What do piggy banks, big bad wolves, two-story tall stilletos and a couple of nervous garden writers have in common? All could be found at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle last weekend.
Despite the popularity of the show, second in size only to Philadelphia’s, this was my first year to attend. With the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show in my own backyard, I’ve never mustered up the time and energy to hop a plane, but I’m so happy I did! Here’s a recap of what I saw:
Paradise (to be) Regained
These are always my favorite part of any show, and the theme of Once Upon a Time was interpreted both literally and figuratively. Seventeen-year-old Courtney Goetz was undoubtedly the darling of the show with her Paradise (to be) Regained garden. She brilliantly tackled the idea of re-interpreting clutter, and created a garden built from recycled materials that featured low water plants, a charming contrast to the masses of tulips and daffodils or black/chartreuse foliage combos that dominated many of the other gardens. The thoughtfulness of her approach is reflected in this quote from the description of her garden: "So when Father Industry comes to battle with Mother Nature, who wins?"
Run, Little Pig, Run!
Less of a statement, and more just plain fun was “Run, Little Pig, Run” a witty take on the Three Little Pigs. I loved the attention to detail, including a landscape for each pig’s home that seemed to match their personalities (because even in fairy tale gardens, a sense of place is important). While the foolish pig who built his home from straw planted his garden with simple bulbs and shrubs, there’s no mistaking the prosperity of the third pig’s classic brick home, with its money-making water wheel, wrought iron railings and formally laid-out plants.
In contrast, the downscale Big Bad Wolf’s abode sported drying laundry, lazily abandoned gear and a decidedly untidy bedroom for those who took the time to bend to and look inside his tree trunk home.
Wish 'Shoe' Were Here
Photo by Rebecca Sweet
As a long-time APLD member, I was thrilled to see the Washington Chapter represented at the show. Wish 'Shoe' Were Here, took some liberties with the original fairy tale (at least, I’m pretty sure the old woman and her brood weren’t residing in a stiletto) and gave their garden a more contemporary spin. The Sex and the City girls would have been proud.
The Devil's in the Details
Hidden details were woven into many of the gardens, like Big Foot hiding in Stepping through a Timeless Tranquil Forest. To make the show more fun for the under-ten crowd, each display garden hid a pig somewhere in the landscape, turning the show floor into a treasure hunt for kids. OK, I confess – I enjoyed hunting for the pigs, too.
The show had an expansive container garden display – some were sleek and minimalist,
Garden Up! Debuts
Most exciting for me was that the show marked the debut of our book, Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces. Hot off the presses, Rebecca and I saw our book for the first time when we arrived at the hotel. We were so excited to see the package waiting for us when we checked in (read: acting like a bunch of pre-teens at a Justin Beiber concert) that the front desk actually sent a bottle of champagne up to the room to help us celebrate.
I’m happy to report that our presentations were well attended with many positive comments from the audience members who took time to have their books signed and chat with us afterwards. We were a little nervous to hear that our publisher convinced the show’s bookseller into tripling their original book order, but by Saturday afternoon we had sold out! The book hasn’t made its way through traditional distribution yet, but should be available by March 14.
Hope to see you all back here then when we launch our Cyber Book Party!