Top 10 Highlights from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2009

There’s always so much to take in at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, and this year’s – possibly the last ever – was no exception. But where to focus your energy? Here’s what stood out for me.

viburnum new dawn

1. Japanese fusion. There’s something so very Pacific Northwest about modern minimalism-meets-Japanese tradition. One could almost say it’s a cliche. But it’s not to the point of being overdone, so let’s refrain from dismissing it just yet. And personally, I love this look. Click, the display garden by Shapiro Ryan Design is a gorgeous example of this garden style done right. Not only are the physical structures of this garden beautifully constructed but the colour echoes in the plantings are stunning yet subtle. In the top photo, Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ stands out against a backdrop of Anemanthele lessoniana (New Zealand wind grass).


Love the cedar boardwalk. So Pacific Northwest!

Rebecca Cole garden

2. NYC rooftop lust. Rebecca Cole’s Sky’s the Limit gave me serious garden envy (I wasn’t the only one lusting, apparently; this garden won Best in Show.) I love the innovative seating – both the structure, created of wireframe-enclosed logs – and the bold modern fabric of the cushions. She’s also created “area rugs” of hardy succulents – under the coffee table, for example. What a great concept. They’re permeable water-holding areas, slowing down rain water runoff and looking great in the process.

Rebecca Cole green wall

Sky’s the Limit makes a big impact with a limited colour palette. Love the Mondrian-esque greenwall.

modern shed

3. Fab Prefab. Modern Shed has been making waves in the design community for its minimalist prefabricated sheds. Their Studio Shed was featured in this display garden by Serene Scapes Seattle.

Smith and Hawken booth

4. 200 square feet of cool, clean modernism. The unofficial award for best sales booth goes to Smith & Hawken. Green wall panels (modified from the ones they sell, perhaps?) framed the area, while succulents and orchids spilled from oversized containers. The flooring was an attractive – if a bit unstable – mix of wooden decking and faux sod.

rainwater harvesting

5. Fresh water. This waterfall (by Mark the Pond Guy) is fed by rainwater harvested from the metal roof and stored in a cistern under the patio. Neat.

Poly pots

6. More succulents than you could shake a stick at. Poly Pots had a lovely display of cool-toned pots, along with a fantastic selection of rare succulents and other plant oddities. I only wished I could bring a few back over the border.

glass mushrooms

7. Doing shrooms. Fungi is hot this year. Fungi Perfecti was there, of course, but mushrooms were also popping up as garden art. Could we be seeing some cross-pollination from the popularity of the woodland theme in fashion and interior decor?


8. Citrus reign. Splashes of citrus dominated many of the display gardens. Here’s lemon yellow in a display by Pots2Go in the container garden gallery.

sunglo greenhouse

9. Compact greenhouses. Okay, so it’s not the sexiest thing in the world, but it’s seed starting time and I’m liking the compact nature of this “space-saver greenhouse” by Sunglo. Still too big for my space, but we’re getting there.

Willi, Lila and I

10. Going live. Seattle local Willi Galloway from Diggin Food met up with me and my family at Vios, a hopping Greek deli in Capitol Hill. It was great to meet in person after so many virtual exchanges. And as other Seattle garden bloggers have suggested, next time (and I have a feeling there will be a 2010 show) we’ll have to set up a garden blogger’s meet up.

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