Best of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Friday afternoon through Sunday morning was devoted to leisurely exploring the Northwest Flower & Garden Show display gardens, marketplace and seminars, a nice change from the frenetic pace of working our Yard, Garden & Patio Show (YGP). Have you been to the Seattle show before? This was probably my eighth visit and I’m happy to say it was more inspiring than the past few years. The gardens are much more fanciful than what you see at YGP and there were only a few where guests are able to actually wander into the gardens, which is one of the great things about the YGP showcase gardens.

My favorite was a contemporary-style garden anchored by a glass globe “floating” in a rectangular pond. The garden was titled “Wrinkle in Time” and was designed by Karen Stefonick Design and built by Brent Bissell General Contractors, LLC. The sphere fountain was created by Allison Armour. I want one—it would fit in beautifully with all the ceramic and glass spheres I seem to be collecting for my garden and home—but someone told me this small one was several (5?) thousand dollars. I also loved this small garden vignette by Pamela Richards Garden Design at the entrance to the show.

The Japanese Garden presented by The Washington Park Arboretum and created by designers Roger Williams, Phil Wood and Bob Lilly was inspiring. Japanese gardens are always artful and this small garden was no exception. The use of mondo grass as water and the use of stone were mesmerizing and calming at the same time.

My favorite idea from the show was using a repurposed gutter for planting vegetables, a great way to garden “up” (I saw a photo in one of the seminars). Repurposed items appeared throughout the show and its exhibitor booths. There are some very creative people in this world! Note the auger fountain and clever and decorative gabions. Using windows for cold frames, arbors and potting sheds seem to be the most popular repurposed item. And there was even a clever water feature using a gutter (?) and steel drum (?).

Two other ideas worthy of note: a steel panel punched with a tree design and two beech trees (Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck Purple’ to be exact) tied together to create a gothic arch, one of my favorite shapes.

There was a lot of white throughout the display gardens this year with smaller punches of bright color (the exception was the Alice in Wonderland garden that exploded with red). My favorite plant in the place was Choisya ternatai ‘Aztec Pearl’ (Mexican Orange), which was white and had the loveliest fragrance. I guess it’s been around for awhile but hasn’t gotten on my plant rador screen before. It’s hardy to only Zone 8 but would be worth pampering to have it around.

We’d love to hear what you enjoyed most at this year’s garden shows.