Dream Gardens At The Northwest Flower And Garden Show

February 23, 2017 11:31am

It may be gray outside, but it’s a supernova of color inside at the annual Northwest Flower and Garden Show (Feb. 22 through Sunday, Feb. 26) at the Convention Center. The show packs ideas, inspiration, and information into a dazzling display of theater.


Pop art color infuses multiple award winner “Mid-Mad-Mod” by Father Nature Landscapes

The definitive stars are the 20 display gardens, each bursting with flower power. Cherry blossoms and witch hazel, primroses and orchids bloom together as they never would in the real universe. But this is not the real universe.

These stage sets – built in as little as three days – offer pop-up dreamscapes as varied as a Tuscan villa, a Japanese farmhouse, a mid-century inspired patio, and a mountain cabin. Whether your garden dream includes grilling for 50 or napping in your glamped-up shed, you’ll find something here.

Nature Perfect Landscape Design’s uber-grill keeps herbs at your fingertips

This year’s theme is food-flavored: “Taste of Spring.” Some designs embraced it, as in a fish-fueled recycled greenhouse and an English victory garden, while several others, realizing alcohol is edible, took it more loosely, featuring grow-your-own-cocktails and wine-barrel furniture.

A bar shed and a hammock complement designer Susan Calhoun’s “Garden on Tap” Photo: Erica Grivas

Some super-cool details to look for: a fantastic gabion structure, two kinds of child-safe faux fire features, and an extremely rare tree – the biggest in the state.Beyond the eye candy, you can seriously boost your garden skills. A day’s ticket includes all the expert seminars you can fit in. Over 100 seminars are offered throughout the show, hosted by well-known authors, designers and horticulturists. They span Gardening 101, design tips, technical skills, and hot new plant choices.

But wait, there’s more! In a reality-show twist, garden experts battle each other and the clock to make the coolest arrangement in “Container Wars.” A new feature this year is a tasting station featuring samples served up by area restaurants and food vendors.

There is the expansive marketplace: a host of local vendors and organizations offering everything that could be considered garden. Hot tubs, art and antiques, tools, and of course, plants. Bare-root and potted, you’ll find everything from air plants and succulents to dahlias and rare conifers. Should you run out of hands, you can check your purchases at a holding station. Just saying.

Gardens themselves are not realistic – they are a construct of the gardener’s vision. The show, while even less real than your garden, is wonderful because of and despite that. If you want to expand your garden horizons, gain some new skills, shop for a hot tub to enjoy with a homegrown martini, or just need to see some color right now, this an opportunity not to miss.

Thanks to Grace Hensley of E-Tilth for her photos.