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Herald staff | jloerch@heraldnet.com
Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Highlights of the Northwest Flower & Garden show

  • The Peter and the Wolf garden at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle.

    Jessi Loerch / The Herald

    The Peter and the Wolf garden at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle.

I had a chance to tour the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, which opens today in Seattle. The timing could not be better. With all the nice weather, I'm dreaming big garden dreams.

Even as the exhibitors were putting the final touches on their displays, it was obviously a beautifully done show. The theme this year is "A Floral Symphony," so the gardens showed musical themes in many different ways. As we toured the gardens, the overall soundtrack was of gardeners at work and equipment moving around. When the show opens for the public, however, there will be a range of music, including live performances.

The gardens showed a nice diversity. Some fancy, over-the-top gardens offered inspiration for grand dreams. Three tiny displays offered ideas for those working with little space. Edible plants were mixed into many gardens. Some focused on trees while others put the emphasis on flowers.

If you're thinking about visiting the show, I'd definitely say it's worth the trip down to Seattle. I'll be returning to see the gardens again and take advantage of the classes and vendors. The show opens today and runs through Sunday. You can find more details in our story here.

A few of my favorite gardens:

The Dinner Bell Rings: Eat Your Yard
This garden, created by Cascadian Edible Landscapes, focused on edible plants. There was a chicken coop made from an old VW van. A sign at the entrance said "Ladies Only." Cute and fun. There was also a trellis/ instrument of sorts made using wire and big galvanized tubs. Plucking the strings made a great echoing sound.

Peter and the Wolf: A Landscape Symphony
This garden by Fancy Plants Gardens was a lot of fun to look at. It played off of the "Peter and the Wolf" idea, with a cultured manicured element and a more wild and free section. I wanted to pick up the hut and take it home with me. And they had little glass cloches over some of the veggies that were both gorgeous and practical. The markers for the plants were pleasing black stones with the names painted on them -- definitely an idea worth stealing.

Specimen Foray
This garden put the focus on trees. The centerpiece was an 86-year-old Japanese maple. In its winter leafless state it was really easy to admire its fascinating and beautiful shape. The garden also included a fabulous, partially burnt stump, a relic of a 1918 fire. The trees do a great job of capturing the feel of the Northwest. I just wanted to wander in, settle down and contemplate the trees for awhile.

Birdsong
The Arboretum at Washington Park and the Seattle Audubon came together to create this garden, which is full of a variety of bird habitats. Forested areas mingled with wetlands with a small path winding through it all. There's also room from humans to sit and observe the avian visitors. The bird blind was beautifully made of natural tree trunks and limbs.

Living it Up
This collection of three gardens showcased how to make the most of small spaces. Three small gardens offer some great inspiration for the urban gardener.

Other highlights you don't want to miss
• The blue bottle tree in the Rhythm and Roots garden
• The glorious cyclamen in the show's garden at the entry
• The fabulous palette garden and the bird mosaic in the Winter's Come and Gone garden
• The bug hotel in the Rhapsody in Green garden
• The mesmerizing moving sculpture in The Convergence Zone garden
• The amazing textures in the Twistin' the Night Away garden
• The drum set in the Grunge Garden

Click here to see some photos of the gardens.
Story tags » Gardening

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