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