The Northwest Flower and Garden Show just finished its second year under new ownership by O'Loughlin Trade Shows. With sixty years in the trade show industry and twenty-five years based in Tacoma, they slipped in seamlessly. Maintaining the familiar friendly faces of Linda Knudsen, Cyle Eldred and Janet Endsley certainly didn't hurt! I was impressed this year by the fabulous marketing that went into the show. I followed Janet on Twitter (@nwfgs) and on Facebook and felt consistently informed on updates and schedule changes throughout the planning and building of the show. Five stars on PR this year!!
The gardens had something new going on with them. I've described it as approachable, simple, refined. They seemed to have lost the pretentiousness that has often plagued the garden show. Perhaps it was the theme, "Once upon a time..." but I felt welcomed in to many of the gardens. As though each was a friends backyard or a project that I helped create (well I did help with one a little...)
I definitely did notice the lack of patio tables and chairs with staged wine bottles and glasses half full. A few years ago so many gardens had these that I wondered what they were trying to sell, furniture or landscaping???
All of the gardens were created thoughtfully with respect for the materials and the planet. Every garden used reused materials or natural building elements. In a boost from previous years I enjoyed seeing these incorporated more into an actual part of the gardens not only as focal points and eye candy, but integrated in more functional and creative ways.
Kate Frey gave a no-nonsense talk on "Gardens that Give--Creating Sustainable Gardens that Sit Lightly on the Planet." She went right down the list from the gallons of fuel consumed by lawns in the US to the very few plants that bees can actually feed from in the typical landscape. She inspired me to further my commitment to habitat space in the garden and the importance of permeable surfaces, both of which I incorporate whenever possible. However, it's great to be encouraged!
The list of things goes on but so does the time! I enjoyed the show and thank the producers and volunteers as well as the garden creators!
Next years theme was just announced: "A Floral Symphony--Gardens Take Note."
I'm not entirely sure where they will go with that, but it's nice to have a heads up. And they say they will provide details soon! http://www.gardenshow.com/