Grab Some Color Therapy At The Northwest Flower And Garden Festival

February 25, 2020 8:23pm
Photos by Erica Grivas

If you are starting to believe that the gray and brown are the only two colors in the natural world, take heart. Whether you are a confirmed plant nerd or just looking for some color therapy and garden inspiration, the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival is here to tell you the sun will return. Running today, Feb. 26, through Sunday March 1s at the Washington State Convention Center (705 Pike St, Seattle), it is a circus for color-starved eyes. With 17 full-scale display gardens – each created in three days – there is literally something for everyone – the shade gardener, the patio partymaster, the urban farmer, and the floraholoic. 

The festival always skirts the line between fantasy and reality, with mind-blowing stage-set gardens that inspire and delight. In addition to luxurious patioscapes, a couple of killer children’s gardens, and a farmstead Beatrix Potter would love, there is a ‘Mad Max”-inspired bonsai garden, a garden for campers and a hot tub cut out of a hollow tree. The farmstead had not only chickens in a coop, but legions of live ladybugs crawling around. 

Sure, you might see plant combinations that would never occur naturally, like indoor kalanchoe next to daffodils, and roses and cherry trees in blossom, but most people are craving color more than horticultural accuracy – it’s Seattle in February, people!

A day’s ticket includes access to all the lectures, hands-on workshops and live contests like Container Wars, in which garden experts race to make the most beautiful container combination. One of the experts is Grace Hensley, who has shared her flower show photography with Seattle Greenlaker in years past.

On Saturday, Greenlaker Anne Bikle will speak on “Regenerative Gardening: Key Principles for Plant (and Human) Health.” And let’s not forget the Marketplace, where you will find antiques, artisan foods, crafts, clothing, beauty products, art, jewelry, and, of course, plants – from seeds to bare-root bulbs, rare orchids and trees and shrubs. We will be looking to get more handmade loofah-infused soap from Mukilteo’s Washington Soap Co.  

For the first time, debuting in Seattle, the Fleurs de Villes exhibit showcases magnificent floral mannequins from the world’s top floral designers.

In case you’re wondering, it’s not your imagination. The festival has been moving later in the month in the last couple of years to give exhibitors more time to find plants in bloom.

Tickets are available online at, at the show, or at local stores including Ravenna Gardens, Swansons Nursery and the University Book Store. A single-day adult ticket is $25; Students age 13-23 $10; children under 12 are free. A half-day ticket from 3 pm -8 pm is $13. A two-day ticket is $36.