Three NWFGS virgins deflowered at the Flower Show

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We’re here! The Seattle Freeway Park Convention Center!

 

Love its Brutalist entrance hall!

Love its Brutalist entrance hall!

Neither Laura, Gina or I had ever visited the largest Flower and Garden Show in the Pacific Northwest before, so this year, the three of us, and William who is a show veteran, drove up to Seattle for the day, to check out what all the hype is about. I can’t imagine going anywhere with a more fun and exuberant bunch of crackpots – I haven’t laughed that much in a long time! The irreverent comedy troupe I was with, more than made up for the fact that my elevated expectations of the Show were deflated within the first hour there.

Being that it fell on Valentines Weekend, the theme of the show this year was Love & Romance. There was an impressive succulent heart in the entrance hall.

Being that it fell on Valentines Weekend, the theme of the show this year was Love & Romance. There was an impressive succulent heart in the entrance hall.

Here is a close-up.

Here is a close-up.

We headed straight for the Display Gardens. While I liked bits and pieces of them, most of them left me rather dissatisfied. Maybe I’m just jaded? Or, could it be that my anticipation was too inflated? I don’t know, but the wow-factor just wasn’t there for me… The one exception, from my point of view, was the large Harvest moon, glowing over one of the displays. It served as a great backdrop when seen from several other gardens as well. Here is as good of a place as any to apologize for my rather crappy photos of this event. Not knowing any better, I had my flash turned on until Laura (who is a great photographer) noticed, and taught me not to. By then, most of the day was already behind us. Oh well…

Here is the moon seen through another one of the displays.

Here is the moon seen through a Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) in another one of the displays.

While it looked inviting, the reality of this design looked like a major pain in the butt considering that you'd have to keep leaves and debris out of the pool - especially during autumn.

While it looked inviting, the reality of this design looked like a major pain in the butt considering that you’d have to keep leaves and debris out of the pool – especially during autumn. A concept car of sorts – great looking, but not realistically functional.

Same with this one. While I loved the undulating, layered contrast of rock, lit up wine bottles, and moss - can you imagine what this would look like after a couple of days of PNW downpours? I know I wouldn't want to clean it up!

Same with this one. While I loved the undulating, layered contrast of rock, lit up wine bottles, moss and succulents – can you imagine what this would look like after a couple of days of PNW downpours? I know I wouldn’t want to clean it up!

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The theme of this year's show was Love & Romance. A lot of the displays featured some sort of gazebo, or romantic meeting place. And, as you can imagine - red and pink was everywhere! No surprise there...

The theme of this year’s show was Love & Romance. A lot of the displays featured some sort of gazebo, or romantic meeting place. And, as you can imagine – red and pink was everywhere! No surprise there…

One garden had this massive log dominating the scene, and an otherwise PNW-Asian feel throughout.

One garden had this massive log dominating the scene, and an otherwise PNW-Asian feel throughout.

I loved how their water feature flowed through an old piece of weathered wood.

I loved how their water feature flowed through an old piece of weathered wood.

This one was striking because of a sea of red tulips.

This one was striking because of a sea of red tulips, and well placed lighting.

It was the little vignettes that I appreciated the most - like this one, surrounding a stump covered in fungi.

It was the little vignettes that I appreciated the most – like this one, surrounding a stump covered in fungi.

This one piqued my interest, but I was let down by the symmetrical placement of a couple of Phalaenopsis orchids at the end of the path.

This one piqued my interest, but I was let down by the symmetrical placement of two Phalaenopsis orchids, like two sentinels at the end of the draw bridge. It just seemed goofy.

This one was one massive wildlife resort with lots of fun details.

This one was one massive wildlife resort with lots of fun details.

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You can get away with a lot of things in a weekend display you could not in a real life design. While the contrasting Acanthus leaves look great tucked in among all the bulbs, they would soon dwarf the surrounding several feet of flowers with its leaves.

I thought these horizontally planted drain tiles were fun!

I thought these horizontally planted drain tiles were fun!

I liked this a lot. Overall, there were lots of white flower combinations that I found lovely, but because of my camera-flash ignorance, most of the photos I took were too washed out to make any sense. Oh well...live and learn.

I liked this a lot – white hyacinths, succulents growing through gabions, and juxtaposed with rock filled ones.. Overall, there were lots of white flower combinations that I found lovely, but because of my camera-flash ignorance, most of the photos I took were too washed out to make any sense. Oh well…live and learn.

After we saw the display gardens we were hungry, and decided to take lunch…. but where??? Luckily, we ran into Loree who is an old Seattleite, and she recommended Palomino, where she was going to meet Peter and Alison. We’re grateful for that recommendation – both food and drink totally hit the spot!

Palomino is on the third floor of one of the downtown buildings, only a couple of blocks from the Convention Center.

