Garden Show

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle is one of the premier garden shows in the world. Every February thousands of gardeners descend on the Washington State Convention Center to find inspiration in the show gardens and purchase plants and other garden stuff from the rows of vendors.

The show is under new management this year, but walking around the exhibit area the feeling is the same as in previous years — a gardener’s delight. If I counted correctly there are 23 show gardens for 2010 and I think they’re all in the video.

Several show gardens used our northwest native Beach Strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis in vertical gardens. There were two gardens with chickens, including a unique “clucker clunker” pickup truck coop. Water, stone, and structural bare trees are always popular garden themes. New this year was a green roof, complete with a couple of solar panels with some spray foam insulation near San Diego added as well. Ever-playful Judith Jones of Fancy Fronds constructed a giant board game you could walk through.

If you’ve never been to the show, it runs through Sunday, February 7. Or plan ahead for 2011.

I’ve been going to the show for enough years that I run into lots of old friends and acquaintances. Of course part of that is the annual northwest Garden Writers Association gathering in the evening, which is always a good time with friends from throughout the region.

I saw lots of people photographing the show. It’s a challenging environment because the lighting is theatrical. That is, the gardens are in pools of light and the background is very dark. Overall light levels are pretty low as well. I shot the photos in the video with my Canon 5D set to ISO 1600 and white balance on tungsten. My lens was a 24-105 IS with the stabilizer turned on. I looked for something to brace the camera on whenever I could and frequently waited for people to get out of my frame. I prefer to work from a tripod, but in the show environment with thousands of people it’s just not possible. These shots aren’t for publication since the show hires a photographer and provides images to the press. Those photos are made in the middle of the night when there’s no one else around.

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One thought on “Garden Show

  1. Judy Buchanan on said:

    Mark, I appreciate this so much!!! I couldn’t attend, and you have made my year! I always love to get new ideas, and while I cannot always incorporate them as soon as I would like, I store up those visual images and never forget.

    I will do what I can with Gossage Garden, (being a city park, constrained by rules, and theft worries, Just knowing that strawberries I already own would do well on Madame Douglas (the topiary lady), will be the next use.

    And I love the idea of the moss with bulbs in it. I have always wanted to naturalize, and have two areas that I would really love to do that in. (Replace the grass). I wonder what is the best moss to use, or some of other none growing grass? Irish moss?

    And in my own yard, where there are only monetary constraints, I really got a lot of great ideas.

    You have done us a huge favor, (to those of us who could not attend, or maybe others who can use this to refresh their memories.)