Orchids in one of the show gardens at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

A Report from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

I’m back from speaking at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. What a whirlwind trip and a breath of Spring! My suitcases are bulging with gifts, and I also snuck in a few dahlias and a peony I’ve never grown, ‘Myrtle Gentry.’ I’m told it truly is dinner-plate sized. Time to buy another peony support.

I bought several dahlias on my last day at the show. In keeping with trying not to grow every single thing I see, I bought two each of three varieties.

I bought several dahlias on my last day at the show. In keeping with trying not to grow every single thing I see, I bought two each of three varieties.

Friends, Leslie from Growing a Garden in Davis and Cindy From My Corner of Katy gave me a dahlia from Swan Island Dahlias called ‘Tutti Frutti.’ A group of us are growing this dahlia all over the U.S. to see how it performs. As you know dahlias in Oklahoma aren’t the easiest thing ever, but I am often successful with them if I get them started early. Since I have so many this early in the season, I’m going to pot them up today in the greenhouse to get them off to a good start. However, I’ve also planted them straight outside when the weather is consistently warm. I think, with dahlias the thing to remember is they come from the mountains of Mexico. That means they don’t love super hot weather so I grow them on the east side of my house or allow them to mingle in the partial shade of a rose bush. That’s what I’ve done with ‘Juanita,’ one of my favorites. I also don’t dig them every year. You can if you like, but I’m often too busy and worn out to mess with it. Usually, they come back unless we’ve had a horrid winter. It’s a crap shoot really.

El Patio Fuente, by Treeline Designz 360° Design Company and built by Calluna's Gardens incorporated a lot of tulips and a full sized fountain in its warm-hued design.

El Patio Fuente, by Treeline Designz 360° Design Company and built by Calluna’s Gardens incorporated a lot of tulips and a full-sized fountain in its warm-hued design.

Back to the show…When you walk into the building with the show gardens, there is an overwhelming scent of spring with hyacinths, tulips and other bulbs in bloom. Garden designers work for months to get everything to burst into bloom at just the right moment for the show’s five days. Trees are blooming too. Also, this year, there was a garden designed entirely with orchids. I do love the complexity of these fabulous plants.

Notice the blown glass salmon swimming upstream in this garden called Discovering Alaska at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

Notice the blown glass salmon swimming upstream in this garden called Discovering Alaska at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

My two favorite gardens were also favorites of the judges: “Discovering Alaska” by Adam Gorski Landscapes, Inc. and “The Tiny Tetons” by Nature Perfect Landscape and Design and The Barn Nursery, both in Olympia, Washington. For more about the gardens, just click on the link.

This show garden, The Tiny Tetons, won a gold medal at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. What looks like blue sky is actually a backdrop, and the Snake River is composed of tiny Iris reticulata. It's a very clever three-dimensional trompe l'oeil. Kind of.

This show garden, The Tiny Tetons, won a gold medal at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. What looks like blue sky is actually a backdrop, and the Snake River is composed of tiny Iris reticulata. It’s a very clever three-dimensional reversal of trompe l’oeil.

Here’s a closeup of that “river” again.

Iris reticulata and sedum creating a river and its bank in the The Tiny Tetons at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

Iris reticulata and sedum creating a river and its bank in the The Tiny Tetons at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

If I sound a bit euphoric, it’s probably jet lag, but I had the best time. I always do. I spoke twice, once on Friday–I got to be on a panel with Ruth Rogers Clausen. Oh my! Later, we went out to dinner with Danielle Ernest, another dear friend. I also spoke on Saturday to a very receptive after-lunch crowd. I was surprised they weren’t sleepier. I talked about dream balconies, decks and patios in my first talk as part of a Gardening 101 series on small, urban spaces. Since the theme of this year’s Northwest Flower and Garden Show was America the Beautiful, I treated my talk like a travelogue. We had fun. Saturday’s talk was “Ten Steps on the Gardening Path to Happiness.” I love encouraging gardeners in all stages. In between times, I attended the Tweetup on Thursday morning and snapped a shot of Danger Garden in her spiky element. She loves desert plants and lives in Portland. Don’t we always love the gardens that are hardest for us to grow? It’s a great way to stretch our creative muscles. Later, that night a group of us went out to dinner. More fun.

