19 Oct Garden Show Marketplace Tops for Shopping
The show gardens are the heart and soul of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, which returns to the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle on February 8 – 12, 2012. The Seminar Program is renowned for being the best in the world – 116 seminars from an illustrious roster of top-name designers, authors and gardening celebrities. But there’s one other element of the garden show that sets it apart from any other show in the world – the incredible Garden Marketplace. Imagine your favorite nurseries brimming with cool plants, a huge bazaar of incredible artists, a constellation of outstanding educational organizations, and teams of gardening experts – all rolled into one-stop shopping for your home and garden.
As I write this, over 275 exhibitors have already signed up for the Marketplace at the 2012 show, with more coming in every day. Even better, the Northwest Flower & Garden Show has a long-standing tradition of bringing you only the best in plants, gardening and outdoor living vendors. So whether it’s bulbs, plants, tools, seeds, furniture, fountains, decking, fences, trellis, green houses, wind chimes, bee and bird houses, jewelry, art, garden accessories, containers, floral tools, or hardscape choices, they must be related to gardening or nature-inspired products and meet our high standards.
And what do you do with your armload of the purchases collected as you stroll through the aisles, madly tempted by the must-have things you see? Simple – you take your load to one of our free, secure Package Check stations, and then head out for more! When you’re ready to head home, just collect your purchases.
One of the first stops I would always make as a garden show attendee is the Plant Market. You may be wondering – how can we have plants in February? As all obsessed gardeners know, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Good things come in small packages. Many exhibitors pack perennials, blubs and tubers in neat little bags, with photos and plant information on the label. All you do is give the roots a good home in your garden and they thrive.
Other vendors sell plants in 4-inch or 1-gallon containers. Hellebores are always hot in February, as many are in bloom. You have to get there early in the morning to nab some of the fanciest, double purpled ruffled Lenten hellebores. But it’s so worth it.
Some vendors even sell small trees, such as Japanese maples or fruit trees. It’s a good time of year to see them with no leaves, so you can really examine their shape. And once in the ground after the show, the winter and early-spring rains are great for helping the trees develop strong root systems before our so-called summer takes effect in, maybe, July.
Orchids have always been a hot commodity at the garden show for years. The range of size, color and flower form is amazing! You can see orchids in a beautiful show garden, designed by the Seattle Orchid Society, and then head over to the Plant Market to find your favorites for sale. I was given a gorgeous white Phalaenopsis orchid at last February’s show. It had a single blooming stalk of 5 open blossoms, and 4 buds still to open. That orchid stayed blooming on my desk for four months!
And if you’re from Canada, the good news is that the show offers free plant inspection! So you can breeze back home knowing you’ve got the paperwork in hand to show the inspectors at the border.
GEAR AND GADGETS
You can’t beat the garden show for providing you with a smorgasbord of gardening tools, gear and gadgets. This is the place to find the latest pruning shears, loppers, gloves, trowels, plant stakes, sprinklers, irrigation supplies, vertical planters, containers, soil amendments and more.
It seems I am always getting a hole in the right hand of my garden glove, so I stock up on gloves at the show, because the prices can’t be beat. A few years back I decided to invest in some good tools for watering. All of mine were cheap ones from the big box stores, and frankly, there were like annuals – they never lasted more than one season. So I bought hose nozzles, a high-pressure watering wand, and a sprinkler. Now I wonder how I ever lived without these tools! They not only help me conserve water, but save my back too.
ART AND HOME ACCESSORIES
Even if you aren’t in need of any tools or plants, there is plenty of shopping for you. The garden show has many vendors whose art is inspired by nature, in both our Garden Artisans area (next to the show gardens) and around the show. We have a huge assortment of watercolor and oil paintings; ceramic and Raku pottery in all shapes and sizes; brilliantly colored glass art; soothing garden fountains; metal sculptures in brass, copper, steel, ceramic and recycled goods; textiles and hand-loomed fabric art; botanical illustrations; silk screens and batik, and much more. And woven deep within each exhibitor’s pieces is a love of nature. (Here’s an earlier blog of some new artists coming to the show.)
Our garden show artists are Northwest favorites and also come from the south and east coast to bring you their art. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see many artists that you might not get a chance to see.
JEWELRY AND GIFTS
Gardeners like to express themselves, and what better way than to wear a piece of jewelry or wearable art that shows off your favorite hobby. We have a limited number of artists that create jewelry that really reflects nature. Copper enamel from real leaves and branches, silver pieces depicting flowers and tools, bracelets and necklaces made from semi-precious natural stones, and hand-painted or hand-woven clothing in gorgeous colors.
Even if you’ve downsized your garden, you always have room for a memorable piece of jewelry to show your love of gardening. Plus they make wonderful gifts to your gardening friends. With Valentine’s Day arriving right after the show, this is a god time to find something special for your gardening sweetheart.
The garden show is one-stop shopping for great gardening books. Plus, with 64 author book signings after our seminars, you can also get the latest books signed (which is another good gift idea). We’ll have the latest books in sustainable gardening, edible gardening, container design, landscape design and using recycled materials in your garden.
GARDEN RESOURCE CENTER
The garden show has long supported the horticulture community, and that is reflected in the Garden Resource Center. This is where you can get connected with other like-minded gardening enthusiasts. Whether you are into certain plant varieties (daylilies, orchids, ferns, native plants, roses, iris, to name a few) or just want to learn about good garden design and practices, this is a great place for you to check out the many nonprofit organizations that are in our Northwest community.
Local botanical gardens are there too, so you might be interested in supporting these regional treasures. The Garden Resource Center has 40 nonprofit organizations, and so you can get to know the organizations and talk to people to discover where you would feel most at home.
These are just a few of the categories of exhibitors that we’ll have at the show – the selection is amazing! We will be posting all of our Marketplace exhibitors on our website soon, so visit our website for the full list. ~ Janet