‘Twas two weeks before Christmas,
When all through the house,
A creature was stirring,
He was using his mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that show tickets would soon be there.
A gardener was nestled all snug in her bed,
While visions of Hellebores danced in her head.
So he clicked on a website and what did he find,
Dreams of show gardens filling his mind.
Away to the ticket tab he flew like a flash,
Clicked open the page and bought in a dash.
And kids get in FREE he read with surprise,
A Treasure Hunt too, complete with a prize.
And then in a twinkling he had a great thought,
A night in Seattle would also be bought!
A nice hotel room nearby to the show,
And room for the kids without too much dough,
A magical time could soon be theirs,
Two days at the show would vanish their cares.
The beautiful gardens — such a sight to behold!
A few days of Spring, away from the cold.
They’ll see demos and talks, and musical acts,
Find some new plants and some garden knick knacks.
Now, Ciscoe! now, Billy! now, Amy and Lucy!
On, Richie! on, Kelly! on Marty and Jessi!
From the edge of the deck, to the top of the wall,
Free lectures showing there’s gardens for all.
Plus shopping for all things garden related,
His spouse is sure to be more than elated.
It’s all taking place starting February 2-0.
A family adventure for all - ho, ho, ho!
And he found all this on gardenshow.com,
The perfect gift for a gardening Mom! ~ Janet
The Northwest Flower & Garden Show is a wonderful way to spend the day with the entire family. The show wants young children to learn about the wonder of nature around them, to unplug from their electronic toys and dig the outdoors! So we’ve created a special place just for the kids. It’s called the PlayGarden, and this is one area of the show where the motto definitely is “Look – and touch!” Even better – children 12 and under are FREE, and Youth tickets (age 13 – 17) are only $5.00.
The PlayGarden theme this year is ‘Rockin’ Robin’ and it is a great way to teach children about the birds that live in our urban and suburban areas. But sooner or later Moms and Dads and Grandparents will want to see the show gardens. How do you drag the little ones away from having all that fun in the PlayGarden? It’s easy – take them on a Treasure Hunt!Read More»
“A Floral Symphony,” the Northwest Flower & Garden Show extravaganza arriving February 8 – 12, 2012, covers six acres of the Washington State Convention Center. It has 23 spectacular show gardens, 3 “Living It Up” balcony gardens, 16 Container Exhibitors, over 300 garden-related Marketplace exhibitors, 116 seminars, 45 musical performances, a “Funky Junk” exhibit by high-school students, an Ikebana exhibit, and a Floral competition with some of the region’s leading floral designers. All packed into 53 hours of pure horticultural heaven over five days.
How do you possibly see it all? Here are my top tips for attending “Camp Horta Flora” and making the most of it.
TICKET TO GARDENING NIRVANA
You can purchase your tickets on gardenshow.com or at nursery retail outlets and Central Markets. We have a searchable list on our website so you can find the ticket outlet closest to you (and save $1). Or use our convenient print-at-home feature. (Remember, ‘Early Bird’ ticket prices end on February 7!)
Consider buying at least a 2-Day Pass. It’s $29, so that’s only $14.50 each day; a great entertainment value. If you’re really an avid seminar attendee, then the 5-Day All Show Pass, at $65, pencils out to only $13 each day.
Now that you’re got your tickets in hand, think about spending a night or two downtown. The show has arranged for discount hotel rates at a number of area hotels. You can’t get rates at these hotels better than our website deals, so take advantage of them and the amenities that got with them. But hurry, as these rooms are almost sold out.
PLAN YOUR SHOW STRATEGY
Start by going over the seminar schedule. If a seminar sounds enticing, but you don’t know much about the speaker, each speaker’s photo, biography and a description of their seminar is available by clicking on the speaker name.
Do you have specific items on your shopping list? We have over 300 exhibitors in our Marketplace, so our searchable Exhibitor list allows you to browse by category. Or you can search for a specific exhibitor name and make a note of their booth number.
You’re going to want a Seattle Times Show Guide too, with its centerfold map, seminar schedule, exhibitor list, garden descriptions and more great info. The all-important NWFGS Show Guide will be wrapped around the Seattle Times and distributed to both home delivery subscribers and newsstands on Monday, February 6.
