Saturday, February 6, 2010

Field Trip!

“Dying plants are great for the nurseryman but not so much for the soul.”

~Fergus Garret, Great Dixter, England

Seattle’s Northwest Flower and Garden Show is back!!

This fabulous show was nearly cancelled after last year, much to the sorrow of northwest gardeners. The show’s creator wanted to move on to other endeavors and as of the 2009 show there were no buyers. Gardeners near and far were grief stricken! But now we can all breathe a sigh of relief, it was purchased and The Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2010 is on! Thursday I made the annual trek with my mom, and this year we were happy to have my sister along for the ride. And what a ride it was! This isn’t your ordinary Home and Garden show. This show is all garden. I don’t think there are many shows of this caliber, so we are truly blessed to have it right in our own backyard. There are a few other shows like this around the country, one I know of in San Francisco and another in Philadelphia and of course if you happen to be in England in May the Chelsea Flower and Garden Show is the mother of them all! I’ve never been to the Chelsea and the crowds would probably suffocate me but it’s definitely on my list of things I’d love to do someday.

Our show is perfectly timed in February when it’s cold, dreary and gardening withdrawals are at an all time high. This year there are 24 designer gardens to drool over, 124 seminars and demos by leading professional gardeners from the US and abroad (even Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter estate in England will be speaking again - woohoo!), and oodles of booths selling every manner of gardening accoutrement. You’ll always find the rare and unusual plants and you can often find new plant introductions at shows like this. You’ll have them in your garden before most of the local nurseries can stock them. There are tables and tables of orchids, sedums, heather, perennials, tropicals, pots, tools, gloves, garden art and anything else you can think of for sale. This year I bought two hardy terrestrial orchids, a Calanthe tricarinata hardy to USDA zones 6-9, and Oreorchis patens, hardy to USDA zones 5-9. One is for me and one will be a Mother’s Day treat for my mom. I can’t wait to see them bloom in the garden! I’ll be sure to write a post on hardy orchids later as the Calanthe makes four in my garden.

The designer gardens are awesome. Most are not necessarily practical for the average person but the creativity you can absorb spurs your imagination to run wild toward making some of the ideas work in your garden. You must bring your camera and maybe even a notebook. There are so many great ideas it’s impossible to remember them all.

All of this joy and fragrance is spread over 2 floors, 6 indoor acres and five days! No way can you attend the seminars and see the show in one day. One gardener told me she takes 3 days off work every year just for this show.

Do you live near one of the nation’s few flower and garden shows? Do you go? Its great fun and a great day spent with fellow gardeners who by all accounts are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet! 
By the way, I've fixed the problem that created an error while trying to comment on my blog, so please try again, I'd love to hear from you!

In bloom in my garden today: Galanthus elwesii (snow drops), crocus, primrose, Sarcococca confusa, hellebore

Photo courtesy of Pat Chissus


Shari B. said...

Hi Joan! I'm fairly certain you should be TEACHING a seminar there rather than attending! ;)

Our Denver show does have HOME and GARDEN smooshed together. Which usually equates to a whole bunch of hottub dealers! We've gone a few times in the past and I do LOVE to see the display gardens they put together indoors when we are all so sick of seeing snow!

So glad you have such a fantastic show near to you! Great idea on the orchid for your mom!

Wahoo for fixing the comment bug! Great news!

Joan said...

Hi Shari,
Thanks for the complement! I think it would be fun to teach sometime.

Yeah, home and garden shows usually disappoint me in the garden half. You are right about the glut of hot tub dealers! I'm so thankful for this kind of show to be so near by! It's so awesome!

Shari said...

Joan I LOVE your new photo on your blog header - it looks great!

Joan said...

Thanks Shari! Inch by inch I'm getting there!