Monday, February 28, 2011

Field Trip - Northwest Flower and Garden Show

I love how you can breathe in botanical names as if it's a shopping list.
~Katherine Jones

Well, the weather here has been atrocious…relatively speaking. Our normal winter of mild temps has turned arctic-esque again and we are just waiting for the rain to return tomorrow and melt all this snow and ice away. Normally we get a week or so in February of dry, sunny days and balmy temps, luring every gardener out to prune roses and do some general cleanup. I postponed my rose pruning because I knew this freeze was coming. On a happier note, another much anticipated warming activity in February is the annual Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. Acres (at least it seems like) of gardens, plants, vendors booths, seminars and wonderful people (gardeners are really nice) all milling around, dreaming big dreams and soaking up a bit of paradise.

There were 24 display gardens to spur-on the imagination this year. They are really big and each is planned according to the show theme of the year. The 2011 theme is “Once Upon A Time: Spectacular Gardens with Stories to Tell”. Frankly half the time I don’t get the theme out of the design I see, but I don’t really care. It’s about the inspiration for me and what ideas I can take from the show to my own garden. The first garden I saw ended up being my favorite. Lots of nooks and crannies with well made classy sheds using recycled parts and old wood windows. That’s my kind of construction. When I rounded the corner and saw the name of the nursery that designed and implemented it…well I wasn’t surprised. It was Christianson’s Nursery all time favorite! Their nursery is just like this. Well done. If you can, you must visit.

By the time it was to leave I hadn’t seen the whole show. I don’t know if it’s possible in one day and this time I got held up at Andy’s Orchids booth. There are always several orchid vendors there but Andy’s has orchids for the true orchid geek. Not all in showy, tempting bloom of run of the mill varieties that can be had from your local grocery store (which are lovely and I have several) at half the price they wanted at the show. No, Andy’s had a huge selection of more rare and unusual species, not all in flower but he was quick to pull up a photo of the flower for you to see on his laptop. And he was happy to just talk orchids. No hard sell, no quick-sell-and-on-to-the-next-customer. Just sharing his knowledge and he really wanted to make sure you chose the orchid best suited to your situation and experience. A really neat guy. If you are into orchids and are going to a regional flower show, maybe he’ll be there. He’s worth searching out. If you are lucky enough to be near Encinitas, CA you could visit him. Oh and yes, I bought an orchid, dendrobium pugioniforme. Now I have nine of differing species. Darn things are just so addicting! I don’t even get them to bloom again every year but I live in high hopes…either that or delusion, but I’m learning. A few weeks ago I found the best online forum which is a huge and very helpful resource. That and a few library books and I’m confident I’ll get more blooms this year.

Back at the show, most of the display gardens had water features too. This ball with water enveloping it from an outlet at the top was my fav. The water fell so softly there was no sound and barely a ripple on the water’s surface. It was simply beautiful. And the flat, open patio for seating…ahhh, so serene. Yeah I could live there.

I love this quirky idea for a garden shed. I snapped a picture of it to keep in my photo file of future garden ideas. I have lots of old windows and even an old pair of small French doors, all just waiting for a design and space to make a fun garden building or greenhouse. I keep taking pictures and designing it in my head. Hopefully someday it’ll take shape. Someday.

As a matter of fact most of the pictures I take at the show go into a file for future garden ideas. This is a cool idea from the Creative Gardener to use old floor grates as ‘stepping stones’…which from our old house I have a few stowed in the attic.

I’m always sad when this show is over. Not your run-of-the-mill home and garden show, it’s special. We are really fortunate to have it here in our midst. I look forward to it every year, and always come away with something new for the garden. This year I bought some Allium bulbs (Allium sphaerocephalon) which promise a two-tone oblong spring flower of green and purple. How cool is that?? They are already sprouting in the bag so as soon as the ground thaws I’ll plant them. Can’t wait to see the bloom!

As I often do, I listed websites and extolled the virtues of a few businesses here today. I do so because I love passing on great information…nothing here is a paid endorsement.

In Bloom In My Garden Today: Cyclamen coum, crocus, primrose (double English), Heleborus, Bellis perennis (English Daisy), violet primrose, Sarcococca, Galanthus elwesii (snowdrops)

Author’s photos


Cindy said...

I just left you a HUGE comment and it went POOF.

can I cry for an hour and come back.


I'll be back. JJ needs help.


so is my life right now.

Joan said...

ARRGH! ohh don't cry...I just hate it when that happens! It's happened to me so many times on blog commenting...grrr. I totally understand if you don't re-comment but I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Sending calming vibes your way!! :)

Cindy said...

okay...I'm back.
I totally forgot what I was saying but some of it had to do with Encinitas and an Orchid Garden I've been too and wondering if it's where that guy you met was from.

I don't live too far from there (an hour's drive or less)

small world NO?

also I LOVED the shed with the windows and I also LOVE to take pics of things I see that we want to create in our yard down the road. SUCH FUN.

okay, just since it's been a heck of a day I am going to play safe and hit done!

have a great night!

Joan said...

Hi Cindy,
Yes indeed it is a small world...I wonder too if that orchid garden you visited is Andy's. I should probably stay away from places like that. I'd want one of everything then there'd be no room for us in the house. :)

Some day I'll have to visit and we can go to Andy's and I want to see the idea pictures you save for your future garden. It IS fun!

Thanks for coming back to re-comment.

Shari B. said...

I'm so behind on my commenting, my apologies! WOW, those grates as stepping stones are SO cool! I am always amazed at the creativity some people have and am always a little envious that my brain doesn't work that way.

I would go to a show like that and then want to come home and re-do EVERYTHING. That's why Home & Garden Television is bad news for me. I get all these great ideas that I want to implement NOW! :)

Joan said...

Yay! Shari's back! I know you've been swamped so no's nice to see your smilies again tho.

Me too...I always want to make changes to my garden when I come away from this show. Usually in the form of structures tho (like a greenhouse), which isn't so easy with space constraints.

But the inspiration is fun, even if implementation is was off in the future.

Di @ waterfeatures said...

is this your garden or somewhere you visit? absolutely beautiful. This is the kind of haven i would love just outside my backdoor but i can dream. i like to think of my garden as a wildlife reserve and au natural. very bee friendly. i do get loads of wildlife though, i just wish i had somewhere to sit and be part of it.

Joan said...

Hi Di,
Welcome and thank you so much for visiting!

These pictures are of exhibits at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle, much like what you'd see at the Chelsea show. They are always so beatiful! If you'd like to see pictures of my garden you can do a search in the box I provide in the right hand column for 'a fixer upper garden' or go into the archives to find it posted in Sept 2009. I hope you like garden was a bit wild to begin with too. I agree with you, habitat for wild life and a place for you to enjoy them is perfect for a garden. Glad the bees like your spot! I hope you can carve a bit out for yourself too. Cheers!