WHAT TO BRING
You’re going to want to wear comfy shoes for walking on cement floors, and dress in layers – we keep the gardens cool for the plants (we have a coat check station). A camera is a must – photograph everything! I learned a trick from some garden bloggers last summer. If you see a plant you really covet in a show garden or in the Marketplace, but want to buy it later in the spring, photograph the plant and the plant tag. That way you know the exact plant name. Of course a small notebook and pen is a must.
Parents with children would be advised to bring infants in backpacks if possible, the better to maneuver through crowds. But if you bring a stroller and decide not to use it, you can check it for free at the Will Call booth just outside the South Lobby entrance.
The Convention Center is fully handicapped accessible, and there are handicapped parking spaces in the underground garage. But it does not offer any wheelchair rental.
Bring your questions too! The garden show is the place to be inspired – and to learn. If you have a few questions written down, you won’t forget to ask when you’re speaking to a garden creator, exhibitor or speaker. And if you really want some design help, check out our APLD Consultations. They are offering free 20-minute design consults at the show. But don’t wait until the show to sign up, as the coveted slots go quickly. Sign up on our website today.
Get smart with a smart phone. Every show garden has a large sign that lists the designers who created the garden and – new this year – a QR code. They’re like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. Perhaps a YouTube song that served as the designer’s inspiration, or a link to their website.
Now what? Well, try to arrive early to squeeze out every wonderful second of our 9 am – 8 pm days (9 am – 6 pm on Sunday), and to get a parking place at the Washington State Convention Center. When you arrive in the South Hall at the gardens, I recommend you go all the way to the back of the gardens, and then work your way forward. Most people go front-to-back, so you’ll be going the opposite direction (sort of like a reverse commute).
GARDEN SHOW MARKETPLACE
For the exhibitors, if you’re a real plant aficionado, head directly to the Plant Market in the North Hall (across the sky bridge) first. Some specialty nurseries sell out of a few choice plants early. Here’s a recent blog on Plant Market exhibitors and some cool plants they will be bringing to the show. You can then stash your plants at one of our convenient FREE Package Checks and continue your shopping.
You might think you need to be an avid gardener to shop in our Marketplace – the largest in the country, with over 300 exhibitors. Not so! All of our exhibitors are garden related, but we have a wealth of artists, craftspeople, and designers who create beautiful works of art, jewelry and clothing that is nature inspired. Case in point – last February I shopped for pieces to decorate my newly remodeled master bath. I found everything I wanted in our Marketplace – Asian styled ceramic pots to hold my stuff, a watercolor of lotus leaves, a Raku ginko leaf, a metal sculpture of bamboo, and a funky basket to hold towels – and none of it was for outside in the garden.
SEE IT, LEARN IT, DO IT!
Of course, you’ll want to see some of our acclaimed seminar speakers and you should plan your time in advance so you don’t miss them. There are so many to choose from! Each of our seminars has a symbol telling you if it’s suitable for new gardeners (most are), if it’s a lecture about edible gardening, if it’s a good seminar for those with limited space, or if there is a book signing after the seminar (we’ll have 61). These symbols are on our website, in the Seattle Times Show Guide and on the seminar schedule signs.
If you are planning on adding edibles to your garden, or you need to solve edible gardening problems, you have come to the right place! We have 30 seminars devoted to edibles, from starting seeds all the way through properly harvesting your fruits and veggies. And we have landscape designer and author Rosalind Creasy, considered to be the leading authority on edible landscaping, serving as a Show Judge and Speaker this year, and lecturing the first two days of the show. Don’t miss this rare chance to see Ros.
Our other Show Judges, Stephen Orr, gardening editor for Martha Stewart Living, and Steve Aitken, editor of Fine Gardening magazine, will also be speaking on Wednesday and Thursday. These will be design-centric talks filled with inspiring gardens and how you can have a beautiful garden – and still garden responsibly and protect the environment and wildlife.
STARS OF THE GARDENING WORLD
All the ‘usual suspects’ (as I like to call them) will be returning to the show to regale you with top tips, techniques, and trends. Look for Dan Hinkley, Joe Lamp’l, Graham Kerr, Ciscoe Morris, Val Easton, Lucy Hardiman, Marianne Binetti, Debra Prinzing, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Robin Haglund and Marty Wingate, to name just a few.
