When I ask people what their favorite part of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show is, the most common response I get is “the pretty Display Gardens in full bloom!” Yes, we have a huge selection of exhibitors, floral displays and noteworthy seminars. But there’s nothing quite like walking into the darkened garden floor with the distant sound of birds and water, the smell of flowers in bloom, and the warmth of the garden lights.
This year, we will have a grand total of 23 Display Gardens, all following our theme of “Romance Blossoms.” Here’s your introduction to a few of the gardens you will see at this year.
“Picture Yourself on Azalea Way”
Since the very first year of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, the Washington Park Arboretum has created Display Gardens representative of the Arboretum itself. If you’ve ever been to the Arboretum, you’d know it’s a place where romantic settings are plenty.
Picture walking among colorful azaleas, cherry trees, bulbs, and more. Surrounding plants will be Pacific Northwest friendly while the garden border will be created with reclaimed wood right from the Arboretum. An exciting feature is a photo opportunity right in the garden! Step into the scene while friends and family take your photo in front of cut-out dress forms. Upload them to your favorite social media using the hashtag #onazaleaway. Tag the Northwest Flower & Garden Show (@NWFGS/#NWFGS), and we can share your photo too!
Over the Moon
Did you know the Latin word for moon, “luna,” is sometimes related to the word lunatic? You hear about people turning into wolves, but it’s often thought people can become crazy in love from the moon. The Association of Professional Landscape Designers of Washington (APLDWA) is creating a night garden based on this premise, moon included. White birches, yellow and orange blooms, a lovely pavilion, a hammock, an overflowing pool… this garden is the perfect recipe for love.
Integrated in front of the Display Garden is a table where APLDWA is offering free 20 minute design consultations. This is a fantastic opportunity to get a professional opinion on your own yard, especially considering all the ideas and plants you may pick up at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show!
Check back here on the Garden Show Blog for more breathtaking displays we will have at the 2015 Northwest Flower & Garden Show. All you need is a ticket to see, touch, and smell spring a few months early.
Every year, a highly prestigious event kicks off the beginning of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. On February 10th from 5-9pm, the Arboretum Foundation will be hosting their annual Opening Night Party at the 2015 Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
Guests will feel like royalty at this event. You can enjoy delicious food, wine bars, live entertainment, and live & silent auctions. All guests will enjoy a delicious buffet dinner and dessert, as well as complimentary parking for one car in the Convention Center garage. The auctions are filled with all manner of treasures—such as travel packages, dining and theater experiences, exclusive garden tours, hiking adventures, and wine tastings. The Mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, will be in attendance as the honorary chair for this year’s party.
But, a more notable benefit to attending the Opening Night Party is the exclusive opportunity to see the Display Gardens before anyone else. You will be lucky enough to see the gardens hours after they’re completed and meet the garden creators themselves. This year’s gardens will be following our theme “Romance Blossoms,” so this will be a romantic evening for all attending.
The Opening Night Party at the Show benefits the Arboretum, which is one of Seattle’s oldest non-profit organizations. This event provides support for Seattle’s internationally renowned 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum, along with funding their 600+ volunteers who keep the organization running.
There are multiple ticket levels available for purchase. If you are already a member of the Arboretum Foundation, you can purchase tickets right now at the Early Bird price of $175. This deal is only good until January 10th 2015, so hurry!
For all other guests, there are two levels to choose from: Patron and Benefactor. Patrons and Benefactors will receive benefits like reserved table seating for dinner on the main garden floor. Benefactors will also receive two tickets to the Garden Show and a special gift. You can also reserve tables for groups of ten.
By attending, you can support an organization that provides vital resources to protect the Washington Park Arboretum, a treasured urban green space and plant collection nestled in the heart of Seattle. The food, drinks, and a lovely evening on the Garden Floor are all just side perks. -Courtney
The design team at the Arboretum Foundation is taking its cue for their 2013 show garden from J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel, The Hobbit, for their 2013 garden at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
“A Hobbit’s New Zealand Garden” recreates an imaginary small, lush world of hobbits as envisioned by the award-winning design team of Phil Wood, Robert Williams and Bob Lilly. They are the co-creators of the past two Arboretum Foundation gardens at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, both of which won Gold Medals and the Pacific Horticulture Award.
