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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.