New speakers traveling from all over the U.S. are thrilled to be a part of the most prestigious seminar program in the country. Robin Stockwell, Helen Yoest, Barbara Wise, Billy Goodnick, Jennifer Bartley, Richard Bitner, Bruce Bailey, Stacy Walters, and Dianne Ott Whealey are sure to wow the crowds and become new attendee favorites. You can read their bios on our website.
And don’t miss our returning stars coming from outside Washington. They include Melinda Myers, Charlie Nardozzi, David Mizejewski, Teresa O’Connor, Jayme Jenkins, Willi Galloway, Jeff Lowenfels, Mary Ann Newcomer and Mary-Kate Mackey, to name a few.
DIG IN THE DIRT
If you think the garden show is for adults only, think again! The show has a wonderful PlayGarden to engage children of all ages in learning about nature, the outdoors, and local birds. Here the kids can look and touch! The theme is “Rockin’ Robin,” so we’ll have musical performances every show day. Join Caspar Babypants, Nancy Stewart and Your Imaginary Friend as they get the kids hopping and laughing with their silly songs about nature.
If you’re with friends and your group breaks up for awhile, a good place to rendezvous is the Wine Garden, located on the garden floor. Or stop to take in one of the 20 musical performances that will be appearing in the South Lobby. There are also plenty of cafes throughout the show, in the South Hall, the skybridge, and the North Hall. If you want to venture outside the show (be sure to get your hand stamped on the way out!) we even have restaurant discounts at some local restaurants.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The garden show has two Information Booths to help you with whatever you might need. The North Entrance booth is located just before you get to the skybridge. The South Lobby book is at the entrance to the show gardens – and this booth also sells the garden show merchandise, if you want to pick up a souvenir T-shirt.
Special thanks to our garden show sponsors:
The beloved song “Rockin’ Robin” is the inspiration behind the new PlayGarden at the 2012 Northwest Flower & Garden Show. The show has teamed up again with the folks at Seattle Children’s PlayGarden to design and build this popular new feature. Children of all ages – and especially their parents – will love the creative ways to engage and teach children about our local birds, both urban and forest dwelling feathered friends. The PlayGarden is being designed by local landscape designer Wendy Welch and will be staffed by the teachers and volunteers of the Seattle Children’s PlayGarden.
What did children do before the age of technology, when they didn’t have computers, iPods, video games and other electronic devices to sap their imagination? Why, they played outside, of course! That’s the theme of “Rockin’ Robin,” with the goal of sparking curiosity and learning about the outdoor world – the real outdoor world, not one depicted on a one-dimensional screen.
MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENT EVERY DAY
The highlight of each day will be our musical entertainment geared just for kids. Every day at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm we will have acclaimed children’s entertainers on our Sprout Stage, which is designed to look like a huge bird nest, so it will be egg-stra special! Sing and dance along to the silly songs of Grammy-nominated Caspar Babypants, Nancy Stewart (with her puppet, Sadie the Slimy Slug), Your Imaginary Friends and the zany folks at Seattle Tilth Children’s Garden. The schedule is on the garden show website. They will be singing all kinds of wacky songs, and, of course, Rockin’ Robin is sure to be a big hit with children and parents alike. This is a great way for children to burn off energy at the garden show!
DO TOUCH THE GARDEN
The PlayGarden’s nostalgic welcoming entry is a replica of a mid-century kitchen, since that’s where the door to the backyard was always located, as Mom shooed the kids outside to go play. And play they will, with popular features returning, such as dirt to dig in, chickens and bunnies to pet, planting seeds to take home and making the popular grass panty-hose heads. This is a garden show display that screams “Look – AND TOUCH!”
There will be Max’s Mud Pie Kitchen – a new 100% certified organic mud for children to ooze between their fingers. (Even better – we are offering Max’s Mud for sale, with the proceeds going to the Seattle Children’s PlayGarden.)
The “sandbox” will be filled with bird seed, and children can play with the dump trucks and bird houses.