The garden will be composed of plants native to New Zealand that generally do well in our region. It celebrates the new eco-geographic forest to be planted in the Arboretum’s Pacific Connection’s Garden next year.
You’ll find yourself transported ‘down under’ when you see the house tucked into a hillside covered with sedges and ferns. A stone pathway leads to a round hobbit-sized door. An aged picket fence borders a small inner garden, with a tree fern standing sentry nearby.
Next to the house is a bog filled with colorful New Zealand flax (Phormium) and surrounded by drifts of sedges (Carex), for a wind-swept feel. Fog seeps in, lending an air of mystery. Color pops from the flowers of Libertia and foliage of Coprosma, and on top of the hill a small grove of tea trees (Leptospermum) forms a backdrop to the garden.
Children of all ages will want to take a peek inside the diminutive hobbit house. But parents will appreciate how most of the plants in the garden are drought tolerant, and, once established, are also low maintenance. The garden will showcase how these plants can compliment any typical Northwest home garden.
The Arboretum Foundation is a nonprofit organization supporting the renowned 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle. They hope to raise $5.5 million to complete construction of the 2.25 acre New Zealand Forest in 2013 as part of Phase II of the Pacific Connections Garden.
Tickets are on sale now for the 25th annual show, to be held February 20 – 24, 2013 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. For a sneak preview of the Arboretum Foundation’s New Zealand garden and all the inspirational show gardens, join them for the Opening Night Party, with proceeds supporting the Arboretum Foundation. ~ Janet
One of the highlights for local gardeners is the annual Northwest Flower & Garden Show Opening Night Party, to be held on Tuesday, February 19, from 5:00 pm – 9:40 pm, hosted by the Arboretum Foundation to benefit the Washington Park Arboretum. This is a must-attend party for the ‘horteratti.’
Guests can enjoy a festive evening with delicious food, fine wines, live music and a splendid silent auction filled with vacation getaways, collectable wines, fun experiences, plants and all things avid gardeners love.
But what is more exciting is the opportunity to see all of the 23 lavish show gardens before the show opens to the public the next morning. All the while helping to support the Washington Park Arboretum. Established in 1934, the arboretum is a 230-acre living museum of priceless woodlands, wetlands, gardens and walking trails nestled in the heart of bustling Seattle. It has been treasured by generations of nature lovers, gardeners, tourists and citizens of the Emerald City.
All of the show gardens this year are inspired by the history and tradition of the cinema, so the Arboretum Foundation movers and shakers are capturing that spirit with the party. You can walk down the red carpet, pose for paparazzi, and gossip with your favorite Northwest horticulture celebrities.
You’ll also be the first to see the Foundation’s own display garden, which pays homage to the gorgeous gardens and scenery of New Zealand and the popular new film, “The Hobbit.” It will once again be designed by the award-winning team of Phil Wood, Bob Lilly and Roger Williams.
Patrons and Benefactors will be treated to a special appearance by Santa Barbara-based designer Billy Goodnick, author of the new book , Yards: Turn Any Outdoor Space Into the Garden of Your Dreams, to be published by St. Lynn’s Press and released just before the 2013 show. Billy will be roving the gardens, microphone in hand, and sharing his “Top Ten Design Tips for Sustainability and Outdoor Living.” Billy’s design eye, combined with his keen wit, promises to make this an entertaining way to discover new trends.
Tickets are now on sale. You can purchase them online, by phone at 206-325-4510, or over the counter in the Arboretum Shop (open daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Don’t miss this wonderful evening, to be held at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Even better, book a hotel room for Tuesday evening and you’ll be right on hand when the show opens at 9 am the following morning. (Think of what a lovely Valentine’s gift this would make for your gardening sweetheart!) ~ Janet
Since it was first founded in 1989, the Northwest Flower & Garden Show has had a tradition of inviting three exceptional gardening pros to serve as Show Judges and Speakers. This year is no exception, with Stephen Orr, Garden Editor for Martha Stewart Living, Rosalind Creasy, groundbreaking author of Edible Landscaping, and Steve Aitken, editor of Fine Gardening magazine, doing the honor of serving as Show Judges.
