Guest post: Top 10 highlights from the 2008 Northwest Flower and Garden Show

As you know, I was too pregnant to make it to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle last week. Thankfully, my friends Caitlin and Owen (aka “O”), the brilliant minds behind garden design group Aloe Designs, made the trip and took notes. This is Caitlin’s report back from the show. Thanks Cait! (P.S.: Caitlin has just launched a new blog called Nesting, about “all things home and garden.” Check it out!)

Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2008
by Caitlin Black

With all this yucky rain, we have really been itching for spring and some garden inspiration. So O and I headed down south to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle. We took a break from it last year, so we were pretty excited to see what was in store for ’08. Lots of great goodies. We managed to complete it in a day and were definitely inspired by some great ideas. Some of the highlights:

1.0 Going Native

weekend escape.jpgIt seemed a few years back the overall theme was bulb mania. This year it was replaced by lots of exhibits featuring indigenous plantings and mild mulches, which as we all know require little maintenance and are drought tolerant – an easy recipe for any urban gardener. One we loved: A Weekend Adventure – by New Leaf Creations (above).

2.0 Eat Your Greens

potager patio.jpgThanks to the Northwest Horticulture Society, we were so thrilled to see that a large amount of the show was dedicated to kitchen gardens. From small container arrangements to large potagers this was definitely my favorite part of the show (above and below).

urban_garden_2.jpgI was just as ecstatic when I saw the live chicken coop at the Seattle Urban Farm Co. display. This was way too cool for its own good, with a vegetable garden-lined brick pathway, edible green roof, mini orchard, farm kitchen and the beloved livestock. Way to go guys!

3.0 Contemporary Arrangements

pots_2.jpgWe always seem to gravitate to the modern, but there were so many great
container arrangements this year. Check out these sleek planters (above
and below).

pots_1.jpg4.0 Think Green

Sunset sponsors this event, so I felt like a kid in a candy shop trying to make sure we made enough time to hear some of the speaker series. The most memorable talk was by one of their editors, Lauren Bonar Swzey, who spoke on the design savvy sustainable gardens she has visited over the years. Can we say “job envy”?

5.0 Designer Spotting… And a Little Bit of a Crush

jamie durie.jpgTo say that I didn’t go bright red and a bit sweaty when I got to meet one of my favourite international designers, Jamie Durie, would be completely lying. He was just as gorgeous and lovely in person. I talked with him for a bit about his books and even scored an autograph. O was thoroughly embarrassed for me.

6.0 Monrovia Plants

Monrovia is, in my opinion, one of the best plant suppliers out there. If my long-desired job at Sunset doesn’t pan out, I think these guys would be my second choice. It was great to see some of the new species they have developed. Two that intrigued us were Baby Bliss Flax Lily and Wate’s Golden Pine. Now if only our nurseries carried more of their stock.

7.0 Farmers Rock

We talked with some great suppliers in the Marketplace but our favorite couple were from Half Moon Bay, CA. Farmer John Muller and his wife Eda run Farmer John’s Pumpkins and distribute Franchi old world heirloom seeds from Italy. We bought up some gems and successfully managed to smuggle them back home – yippee!

8.0 Classic Designs

boots 1.jpgI have been on a serious search for some girlie-as-girlie-can-be rain boots. I finally found them at the Smith and Hawkins booth. As much as I am ready to see the rain disappear, maybe a few more days wouldn’t hurt so I can sport these cuties.

9.0 Eco Friendly Products

Two interesting products caught our eye. One is a non-toxic organic pesticide spray that has packaging reminiscent of Method. It’s called Pharm Solutions and is made locally in Washington State.

The other was a five gallon compost tea brewer made from a company called Keep It Simple.

10.0 A Resting Place

After being on our feet all day we were ready for a seat and a tall one. We found the perfect answer in Ballard at Kings Hardware – a local watering hole that served cold local brews and mini little burgers. A nice end to a great day.



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