The craft table will be set up to create “bird nesting balls” – using common household items such a string, twine, dog hair (my very furry Australian Shepherd is contributing clean hair) and dryer lint to make a ball that can hang in a tree. Birds pluck the delicate fuzz to use in making their nests in the spring.
BURN OFF SOME ENERGY!
For energetic kids we’ll have the ubiquitous ping-pong table in the screened ‘carport’ and hula hoops – remember those? (Come on parents – let’s see if you can hula hoop like you did when you were young.) They can also create a “light bright wall” making décor from colored plastic bottles stuffed in a chain-link fence. Or simply push old-fashioned lawn mowers on the open lawn.
The “woods” will have lots of things you find in a real woodland setting, like pinecones and moss, that can be ‘collected’ and moved around in small wheelbarrows.
The University Book Store will have a table just outside the PlayGarden with the most popular books on nature and gardening at the Seattle Children’s PlayGarden, as well as our musicians’ best-selling CD’s. Look for Caspar Babypants newest CD, “SING ALONG!” just released in August, as well as Nancy Stewart’s popular titles, like “Bee Boppin’ Bugs.”
GREAT GIFT FOR A GREAT CAUSE
Another great gift that will support a the Seattle Children’s PlayGarden is our exclusive, limited edition “Counting Sheep” Eco-Wise Wool® baby blanket. The regular price of this item is $74, but now you can purchase this blanket at the show for only $64. Read the Pendleton blog to learn more about the Pendelton Eco-Wise Wool® and the sustainable practices they use to create this whisper-soft baby blanket.
Sooner or later parents will want to see the 26 incredible show gardens. So pick up a Treasure Hunt form for the children that will engage them in the gardens. Every garden will have a bird house – each decorated in a unique style by our garden creators – and when children find the ‘hidden’ bird house they can list them on the Treasure Hunt form. Find all the bird houses and win a prize! Parents can help children look for the bird houses and enjoy the spectacular show gardens as they do.
BEST OF ALL, IT’S FREE!
The PlayGarden at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, like all our show features, is free with admission. And parents will love that children age 12 and under are FREE and no ticket is required. Youth tickets (age 13 – 17) are only $5, and Early Bird tickets are now on sale on our website or at ticket outlets for only $16. That’s a lot of family entertainment for a low price. Stroller parking is available just outside the PlayGarden, and a Café with kid-friendly fare is right next door with plenty of picnic tables for the family. ~ Janet
The Northwest Flower & Garden Show’s musical theme, “A Floral Symphony,” will be showcased throughout the show, in the display gardens, and a musical stage in the South Lobby. Even the youngest budding gardeners can enjoy musical tunes just right for them, as we present an outstanding lineup of children’s entertainers that are sure to get the little ones hopping and laughing to their silly songs. Musicians will appear on the PlayGarden Sprout Stage every day of the show, at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm. They have selected tunes just right for the “Rockin’ Robin” PlayGarden theme and will spark children’s imaginations about the outdoor world around them.
The garden show is great family entertainment! Children under the age of 12 are FREE when accompanied by an adult, and the PlayGarden area is free and open to all.
Caspar Babypants – Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Chris Ballew
Caspar Babypants is better known as Chris Ballew. Chris is the twice Grammy-nominated songwriter and lead singer for the four times platinum rock and roll band The Presidents of the United States of America. As his alter ego, Caspar Babypants, he makes high quality, thoughtful, simple, acoustic sing along songs for parents and kids of all ages to enjoy together. Caspar began writing songs for kids in 2008 and put out his debut record “HERE I AM!” in February of 2009. The second album “MORE PLEASE!” came out on November 17th 2009, the third album “THIS IS FUN!” came out on November 2nd 2010 and the fourth album “SING ALONG!” is out August 16th 2011. Caspar says: “Having young children is a joyous and unforgettable experience. However, the home of new parents can also be a stressful sleepless nervous environment. So I make music that’s a positive helping component in the home and car. I want to help new parents sing to and with their child and provide real organic musical relief. I specifically want to make music for the very young because I admire their associative inventive imaginations and as an adult I nurture that same creativity in myself. I am also involved with many non profits that focus on parent education and outreach to abused, homeless and neglected kids.”
Sing Along & Grow a Song!