After hours of viewing the gardens and deliberating, the Show Judges award a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Crystal Award to each of the show gardens. They also award the Founder’s Cup, which has no set criteria – it’s the garden they all like the best. In 2011 designer Karen Stefonick of Karen Stefonick Design, and landscaper Brent Bissell, of B. Bissell General Contractors LLC did the impossible – they won the coveted top prize for the second year in a row with their garden titled “A Wrinkle in Time.” The award is bestowed on the ecstatic recipients by Cyle Eldred, Show Designer, during the Arboretum Foundation’s Opening Night Party, held the night before the show opens.
The Show Judges also decide the American Horticultural Society Environmental Award. This is the garden that “best demonstrates skillful design that incorporates environmental stewardship in the garden.” This award went to Christianson’s Nursery’s nostalgic garden, titled “A Day Well Spent,” which depicted a typical family nursery back in the 1940’s – much like Christianson’s Nursery was in earlier times.
But there are other judging teams on the garden floor during the hushed four hours after the gardens are finally completed, before the Opening Night Party guests arrive. These judging teams do not know the results of the medals bestowed by the three main Show Judges; they are all judging independently of each other, and each team has different criteria for their award.
The Pacific Horticulture Magazine Award goes to the garden that “best demonstrates the regional nature of garden design.” It is judged by a trio of Pacific Horticulture representatives, prominent designers and garden writers. Last year they selected the Arboretum Foundation’s respectful homage to the Seattle Japanese Garden, titled “Bridging History.” It was created in celebration of the Seattle Japanese Garden’s 50th anniversary, and was exquisite in its detail of a tranquil Japanese garden.
The Sunset’s Western Living Award seeks the garden “most filled with fresh, useful, achievable ideas that enhance outdoor living in the West, ” with Sunset writers/editors, including Julie Chai, judge this award. Courtney Goetz, designing a show garden for her high school project and performing like a seasoned veteran despite her youthful 19 years of age, received this award along with accolades from the Sunset editors. We certainly hope to see Courtney return to the show again!
The Ethel Moss People’s Choice Award (named for an early over-the-top passionate show attendee) is the favorite garden as voted by the show attendees. Christianson’s Nursery, which has won this award in the past, took home the honors in 2011. But who knows which garden will be capture the fancy of show attendees in 2012? Be sure to look for the voting stations in the skybridge and South Lobby and vote for your favorite garden.
Christianson’s Nursery also took home the 425 Magazine Award. It’s judged by editors and garden writers looking for “a garden that dazzles thanks to smart design, creativity and originality.” This garden was accessorized perfectly using found objects that gave it a comfortable, well-loved look. It’s no wonder the 425 Magazine editors loved it, along with the show attendees.
To the garden creators themselves, perhaps the most cherished award is the Fred Palmer Exhibitor Award. (Fred Palmer was the owner of Star Nursery in South Seattle, and a huge supporter and garden creator during the show’s earliest years.) This is the garden voted the most accomplished by fellow garden creators. Susan Browne, namesake of Susan Browne Landscape Design, delighted everyone with “Run, Little Pigs, Run! Her garden was a thoughtful rendition of the classic children’s book, “The Three Little Pigs” complete with the straw hut, Wood shack, brick house and wolf’s lair.
Congratulations to all of our 2011 award winners. But the show team thinks everyone creating the Northwest Flower & Garden Show’s display gardens are winners. These stunning gardens are built in true partnership with many different garden designers, landscapers, nurseries, artists, craftsmen, and retailers in the horticulture industry. We applaud those that take such pride in their work and help us maintain the high level of “Wow!” our attendees eagerly expect. For a list of the 2012 garden designers, check out our website. They love our new theme, “A Floral Symphony, ” so look for music to be woven into each garden’s theme. And if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you can print them conveniently at home. Remember – Early Bird ticket prices are good through February 7th. – Janet