Northwest Flower & Garden Show offers inspiration, education

  • Wed Feb 1st, 2012 9:37am
  • Life

By Deanna Duff Special to The Herald

This year’s Northwest Flower &Garden Show promises to replace our memories of winter and snow with the approaching harmonies of spring.

The 2012 theme for the nation’s second largest flower and garden show is “A Floral Symphony … Gardens Take Note.”

With more than 350 exhibitors, 120 how-to seminars and 25 spectacular display gardens, visitors will be inspired and taught how to create their own at-home masterpieces.

“It’s one of the biggest and best garden shows in the country, and everybody loves going,” said Tim Gray of Pacific Stone Co. in Everett. This year marks Gray and his team’s eighth year designing show gardens.

Their latest creation is one of three 225-square-foot “Living It Up” gardens that demonstrate how to do big things in small spaces.

“It’s geared toward an urban setting like a condo or town home where you don’t have a huge space,” Gray said. Their concept, “In Through the Out Door,” is based on Led Zeppelin’s 1979 album and includes a water feature and elaborate iron work with an “urban treehouse” appeal.

A particular highlight this year is the “Design a Garden,” which was a collaboration between professional designers and the public. Through online voting, fans chose everything from a theme song (The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun”) to the soil, plants and artwork.

Experts such as Lloyd Glasscock of Looking Glass Design and formerly from Everett’s Pacific Stone Co., brought the vision to life. The first-time endeavor is one of this year’s must-sees.

If you are yearning for garden-fresh goodies, more than 30 presentations are devoted to edible gardens.

In addition to national speakers, local luminaries such as garden expert Ciscoe Morris and celebrity chef Graham Kerr, “The Galloping Gourmet,” will share advice and tips.

For kids, the PlayGarden hosts a variety of activities centered on this year’s “Rockin’ Robin” theme. Visitors will enjoy magical gardenscapes as well as interactive features such as birdhouse treasure hunts, live bunnies and chickens, and getting down and dirty making mud pies.

Rounding out the musical theme, free concerts are scheduled daily in the South Lobby and include local favorites such as the Kirkland Choral Society.

Kids are treated to their own shows at the Sprout Stage. Don’t miss Casper Babypants! Better known as Chris Ballew from local band Presidents of the United States of America, his quirky lyrics and humorous takes on well-known children’s songs delight all ages.

The show at a glance

When: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 8 to Feb. 11; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 12.

Where: Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place, Seattle.

How much: Advance discount tickets are $16, available until Feb. 7 at more than 80 retail outlets and online at gardenshow.com. Tickets can also be purchased via the website or by phone at 800-343-6973.

At the door, tickets are $20 for one day, two-day passes are $29, and five-day passes are $65. Youth tickets (12 to 17 years) are $5 a day. Children under 12 are admitted free.

Highlights: This year’s theme is “A Floral Symphony … Gardens Take Note” depicted in 25 display gardens, more than 300 exhibitors vendors, seminars and speakers.

Specialty gardens include the “Living It Up” displays which demonstrate how to make a big impact with smaller spaces. More than 120 seminars include locals such as gardening expert Ciscoe Morris and celebrity chef Graham Kerr.

National speakers include Stephen Orr, author and Martha Stewart Living magazine’s editorial director for gardening; and Steve Aitken, editor of Fine Gardening magazine.

The PlayGarden is 5,000 square feet of activities and performances centered on this year’s kids theme, “Rockin’ Robin.” Free with admission.

Free musical concerts will be hosted four times daily in the South Lobby.