The Northwest Flower & Garden Festival is a special experience

The Northwest Flower & Garden Festival is a special experience

The Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle is taking place from Feb. 15 to 19 at the Seattle Convention Centre.

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After a couple of years of COVID-19 restrictions, wouldn’t it be nice to attend one of late winter’s most outstanding bright spots? The Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle is taking place Feb. 15 to 19 at the Seattle Convention Centre, and it’s truly something special to experience.

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No matter the weather outside, inside there will be acres of colour, perfume, beautifully designed gardens, gourmet foods, really unique garden plants, cool garden art, fun accessories and so much more. To top it off, a diverse range of great speakers are lined up for presentations in theatre-style or smaller stage venues.

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This year’s overall theme is Spring Vibes Only, and it will be well-represented by over 30 display gardens, which will be judged for prestigious medals. Each garden is designed and installed to the highest standards by professionals, who use unique shapes, textures and colour combinations to bring their visions to life. Most of the colour plants will have been forced into bloom early, just in time for the show. These gardens will be inspirational and will provide so many great ideas to incorporate into our own home landscaping.

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The convention centre maintains cool temperatures around the garden display area to help keep all the plants fresh and at their prime. When you first enter, you will feel wonderfully uplifted, as though you have walked into a colourful, pleasingly fragrant, outdoor meadow.

This year over 35 nurseries and specialty plant growers from Washington state, Oregon and California will be showcasing some truly unique plants and a great selection of bulbs that you may not find elsewhere. If there is one thing all gardeners love, it’s discovering new plants. A first-time vendor, a plant store named the Peace, Love & Happiness Club, will be creating some buzz this year. Their specialty is rare tropical houseplants.

Over the past few years, a ‘city living’ display section has become very popular. It features a wealth of great ideas about container growing and garden décor for folks who live with limited outdoor garden space, and this year the city living section has been expanded.

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One of the fun activities, called Container Wars, is also returning. It’s a fast-paced contest challenging a number of gardening personalities to see who can plant the best-looking container while under time pressure. It’s really entertaining and, at the same time, you may also pick up some great design tips.

This year’s show will also offer a new feature — an inspiring art and plant installation fit for a modern living museum. Make sure your phone is fully charged so it can handle the large number of photos you’ll be taking.

Unique plants, including rare houseplants, and garden products are available for purchase.
Unique plants, including rare houseplants, and garden products are available for purchase. jpg

As always, some great garden presenters will be speaking at the show on a wide range of topics, and you will be able to pick up some great information and ideas. Each year, the organizers also bring in well-known personalities, both as presenters and garden judges. This year Arit Anderson, cofounder of BBC Garden World, author and an edible plant guru, Meg McAndrews Cowen, and Marianne Wilburn, the award-winning blogger will be in attendance and happily sharing some great information and fabulous tips.

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It’s hard to imagine where else you could find such an excellent collection of seminars and lectures in one place and at a time of year when you can start putting that information to good use in your own garden during the upcoming growing season.

The Food Court area is very attractive and offers a delicious selection of many food styles and drinks. There will also be booths at the show selling other food options, especially fabulous cheeses and sumptuous dessert items, as well as great gardening products. Lots of seating is available to just sit down, rest, refresh and contemplate what you have seen and what you still hope to see. The Convention Centre is in Downtown Seattle, so there are also many great restaurants nearby.

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You can certainly do the show in one day even if you’re travelling from the Lower Mainland or the Fraser Valley. It could also be a terrific two- or three-day getaway with lots of close-by accommodation. Check the website for special hotel rates and packages offered by the show’s lodging partners.

The Northwest Flower & Garden Festival is the second largest garden show in the U.S. and is highly renowned for its size and the quality of its display gardens, seminars, exhibits and overall experience. It’s especially nice at this time of the year as an escape from the cool, dark, wet winter weather.

This garden extravaganza will inspire you, and you will gather some great ideas and discover new and interesting plants, garden art and garden accessory items. The good news for Canadians is that staff from our Department of Agriculture will be in attendance and will be providing phytosanitary certificates that allow people to transport their plant purchases back into Canada across the U.S / Canadian border.

After all of the COVID travel restrictions, this garden festival is one of winter’s bright spots. I have thoroughly enjoyed and been greatly inspired by this show over many, many years. I highly recommend this amazing gardening experience. Don’t miss it!

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