SEATTLE — For its 30th anniversary the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival wanted a festive theme.
The choice: Garden Party.
“We wanted to honor folks who have done this before,” said Lloyd Glasscock of Stanwood, who manages the show’s display gardens.
“When you’ve done the show so many times — some more than 20 times — it’s always interesting to see if they do something new and different.”
The five-day show from Feb. 7-11 is at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. With up to 60,000 people expected to attend, it’s one of the nation’s largest gardens shows.
It will feature 17 display gardens, some as large as 900 square feet. The 100 gardening seminars being offered at this year’s show rank as one of the largest such presentations for a consumer show in the nation, Glasscock said.
A new addition this year — “floral wars” — is a friendly daily competition pitting two top floral artists against each other. They must create three arrangements in an hour: a bridal bouquet, a centerpiece, and an unannounced or surprise creation.
Glasscock and John Stout, of Everett, designed one of the show’s display gardens with the theme “Cake and Cheers for 30 Years.” It will include spring bulbs, perennials, shrubs and trees planted on three large tiers.
“Celebrate Form: Art Imitates Nature” is the theme Judith Jones, of Fancy Fronds Nursery in Gold Bar, chose for her garden. It includes pathways that converge at a triangular pavilion, original arts, iron obelisks and repurposed materials.
Smith, owner of Marysville’s Sunnyside Nursery, will lead a seminar on “Banishing Boring Yards With Plants That Wow!” The session begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Rainier Room.
“There are lots of ways to keep things interesting in the garden throughout the year,” he said.
Attendees will go home with a handout that lists garden plants for almost each month of the year. “I figure if your yard is boring in May, you’re hopeless,” he said, chuckling. “The point is, there is something blooming every day of the year in the Pacific Northwest.”
EagleSong-Gardener will lead a seminar on “Hedges & Edges: Living Fences That Work,” at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Rainier Room.
“My pitch is really about a diverse kind of hedge, putting in plants and having small trees, shrubs and perennials so they become a border — a little more technically accurate than a hedge,” she said.
Tobey Nelson of Langley will be squaring off in the “floral wars” competition with Tammy Myers, of Issaquah.
“It’s kind of like an Iron Chef-inspired thing,” Nelson said. “It’s kind of exciting and a little nerve-racking.”
Smith said he hasn’t missed the garden show since he and his wife first visited the area in 1980. Even as a professional gardner, he still finds joy each year in going to the show.
“It’s just a great way to get people in the mood for gardening,” he said.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or email@example.com.
If you go
The Northwest Flower & Garden Festival is Feb. 7 to 11 at the Washington State Convention Center, 705 Pike St. Seattle. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Adult single-day tickets purchased the days of the show are $24. Early bird tickets, available until Feb. 6, are $19. Two-day passes are $34, five-day passes are $75. Youth tickets for ages 13-17 are $7. Children 12 and younger get in free. More info: www.gardenshow.com/the-show/
Tickets also are available at area nurseries. See www.gardenshow.com/tickets/#outlet for the list of vendors.
More from our local gardeners
Here are some quips and tips from Steve Smith and EagleSong-Gardener, who will be speaking at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival:
You say that something’s always growing in the garden every month of the year. What’s exciting to see now at your nursery?
Steve Smith: Snowdrop is blooming, witch hazel and edgeworthia. Hellebores are blooming. Winter daphne. It’s just heavenly. It will be another week or two before they open up. There’s nothing as fragrant as daphne.
You’re speaking on hedges at the flower and garden show. Why do you feel hedges are so special?
EagleSong-Gardener: Hedges are amazing because of how many creatures live in them. In England, it’s against the law to take down a hedge. You have to get permission because they’re actually green runways through the countryside that give animals, the birds and insects a way to move about.
How large is your garden?
EagleSong-Gardener The croft is ⅘ of an acre. There isn’t a day of the year I don’t walk out and see something of interest in my garden, and most every day I can walk out and find something to eat.