NWFGS - kitchen center peice garden Pacific Northwest

Ideas from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2012

Where else could I wander around in commercialism for a full day and still enjoy it?  Imagine!  Seattle’s garden & landscape management trade show is on a very short list.

I took the advice from an 8 time attendee and headed straight to the show gardens.  At 930 am there was a whole lot of folk trying to beat the crowds.  Fortunately, like-minded people turn out to be pretty good company.

It amazes me how much is achieved with only a couple of days of construction on a conference center floor.  Bobcats, cranes, probably even dump trucks helped bring the outside in….. full-scale.

NWFGS - roof waterfall
photo by SVSeekins

The massive, shiny whirligig certainly caught my eye. Instead of spinning clockwise, it seemed to rotate like a black hole – pulling the world into the center of a donut.

It was the full size porch roof with water falling straight into a lake beside it that got my imagination going.

NWFGS - metal waterfall
photo by SVSeekins

Metal water features continued to grab me all through the trade show.

Water flowing down a metal sheet certainly made an interesting focal point.  Further back, the metal woven through the fence is something I hadn’t seen before, but it appealed.

NWFGS - down-spouts
photo by SVSeekins

How about an artistic twist on the common down-spout?  I can imagine the time it must take to create sculptures like this.  What would I create for the Richmond House? C’s pretty artistic – – perhaps this could be a new career.

NWFGS - courtyard waterfalls
photo by SVSeekins

This same stall displayed waterfall sculptures for the courtyard.  Neither are to my personal taste, but I do enjoy seeing them & picturing whose garden they would look good in.  What do you think?

At another stall I was intrigued by the standing fountains.  Metal cups streaming down a  driftwood pedestal appealed to me so much more than that classic cement boy taking a leak, or the cement fish squirting water from its mouth.

NWFGS - driftwood fountain
photo by SVSeekins

It took a bit of looking closely before I realized the water circulated back up to the top of the sculpture via the little metal vine that held the cups in place.  A fountain view-able from any side – nice.

NWFGS - brass fountain
photo by SVSeekins

What does this twirling gizmo remind you of?  For me, it takes me back to that childhood movie Bed-nobs & Broomsticks.  Wasn’t there a couple wild engineering contraptions in that movie?

It’s not clear to me why garden seating is so appealing.  How often do you really see a gardener relaxing on a picturesque bench & contemplating the world?  Mostly we’re weeding, or dead-heading, or watering, or digging, or planting…. or weeding.  But rarely sitting.  Perhaps it’s just the idea of having a place to sit & relax that appeals.

NWFGS - driftwood chair
photo by SVSeekins
NWFGS - rocking bench
photo by SVSeekins

I admire the mind that could somehow see a chair in a wild piece of root.

I imagine rocking quietly on a bench while reading a book in the shade.  It’s doubtful that it would ever happen – the sun might be too bright on the pages, or the bugs would drive me crazy.   It would doubtless work out better in a grouping of seats, where friends could sit together, visit, & enjoy a cool drink or two.   Now that could happen.  In fact, methinks A & J have a rocking bench quite similar to this on their deck.    Hmmmm.

NWFGS - seating area
photo by SVSeekins

Now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure J & R have a grouping of Adirondack chairs in a grouping on their deck.  Perhaps that’s why these chairs made of recycled plastic appealed so much.   No doubt I’m having subliminal yearnings.

NWFGS - driftwood crevices
photo by SVSeekins

It’s probably because the time is near to start seedlings that I was also drawn to ideas for planting in little spaces.  A driftwood host for little sedums seems like a delightful idea to me.  I can imagine moving some of the clusters of Hens & Chicks into some rows on this log.  Perhaps some cyclamen coum… and later some huckleberry too, as huckleberry thrives in the company of a nurse log.

NWFGS - pipe planter
photo by SVSeekins

During some construction last year I rescued some terra-cotta drain pipe that was dug out of an area where the new foundations would go.  I’ve stacked the pipe safely away, but am still trying to figure out just where the perfect place for them might be – – and what might be the perfect plants to go in them.  It would probably be best to put in something that really likes or needs corralling.

One of the speakers did a chat about using screens to block unwanted views around the yard.  She described something new to me called a Compost Fence.  Her sample showed 2 big posts several feet apart. A sheet of chicken wire spanned the distance between the 2 posts.  A second sheet of wire was nailed parallel on the other side of the posts so there was a space of a couple of inches between the sheets of wire.  The theory being the pocket between the sheets of wire be filled with garden clippings – – creating a compost wall.   Once the clippings composted, plants could be inserted into the dirt wall.  It must look something like this palette planter.

NWFGS - palette planter
photo by SVSeekins

I’ve liked the idea of green roofs for a long time.  A year ago I was really taken with the idea of the green wall when I saw the sample at the library in Langley.  Since then there have been more & more ideas showcasing green walls.

NWFGS - wall planter
photo by SVSeekins
NWFGS - terrarium
photo by SVSeekins

In my teens I’d made a terrarium in a huge glass jar laid on its side, a bit like a ship in a bottle. It seemed very trendy at the time.  There were a few samples of terrariums around the show, so maybe the fashion is coming back in style.

NWFGS - glass ball planter
photo by SVSeekins

In the end I just had to buy a set of three dangling terrariums to hang in a window.

Although a generous variety of plants were also available, I didn’t purchase any, figuring it wouldn’t be worth the anxiety on the way home to be hassled at the border.NWFGS - tea party

I enjoyed this scene.  It appears caught between 2 worlds.   I’m not sure if I’m more interested in creating one of these sculptures outside…

NWFGS - kitchen center peice
photo by SVSeekins

… or more drawn to bringing the outside in, with this funky table center !?!

NWFG - moss purse
photo by SVSeekins
NWFGS - moss purse filled
photo by SVSeekins

In the past I enjoyed heading out to the malls to shop & collect stuff.  Eventually my growing collection of purses struck me as funny.  How many did I need to carry around one wallet?

These days Purse Planters are more my style.  I can imagine filling each with all sorts of garden gems, maybe as an Easter basket?

NWFGS - jean bird house
photo by SVSeekins
NWFGS - bird feeder
photo by SVSeekins

There was even more whimsy, like this bird house fashioned from blue jeans.  Would a bird really live here?  Or would the faeries featured in the moss purses move in?

For that matter, would the faeries use one of these miniature bird feeders as a bathtub?

Even some of the lighted obelisks made me think of a faerie village.  What’s next? Garden gnomes?  Yup.  They were around, but on principle I refused to photograph them.

NWFGS - garden lights
photo by SVSeekins
NWFGS - cold frame
photo by SVSeekins

Eventually I ran across real garden tools, like this beautifully designed cold frame.  It reminded me of all the work that still needs doing this winter.

Are you tired yet?  I sure was.

What had kept me going this far was a brilliant solution.  Whenever I’d felt overwhelmed I went to a speaker’s presentation.  I attended Murder, Mayhem, and Must NotsSmall Space Fruit & BerriesScreening for Privacy… and Indestructible Plants presentations.  There were so many others that were sure to be interesting, but there just wasn’t time.  Given a little time, show organizers will post the 2012 handouts.  Happily many of the 2011 speaker handouts are still online.

NWFGS - goodbye Seattle
photo by SVSeekins

This is truly only a smattering of what I found at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. It was enough to exhaust me.  Satisfied, I left in search of a nice glass of wine & a soft bed.

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© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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6 thoughts on “Ideas from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2012”

    1. It was great fun. I met some people from Kelowna who were out there with a bus tour specifically to go to the garden show for 3 days! Now that’s stamina 🙂

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