Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Sifting February 18, 2009

Filed under: garden shows — greenwalks @ 11:59 pm
Tags: , , ,

I didn’t even spend the entire day at the NW Flower & Garden Show‘s opening day, but my head is still spinning from everything I saw and heard. It’s going to take me a while to sift through all the information and ideas I gathered, and I hope to roll out a few posts as my brain settles and time permits.

Live wall

(Living wall from “Sky’s the Limit,” designed by Rebecca Cole with materials from Smith & Hawken, implemented by B. Bissell General Contractors.)

One amazing fact – I walked out of a place with hundreds of garden vendors WITHOUT BUYING A SINGLE THING. No wait, that’s a lie, I got a Raintree Nursery catalog for a quarter. Wait, that’s wrong too, my mom sported me the change since I didn’t have it handy. So technically, it’s true, I didn’t buy a thing. Why? I think I was overwhelmed by the multitude of choices and just have to do some more thinking before I start in on the many garden projects that face me this coming season.

But just because I didn’t buy anything, that doesn’t mean I came home empty-handed. Many of the fabulous show gardens’ designers publish plant lists, and I grabbed every one I could find. I also got brochures from some of the public gardens and non-profits that had booths. Favorite schwag:  I got some Black-Eyed Susan seeds (I was planning to buy some, so thanks, Smith & Hawken!) and, from the ReStore (fancy salvage goods), a free compact-florescent lightbulb. Woo hoo!

I saw fellow NW blogger Daniel Mount outside a seminar room – we had both just listened to Swedish rock-star landscape architect Ulf Nordfjell speak about his huge design projects in Europe and the UK, and Daniel was heading back in for another lecture, this one by Canadian garden visionary Nori Pope. I hope Daniel decides to share his insights from today, as a long-time show-goer and generally wise and philosophical observer of life in the garden and beyond.

Ideas are free… it’s just the implementation that can cost an arm and a leg! Does attending garden design shows spark your imagination, or is all that perfection (and expense) just too much to deal with?

(PS  My guest blog post is up on the Garden Show site. I sweated a topic, then ended up doing something kind of lame. Man, I am in awe of real journalists who can whip this stuff out!)

(PPS If you’re going and want to attend a seminar you know will be packed, look into getting free advance passes, which I believe we finally found at a table on Level 3 North after a lot of wandering around.)

(PPPS Big thanks to my mom, who attended with me as always and never complained once about my slow progress, numerous camera stops, and bizarre zig-zagging itinerary!)


6 Responses to “Sifting”

  1. Victoria Says:

    Sometimes, choice is too much to cope with, isn’t it? For me, these shows provide wonderful ideas, but they sort of sit and simmer in my mind and then rise to the surface a bit later, perhaps in a slightly altered form. It’s a wonderful way of expanding your horticultural horizons though. And freebies are always welcome!

  2. easygardener Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it. What amazing restraint you showed even when extremely confused (lol).
    I wonder how much care those vertical plantings require. I’m thinking of watering more than pruning because there are plants that would hug close to the wall. It wouldn’t look as good with dead brown patches all over the place! It is rather attractive when done well.

  3. Megan Says:

    I usually avoid the crowds at those things, but I’ll admit to finding some inspiration when I go. My biggest disappointment at the show I went to in Portland last year was that some vendors had plants for sale, but they didn’t have a plant holding area, or wagons. Were you supposed to just get one thing you could carry around and be done? Impossible.

  4. Michelle Says:

    I usually find shows like that to be overwhelming and feel lucky if I retain a couple of ideas! But I don’t have the restraint to walk away with only lists, however I do limit myself to what I can carry.

  5. Catherine Says:

    Sounds like you had a good time. Those choices become overwhelming to me too, but the plant lists are usually my favorite things. I’m heading off to read your guest blog post and can’t wait to hear about more of what your saw.

  6. annetanne Says:

    I do not know this show, but it seems to me it was an indoor show? Don’t know how it is in the States, but here in Belgium ‘indoor show’s’ usually show more garden equipment and garden furniture than gardens. There are plants, but usually only the more common species you find in the garden center next door.

    Through the years, I came to prefer the small local plant swapping days over the big garden shows, as you often find more ‘specialties’ at the swappings than on the shows.
    But of course, there are some outdoor shows that are already interesting just because of the surrounding, like the garden-days at Beervelde-castle and the ‘roses-and-vegetable-garden’ days in the park of the castle in Hex. (This castle has a large rose garden, and a hugue ‘potager’.)

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