Loree from Danger Garden in front of her favorite type of gardening.

Loree from Danger Garden in front of her favorite type of gardening.

On my last day after my talk, I ran down to the Pike Place Market and stopped in at Le Panier for some macarons. Macarons are made with egg whites and almond flour so they are usually gluten if not dairy free. Still, check with the bakery of your choice before you buy. I wouldn’t want to make you go astray. Here are mine. They were so good. I bought enough to share with my family. A taste of Paris in Seattle. C’est bon!

A rainbow of macarons from La Panier in Seattle. --Dee Nash

A rainbow of macarons from La Panier in Seattle.

If you ever get the chance to visit Seattle, be sure to make a stop in this tiny bakery. If you can eat gluten, you’ll find a lot more pastries and bread on offer. If you can visit during the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, that would be even better.

Post Alley wall in Seattle. --Dee Nash

Post Alley wall in Seattle.

On the walk back to the hotel, I ended up in Post Alley site of street art and the famous bubblegum wall. I’ll leave you to your own thoughts about it.

 

 

 

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17 comments on “A Report from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

  1. Pingback: A Sudden Softness II: Flower Shows 2016 | A Moveable Garden

  2. Pingback: More display gardens from the NWFGS – Red Dirt Ramblings®

  3. Robin Ruff Leja

    I meant to comment on the Tiny Tetons display also! Not only does it look good in that context, it just so happens to be one of my favorite combinations in my own garden. I love to plant iris reticulata underneath that very same sedum Angelina. It never looks quite like that though, because that sedum is always orange/red/yellow during the chilly days when the iris blooms. It makes a great combo, not to mention that neither of them likes much water.

  4. Robin Ruff Leja

    My dahlias seem to like it here in Ohio, but we aren’t quite as extreme as you are. I never dig mine either, I’m just plain lazy I guess, and they rarely return in our climate. Once in awhile I get lucky though. With the mild winter we’ve had this year, I’m hoping they will surprise me. And if not, I’ll just pick some new ones. That’s half the fun!

  5. Les

    I love those Tiny Tetons (which sounds a bit perverse), but I can imagine what sort of stress the designer(s) went through wondering if all those Iris reticulata would bloom on time. Looks as if their timing was perfect.

  6. Shirley

    The Tiny Tetons are very well done and creative. The show always looks great and sounds like fun.

    Dahlias and Peonies are among the special plants I left behind when we moved home to Texas.

  7. Lisa at Greenbow

    A very fragrant peony sounds like a fabulous plant, a must have. I am glad you had a good time in Seattle. Just a change of weathers would be good to me. Do you have more photos of the displays? Would love to see them.

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Lisa, I do, but you know who took better ones in my opinion? Mary Ann Newcomer. Look at her FB, and you’ll see tons of good photos of the show gardens. I might share some more on FB too. Thanks!

  8. danger garden

    So happy to have spent some time with you Dee, although I am sorry to have missed your talks!

    1. Dee Nash

      Loree, I enjoyed our time together too. Glad we got to have dinner.

  9. The Seattle Garden Show is one of my favorite Seattle events; I have some of Dan’s Dahlias in my garden, they make late summer-early fall special.

    1. Dee Nash

      Charlie, I enjoyed talking to Dan too about his passion for dahlias. It’s so fun to meet the people behind the companies I’ve shopped with online.

  10. Robin Ripley

    I could sure use a shot of some flower show right now. Take me away!

  11. Cindy, MCOK

    It was an exhilarating and exhausting experience! I’m glad I got to share some of it with you!

  12. Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening

    ‘Myrtle Gentry’ is reputed to be one of the most fragrant peonies of all. I hope it thrives in your garden! Creating a show display is an art in itself, isn’t it? Those Tiny Tetons are incredible!

    1. Dee Nash

      Yes Kathy, I forgot. They told me that. I’ll let you know if it smells good. It’s a large piece so maybe I’ll be lucky enough that it blooms this year. ~~Dee

  13. indygardener

    Sounds like a wonderful time was had! Thanks for sharing it with us.