So much to see in Seattle at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Best use of black mondo grass at the show. White daffodils with black mondo grass.
Best use of black mondo grass at the show.

Everyone has this idea it’s always raining in Seattle. Not true. This week, while I attended the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, it was cloudy, but very little rain fell. Meanwhile in Oklahoma, we had hail, snow, sleet and freezing rain within a three-day period. It’s raining even now as I write from my cozy kitchen workplace. Since we’re in a drought, I’m grateful.

The Hobbit Garden was very popular at the show.
The Hobbit Garden was very popular at the show.

I’ll take Seattle in February anytime. I wish I could carry you there in my pocket, but unfortunately, that isn’t possible–so, I’m going to try virtually by describing the excitement and anticipation. I stayed in the Sheraton with the show in the convention center next door. To get to the show, you must travel up three floors by escalator, and excitement builds at each level. You check your wristband or ticket and walk through the doors into a cornucopia of garden bliss. First, it’s the soft scent of soil and then, sharp piney mulch. Have you never smelled good soil? Well, my friends, you simply must grab hold of a handful of dirt and inhale this spring. It’s the scent of the Earth slowly turning. My Irish forebears would say soil is our birth rite. We should know its smell.

A sunny Mediterranean garden full of hot colors in plants and decor.
A sunny Mediterranean garden full of hot colors in plants and decor.

After a sigh of contentment, your nostrils pick up the subtle hues of bulbs and other blooming plants. Designers work feverishly to force so many trees, shrubs and flowers into bloom. It’s an indoor paradise. I find hyacinths the most intoxicating followed by heirloom ‘Thalia’ narcissus planted everywhere. The gardens beckon you forward, and you find yourself wandering with quiet purpose.

A doorway in a garden.
A doorway to adventure

Gardens have already been judged and awarded medals of silver and gold. Their designers and builders perch proudly on stools. They point to subtle details like the man behind the window in the Jardin-Noire, or the sunburst and wave effect of trees. Like a large slab of chocolate cake, it’s too much to take in one sitting.

Bulbs and a fountain await the visitor.
Bulbs and a fountain await the visitor.

That’s why I go for more than one day. I’m finally satiated by after four days because there is so much to see. A hint: go early because the crowds build throughout the week. Plus, the flowers are a bit tired by Saturday and Sunday. Go on Wednesday if you can.

Hellebores and Thalia daffodils
Hellebores and Thalia daffodils

After the gardens, there is a marketplace where you can buy a greenhouse or any type of art you desire from glass, ceramics or metal. Once you breeze through these and talk with artisans about their craft, then cross the breezeway to the plant marketplace. There, you’ll find B&D Lilies–who I’ve ordered from many times. Also, Raintree Nursery where I purchased two of my apple trees. Your hands drift over evergreen huckleberries, but you restrain yourself and your credit card. You remember you live in Oklahoma where the elevation is low and the alkaline and heat high. So, you head to a small booth where you finally find astrantia

Dahlia sellers throughout the show.
Dahlia sellers

You turn and take in the dahlia growers–I counted four–the hellebore sellers and a dazzling number of evergreens. It’s all too much. You feel dizzy and decide you simply must take a lie down. After all, tomorrow is another day, and you have plenty of time to ponder.



  1. Laura Thomas says:

    You’re right about Wednesday. I got in late, but took the opportunity to check out the show. I was so glad I did. It was a relaxing way to take in the gardens. It was great to see you at the show!

  2. RobinL says:

    Well, maybe the Northwest Home and Garden show is better than the Columbus version. I didn’t even go this year! It’s way too dark in ours, and the garden vendors have been cut back to a only a handful. The displays are gorgeous, but they need to fix those two big problems I mentioned.

  3. Jealous…wish I could have been there! We have a great garden show here in Madison in February, too. It’s fun to get ideas for the next growing season!

  4. Dee what a great review…this is on my list of travels as I retire and I cant wait. I love the purple door as I have one almost the same.

  5. What a great show. Have seen many posts about all the great displays and plants offered. What a treat!

  6. Love the hobbit house with its green roof. Must have been forward thinkers! I’m headed to the Philly Show on Thursday…can’t wait!

  7. I’m so glad our paths crossed at the show Dee, it was great to see you again!

  8. Looks like you had a great time. The displays are so creative and inspiring. I’d sure like to make it out there someday.

  9. Theresa Beecham says:

    Loved hearing about and seeing the flower and garden show. I agree about the smell of dirt. It makes me feel good right down to my toes!

  10. Nell Jean says:

    I’ve followed the NW Garden Show for years, first on their web site and then through bloggers who go and share their wonderful photos. Thank you for yours.

    I discovered your Pinterest link just today. I just followed the whole thing and then unfollowed the very few like Marilyn and famous people that are not my interest; unfollowed NONE of the garden-related until I see every pin.

  11. Gail says:

    You’ve convinced me! I want to go, I want to go! I know those smells and love them~thank you Dee for taking us along…

  12. Carol says:

    I love the smell of good dirt. Thanks for the recap. I want to come some year.

  13. Yes, thank you for including the smells. But I’m with Esther, going upstairs to see gardens just seems wrong.

  14. Leslie says:

    That looks just wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

  15. Dee- I’m sure anyone reading your post from anywhere in the Pacific NW about February in Seattle is chuckling to themselves. One reason: in 1996 it was quite the exercise to get to the flower show because it was raining so much that a river overflowed and blocked I-5 north. Yes, it’s like that.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Lucky for me then that I haven’t had it that bad the three times I’ve come. Maybe I’m good luck Vanessa.

  16. I find it a bit disconcerting, gardens being upstairs. And as for weather – you in Oklahoma know how to do weather in a big way!

  17. Frances says:

    You make it all sound so wonderful, Dee, thanks for taking us along. I like how you added the smells, especially of good soil. It is the scent of Spring to me, and on certain days already, it has been noticed here. Some day I will also go to this garden show, and will go on a Wednesday, per your advice!

  18. What fun and inspiration. I can’t wait to see some tulips blooming.

  19. Layanee says:

    I just love the purple door with tulips to match. A flower show is a good adventure all around.

  20. Linda Guess says:

    Oh Dee, I am sitting here watching the weather forecast in Edmond, Oklahoma and pulled up your blog, I so enjoyed it and felt like I was on the escalator with you! We have seen some beautiful springtime sights! LOL Thank you for sharing. Stay warm and Bless you.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you so much Linda. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Oooh, the rain and snow is something today.

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