Palomino is on the third floor of one of the downtown buildings, only a couple of blocks from the Convention Center.

My merry gang of goofballs; from left, William, Gina, and Laura.

My merry gang of goofballs; from left, William, Gina, and Laura.

After lunch, we spent considerable time looking at orchids. There was a huge variety, and seeing it all made me want to learn more about them. They are such interesting plants… I’m still shooting pictures with a flash, so I will only post a few, as most of them are washed out.

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The flowers of this one were tiny - only about 3/16" .

The flowers of this one were tiny – only about 3/16″ .

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In the Skywalk, there were several really nice little display areas, where they showed these fabulous oxidized lanterns.

 There was an orchid display garden too, featuring lots of marvelous stuff, but most shots from there were pretty sad looking as you can see. Still, I'm posting this one. I thought those long, yellow tassels were fantastic!


There was an orchid display garden too, featuring lots of marvelous stuff, but most shots from there were pretty sad looking as you can see. Still, I’m posting this one. I thought those long, yellow tassels were fantastic!

As the afternoon light started to slant, we made it into the Skywalk.

As the afternoon light started to slant, we made it into the Skywalk. This housed some smaller garden booth displays that were wonderful.

We ran into Debbie Teashon. I love this photo of her and William!

We ran into Debbie Teashon. I love this photo of her and William!

Here is the whole gang, with the addition of an innocent passerby that William roped into joining us. :)

Here is the whole gang, with the addition of an innocent passerby that William roped into joining us. 🙂

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Great combo!

Great combo!

Beautiful wooden planter.

Beautiful wooden planter.

For some reason, the NZ Flax and the Jasmine combo really hit home for me - it was wonderful! The photo does not convey the truth at all. :(

For some reason, the NZ Flax and the Jasmine combo really hit home for me – it was wonderful! The photo does not convey the truth at all. 😦

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That Carex 'Frosted Curls' was used a lot - such a cool grass!

That Carex ‘Frosted Curls’ was used a lot – such a cool grass! The Aeoniums are magnificent.

Lovely mix of sun- and shade-living plants. Good thing it's only for the weekend! ;)

Lovely mix of sun- and shade-loving plants. Good thing it’s only for the weekend! 😉

Ceramic fish complete with stakes to turn your flower beds into marine landscapes.

Metal or ceramic fish complete with stakes to turn your flower beds into marine landscapes.

Dragonflies, made from bike chain.

Dragonflies, made from bike chain.

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Fun little monsters everywhere!

Fun little monsters everywhere!

Here's a Flamingo-eating one!

Here’s a Flamingo-eating one!

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Giant Venus flytraps, or perhaps the Day of the Triffids!Monsters carrying off a gnome.

Monsters carrying off a gnome.

Lots of glass art...

Lots of glass art…

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Marine life was popular...

Marine life was popular…

....in many forms.

….in many forms.

Love Dig's Octopus planter. I saw it in orange at the fling, but I like the blue one too!

Love Dig’s Octopus planter. I saw it in orange in JJ DeSousa’s garden at the Fling, and I like the blue one too!

Always a sense of humor - it was Valentine's Weekend, after all...

Always a sense of humor – it was Valentine’s Weekend, after all…

One of my favorite displays were the one from Butchart Gardens in Victoria. They were not selling anything – strictly display – but good heavens, the combinations they put together! Beautiful! My photos – again – don’t do them justice, but I will post a couple anyway.

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After all this, we were starting to feel googly-eyed, and felt we needed to take a break. We'd been there since it opened, and seen pretty much everything we wanted to see.

After all this, we were starting to feel googly-eyed, and felt we needed to take a break. We’d been there since it opened, and seen pretty much everything we wanted to see.

We choose Gordon Bierch!

We choose Gordon Biersch!

This COULD have looked like a  Valentine's date gone bad, to an outsider...

This COULD have looked like a Valentine’s date gone bad, to an outsider…

... but in reality, it was more like this...

… but in reality, it was more like this…

... and this.

… and this.

This was an awfully long post! But then again, how else would I have fit such an awfully long day into it? I could not have wished for better travel companions – we had so much fun. Aside from the fact that we all agreed the show gardens were a bit of a let down, there was so much else to see that that part almost didn’t matter. There was an impressive line-up of speakers too, but in the one day we were there, we didn’t have time. Would I go back again? You bet – especially if these guys come along. Wouldn’t miss it! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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22 Responses to Three NWFGS virgins deflowered at the Flower Show

  1. Alison says:

    You’re not jaded, just a very perceptive first-time show-goer. The display gardens are almost always a let-down. They’re hard to photograph, and because of the lighting, sometimes actually hard to see (and the crowds are annoying, not just because they get in the way of photos, but sometimes people are just so rude). I usually focus on vignettes too. I’m so glad you guys had fun! I hope you come again next year! Will you be at the YGP show? I’m planning to come down to Portland for that.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh good! Glad we weren’t the only ones feeling that way… Yes, I hope to be at the YGP show. I will probably be there on Friday. Hopefully we can meet up! 🙂

  2. mattb325 says:

    To my mind, the indoor garden displays are always so difficult to get really excited about. Too crowded and difficult to make shine under very artificial circumstances, but it still looks like you had a great day!

