The Backstory: Its resources, local gardening groups, public gardens, plant societies — plus the promise of spring — will make every gardener better.
HOORAY! IT’S FLOWER SHOW WEEK — when expert “plants people” and garden designers (along with avid home gardeners and anyone starved for a dose of color and the whiff of blossoms) gather in an annual flower-bedecked love fest for all things plants, gardens and growing.
My roots run deep with the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, coming to the Washington State Convention Center Feb. 20-24. In the early years, I wandered the aisles as a blissed-out newbie gardener soaking up inspiration for the coming growing season and, of course, acquiring new plants.
I still have a deep-purple hellebore in my garden that I purchased at the show from a young man by the name of Dan Hinkley — you might have heard of him. I discovered a wealth of resources, local gardening groups, public gardens and plant societies that helped make me a better gardener.
Later, during my nursery-owning days, I became a vendor in the show’s bustling marketplace, where I stocked my tiny pop-up booth with everything from sweet pea seeds to concrete pillow-shaped steppingstones (remember those?). Over the years, I’ve been a part of the show’s ambitious seminar program. And twice, along with my Fremont Gardens cohorts, I designed and created display gardens — but that’s a tale of adventure and harrowing exploit for another day.
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It never gets old. To this day, the heady fragrance of moist earth and fragrant blooms in the display gardens makes me go weak in the knees. With dreams of the coming growing season fueled by informative and entertaining lectures and demonstrations, I’ll browse plants, seeds, tools, books and art, and gather with others who, like me, live a garden-filled life here in one of the most garden-friendly places on Earth.
In truth, most of our growing and tending efforts, like those reflected in the remarkable garden of Kim Spadafora on Page 8, take place in less-inclement months of the year. But thanks to everyone involved with the show, for five days in deep midwinter, the garden comes to us.