2013 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

On the Road to Oz
On the Road to Oz

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show, held in Seattle each February, is one of the world’s greatest garden shows. Here in the northwest it’s an event we look forward to each winter as the days begin to lengthen, buds swell, and the earliest flowers in our gardens begin to bloom.

The warm and dry environment of the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, all decked out with fabulous display gardens, welcomes gardeners from across the country to this annual extravaganza of garden theater. This year’s theme is “The Silver Screen Takes Root…Gardens Go Hollywood” and the garden designers did a good job interpreting this very broad and fun concept.

The first garden you encounter on the way into the show takes you on a journey to Oz, with Dorothy, the Tin Man, and a daffodil-filled golden brick road.


Living Amongst the Stars: The Garden Takes Center Stage
Living Amongst the Stars: The Garden Takes Center Stage

Outdoor living spaces are an important part of the garden for many people and this garden hints at the way movie stars might live in their gardens.

Audrey's Roman Holiday
Audrey’s Roman Holiday

One of my favorite gardens was Audrey’s Roman Holiday. I could imagine dining on a warm spring evening on this outdoor plaza.

A Hobbit's New Zealand Garden
A Hobbit’s New Zealand Garden: Middle-Earth meets the Arboretum’s New Eco-Geographic Forest

Do hobbits garden? If this garden by the Washington Park Arboretum in any indication, they’re absolutely fabulous gardeners, with an exotic plant palette that just happens to also be amenable to growing here in the greater Puget Sound region.

The Lost Gardener: A Journey from the Wild to the Cultivated
The Lost Gardener: A Journey from the Wild to the Cultivated

I don’t know that I’d want to be lost in this jungle, with the ghoulish head laying atop a small mound. But with the plant selection and modern plaza (out of frame to the right) I just might change my mind.

IP Man
IP Man

Amidst the chaos and crowds, symmetrical serenity.

Wine Garden by Marenakos
Wine Garden by Marenakos

Natalie and I both fell in love with these milled old-growth cedar slabs used as a fence. It’s an idea we want to incorporate into our own garden in the next year or so. We may not be able to find slabs this wide, but we’ll keep our eyes open for some used timbers.

Alien on Vacation: Xenomorph Meets Earth's Most Lethal Plant Colony
Alien on Vacation: Xenomorph Meets Earth’s Most Lethal Plant Colony

There’s no way I’d replicate this fanciful idea in my own garden, but I loved it anyway. It’s bold, a bit creepy, and full of bizarre plants.

A River Runs Through It
A River Runs Through It

This was a very small garden with a lot of impact. The water feature looks completely natural and you can almost imagine that black bear coming up the creek to snare the fish right out of the net. It was another of my favorite gardens.

Jardin Noir: Film Noir Style in a Modern Garden
Jardin Noir: Film Noir Style in a Modern Garden

The lighting in this garden was a little dark for my taste, but I really liked the nearly black wall with light-colored foliage, as well as the rusty corrugated roofing panels that formed the backdrop.

In a Garden Far, Far Away...An Edible Forest Sanctuary
In a Garden Far, Far Away…An Edible Forest Sanctuary

This was one of the few gardens this year that made extensive use of northwest native plants, although not exclusively so. The designer said the cedar trunks came from a forest salvage logging company and were a challenge to get into the garden.

Here’s a video slideshow that includes all the display gardens and more images of each of the ones I highlighted above. I hope you enjoy it and that you’ll be motivated to get to the show in person. The flower show runs through Sunday, February 24.

For the technically inclined … all of these photos were made with a Canon G12 pocket camera, mostly at ISO 800 or 1600 because the lighting at the flower show is dim. They were post-processed in Adobe Lightroom. The slideshow was assembled with Animoto.

If you’d like some tips about photographing at this or one of the other garden shows, see my Northwest Flower & Garden Show post from last year.

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  1. Pingback: Hobbits at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show | The Mini Garden Guru