was up, we popped the lids on the paint. Through Saturday and Sunday, we rolled and brushed, standing back and eyeing the results, fending off the garden creators who wanted to get those ladders out of the way so they could shovel in the sawdust and move in the plants. I didn’t blame them. But our part needed its time.
A Seattle Times videographer, Lauren Frohne, “embedded” herself with the team who was designing and building the garden. See her results in the linked video.
Led by Bob Lilly and Phil Wood, the team was building platforms and bringing in plants large and small, from cedar and cherry trees to trays of tiny succulents. They placed the potted treasures carefully, fussing over the angles, teasing the blooms out of the leaves, poking tiny flowers up through rolled-out sod.
I love the design for its realness. Titled “Picture Yourself on Azalea Way,” it evokes the Washington Park Arboretum’s most famous strolling path. Although it’s clearly a fantasy, put together and bloom-forced for a five-day show, it is a showcase of many of the plants that you would see if you actually took that stroll.
As they always do, the Arboretum Foundation designers have inserted a subtle teaching message into their beautiful creation: here’s a garden you could have at home. Kudos, Bob and Phil.
You won’t see us in that video, because the garden is all about the plants, as it should be. But look beyond the plants to the backdrop, a green-and-black canvas upon which the flowering palette is spread. I’m proud of the effect, which is especially effective if you see it in person, under the dramatic, subdued lighting.
The garden has been awarded a bronze medal, but I’m still seeing green. And scraping a little of it from under my fingertips.