Chris Ballew is Caspar Babypants
All Show Days
Wed, Feb 8 – Sun, Feb 12 at 10:30 am
Parents, you will wish you were 5 years old again when you discover the magical music of Caspar Babypants! Children will laugh, dance and sing along to the silly and simple lyrics about nature, and plants, and being kind to the Earth. CD’s available in the PlayGarden. These are tunes you will want to take home because your kids will be saying “More Please!”
Nancy Stewart – Award-winning musician & children’s singer-songwriter
Nancy Stewart is a national award-winning musician who has been writing and performing for young children and their families for twenty years. This followed a successful fifteen year-long career as lead guitarist and vocalist with a nationally known show band. Featuring original and traditional songs, Nancy’s nine CD’s for children can be heard in schools, homes, and libraries across the country. Her music workshops for teachers, parents, and librarians have been highly praised for their relevant, useful, and easy to use songs and ideas. Nancy has also shared the stage with Burl Ives, Shirley Jones, Bill Cosby, and Lily Tomlin at concerts and nightclubs across the United States and Canada. As lead guitarist and vocalist she performed with Randy Sparks and the Back Porch Majority beginning in 1971, and recorded several albums in Nashville and Los Angeles, the Disney movie theme “The Apple Dumpling Gang”, and numerous radio and TV commercials.
Plant a Little Seed
Singable Songs for the Kid in Everyone
All Show Days
Wed, Feb 8 – Sun, Feb 12 at 2:30 pm
Play and laugh and dance and sing-along to the wonderful and memorable melodies of Nancy Stewart. Young children and the young-at-heart all love Nancy’s delightful songs and simple lyrics. Don’t miss these performances in the PlayGarden – they are the perfect way to get your children involved in nature and gardening, with plenty of hands-on activities too. Nancy’s CD’s will be available, as these are songs you’ll want to sing again!
Your Imaginary Friend – Musicians & composers Jana Vitols & Greg Ruby
Jana Vitols’ days as an early childhood music teacher brings together babies and banjos, kids and kitchen instruments. For a dozen years Seattle’s youngest have been singing, dancing and learning the fundamentals of music in Jana’s Music for Everyone classes. As a performer and teacher, Jana plays banjo, ukulele, guitar and banjo-uke. Greg Ruby brings his compositional ear and guitar skills to the stage. Greg plays strings and keys, writes and records for listeners of all ages. He leads an all girls’ middle school rock-n-roll class and is has recently released an album of original music, Look Both Ways, tipping his hat to the great guitarist Django Reinhardt.
Your Imaginary Friend
Flummy Wisters Yodel Their Yisters
Fri, Feb 10, Sat, Feb 11 & Sun, Feb 12 at 12:30 pm
Let your kids jump up and join in dancing and singing like the birds! The band, Your Imaginary Friend will delight the kiddos with imaginative musical scores and sing & dance-a-longs.
Creepin’ Critters with Lisa Taylor & Seattle Tilth Children’s Garden
Lisa Taylor, author of Your Farm in the City: An Urban Dweller’s Guide to Growing Food and Raising Animals, lives in Shoreline, Washington with her partner, son and 4 chickens on their city farm. She is Education Program Manager for Seattle Tilth and spends most days growing and eating plants with children. She is passionate about teaching children and their parents where their food comes from and how to care for living things. For Lisa, eating is the main reason for growing plants. Organic, local food never tasted better.
Don’t Squish That Bug!
Exploring the Incredible Insect World
Wed, Feb 8 at 12:30 pm
The Critters explore the insect world. Learn about the bugs and spiders in your garden through song, stories and friendly, giant puppets. Meet an isopod!
Wiggle, Squiggle, Giggle!
An Awesome Adventure in Slime
Thurs, Feb 9 at 12:30 pm
Join the Critters for an awesome adventure of the slimy kind. Learn all about the slimy slugs and wiggly worms that live in your garden through stories, songs and huge garden puppets. Charm a snail from its shell!
University Book Store will also be operating a book table that will carry our musicians’ CD’s as well as a wonderful array of book titles just right for the littlest show attendees. These are the most popular books on gardening and nature, recommended by the good people at the Seattle Children’s PlayGarden. ~ Janet