    • annamadeit says:

      We most definitely did, Matt! All the little things more than made up for the rather pedestrian displays. We were talking about how in fashion shows, the ideas are so whacko that they are exciting – no matter how unrealistic it would be to actually wear those outfits down the street. Then, gradually, the concept is worked down to something that is wearable for the average person. We found ourselves wishing how garden shows would do the same – as in really trigger a “wow – that’s crazy!” kind of response. Instead, it’s always WYSIWYG – on repeat.

  3. rickii says:

    After a while, all of these shows begin to look alike. Still, I feel like if I take away one intriguing idea, it’s worth the effort. I’m satisfied with just hitting the YG&P Show.

    • annamadeit says:

      I think I’ll be fine with that too from now on. After seeing the Seattle show, the one thing that went on my wish list is to visit the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada some time. Stunning displays and super nice people. 🙂

  4. Kris P says:

    I’m sorry to hear that the NWFGS display gardens were a let-down – that’s been true of the display gardens at the “local” spring garden show here in SoCal for years but I’d hoped for more from the PNW. I’ll get there one day anyway. I especially enjoyed your photos of the glass and metal garden art. (Don’t ruin the illusion and tell me what the stuff cost.) Thanks for sharing your tour!

    • annamadeit says:

      Yeah, the vendors really carried the show, I thought. There was lots of cool stuff. As for what things cost… hmm… for the most part, probably less than a welder. 🙂

  5. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Some years have more wow factor than others but it’s always fun to see what designers can put together in a short time. The speakers were great (I only saw a couple this year but will remedy that next year.) I love all of the great vendors at the show and sometimes I get as many ideas from them than from the show gardens. It was great to see you! Connecting with friends one doesn’t often see is probably my favorite part of the show! I have a favor to ask. May I use your 13th picture of the garden with two orchids/floating walkway over the water in a post? I’ll give you credit of course & link to your post.

    • annamadeit says:

      It was great to see you too! We were hoping to fit a speaker in there, but failed miserably. Too many distractions… Of course you may use my photo. I’m just sorry it isn’t of a higher quality than it is. That is my biggest take-away from that day – TURN OFF THE FLASH!!! 🙂

      • Peter/Outlaw says:

        Sometimes it’s very difficult to get a picture of the gardens in the lower theatrical light without a tripod. Try setting that up in the middle of the crowd! Crazy. This is where a bounce flash (goes up to to the ceiling and bounces down illuminating the whole scene, not just the foreground) might be handy. I had one back in the film days and played with it quite a bit. Thanks for your permission to use your photo! Is your gang of crazies going to the Portland Y& G show? Maybe we could get together for lunch & nursery hopping after that one and/or Hortlandia.

        • annamadeit says:

          A bounce flash, huh…? Wow – I have so much to learn… I can’t answer for everyone else, but I hope to go to YGP on the Friday. Would love to meet up! 🙂

  6. A great post on a fun day! So much garden eye candy. And Anna, garden show lighting is horrid–flash or no flash. I agree with you about the vendors being the star of the show. Next time we go, I’m bringing a wagon to carry around all of my plant acquisitions.

  7. Loree says:

    Great overview post of the show. It really is all about the people, I almost lost my voice after so much talking. My only regret is that I wasn’t more aware of the time and didn’t insist you guys meet up with us at Palomino, we could have had a blast! (And probably got kicked out…)

    • annamadeit says:

      No worries – we’ll figure it out next time. And thanks again for recommending Palomino – that was great! We tried our best to get kicked out, but our server was both patient and gracious.

  8. Elvis says:

    “A” for Anna – you got it right your very first time: the display gardens are exactly that – display! It’s no use expecting them to be practical, achievable or the least bit realistic. It’s a show! And best phrase yet to define that habitat area of the garden: “one massive wildlife resort” – I laughed out loud! So glad you had a fun day with good friends. Was that Saturday?

  9. Nell Jean says:

    Thank you for a grand display. I vicariously enjoy the Garden Show from 3000 miles away with the help of bloggers’ eyes and cameras. Every different photo helps me with perspective on the show and clarifies so well what I am ‘seeing’ from afar. Glad you had a good time. I loved your commentary.

  10. Pingback: A Sudden Softness: Flower Shows | A Moveable Garden

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