America the Beautiful … at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Best in Show: The Tiny Tetons

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show February 17 – February 21, Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Pl, Seattle 98101.

Text by Victoria Gilleland, Photos by Doug Gochanour

“America the Beautiful” is the perfect theme for the 2016 Northwest Flower and Garden show which celebrates the National Parks Service Centennial and some of our countries most popular attractions. Talented garden designers and horticulturists have reached new levels of excellence with gorgeous display gardens created for our world-class Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Countless hours have gone into the design and construction of these stunning gardens.

A World Away on the Na Pali Coast

Unique as they may be, all of the display gardens have certain qualities in common. Most have some sort of water feature, use stone or pavers in the garden and accent with boulders or other stone features. Plant material is varied in texture, shape, form and color to maintain interest throughout the design. There are focal points in each garden ….. it might be a special plant, a wall or fence, a water or fire feature, art or another object of interest. The garden creators have masterfully solved the design problems they were faced with in these fabulous themed gardens. We can learn a lot from their gardens!

A Nation Remembers

Even though it’s early in the year there are many flowering plants available in area nurseries right now. These include varieties of Daffodils, Hyacinths, Tulips, Cyclamen, Hellebores, Primroses, Grape Hyacinths, Witch Hazels, Buttercup Winter Hazel, fragrant Winter Daphne, Fragrant Honeysuckle Shrub. It won’t be long before Flowering Plum and Cherry are in bloom along with the first Magnolias. Your local garden center has them now.

A World Away on the Na Pali Coast

We need to appreciate all the amazing variegated and gold colored shrubs, perennials and ground covers, both evergreen and deciduous, that make our northwest gardens so fabulous year round. In particular take a look at how incorporating yellow hued plants impacts these gardens. Glass art and other decorative objects in shades of gold, chartreuse and orange light up the garden scene as well.   On a grey Northwest day it can really lift your spirits to see a touch of gold in the garden.

“Mountains and Rivers Without End”

Two of my favorite gardens make great use of our indigenous plants. “Mountains and Rivers Without End” features a Fire Look Out Tower perched on a hill, a log bench, stumps and a dry river bed.

Discovering Alaska

“Discovering Alaska” has a fabulous stone sitting rock surrounded by native plants and a stream populated with a school of handsome ceramic fish. Native plants can be worked into most Northwest gardens. Some of the most popular and easiest to grow are Western Sword Fern, Red Twig Dogwood, Evergreen Huckleberry, our Native Rhododendron, and Salal.

Southwest  Serenity

I didn’t expect to like this desert garden, but I love it! This is a beautiful backyard garden that invites people to enjoy being outdoors in this desert like setting. A charming tent, plush sleeping pad and pillows, campfire and candle light are all so inviting. Drought tolerant plants such as cacti, aloe and echeveria are incorporated into the garden design. The adobe house in the background and pottery filled with desert plants adds to the southwest mood of the garden. This garden is a place to relax with friends and family.

An Orchid Eruption

The Northwest Orchid Society has put together an amazing display of exotic orchid specimens for us all to enjoy in a tropical volcanic setting. I was taken by a particularly interesting orchid on display this year:  Oncidium ‘Sharry Baby’... a Chocolate Scented Orchid! These gorgeous tropical plants suddenly got even better. Get up close and personal with this petite orchid to enjoy its rich chocolatey scent.

Training for Zion

There’s something for everyone at the 2016 Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Go there to be inspired, educated and revitalized for Spring.

Show dates and hours for the five-day show are Wednesday through Saturday (Feb. 17-20), 9am to 8pm and Sunday (Feb. 21), 9am to 6pm.

Tickets online or at the door. Prices $22, $31 for single 2-day pass; $70 for single 5-day pass; and $5 for youth (ages 13 – 17). Children 12 and under are admitted free.

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years.      


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