14 Dec Get Connected with the Garden Resource Center
One favorite area of the garden show is the ‘Garden Resource Center’, where all the gardening educational organizations are located. This is a wonderful way to check out the many benefits of joining a location organization, see what they each have to offer, and discover which organizations share your interests and passions.
In 2011 we’ll have 38 nonprofit organizations in the Garden Resource Center. Look for them in Rows 2300, 2400 and 2500 in the North Hall (or, after you meander through the show gardens and cross the sky bridge into the North Hall, turn to your right).
PLANT LOVERS UNITE
If you are an aficionado of certain kinds of plants, there is sure to be an association you can join – American Bamboo Society, Hardy Fern Foundation, King County Iris Society, Northwest Orchid Society, Puget Sound Dahlia Association, Puget Sound Daylily Club, Seattle Rose Society, Seattle Fruit Tree Society, Sequim Lavender Growers Association and Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation will all be represented at the show. Talk to their knowledgeable members and find out what they have to offer, so you can learn more and growing and enjoying your favorite plants. Joining a group where members share a common focus (some might say addiction) is always very rewarding. (If you want to go to some seminars from representatives of some of these societies, check out this Garden Show Blog: http://nwf.gs/cGMQze.)
If you’re a novice gardener looking for camaraderie as well as horticulture information from certified plant geeks, look no further than the many organizations that provide a wealth of great gardening knowledge in fun and friendly style. Many will be at the show, eager to answer your questions about membership. The Hardy Plant Society of Washington, North American Rock Garden Society, Northwest Horticultural Society, Northwest Perennial Alliance, Pacific Horticulture Society, Plant Amnesty, Washington Native Plant Society, and the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs will all be hanging their banners at the show. Many of these organizations offer lectures (tip – find out which day their lectures are scheduled so you can make sure they fit your own schedule), as well as plant sales, workshops, newsletters, magazines, garden tours, websites and symposiums with renowned speakers. And of course fundraisers, but supporting these organizations is a big part of the reward.
The Great Plant Picks program is the educational outreach for the Elizabeth Miller Botanical Garden. Be sure and stop by their booth (#2152) and pick up their beautiful, full color 2011 poster, printed in partnership with The Seattle Times. This year’s theme is “Fun in the Sun” and offers recommendations for sun-loving, water-wise plants perfect for our maritime climate, all specially selected to be tried-and-true performers in our Northwest gardens. (And if you want more info on the 2011 Great Plants Picks, catch Richie Steffen’s seminar on Saturday.)
FRIENDS OF FAUNA
While there are many organizations representing the flora, we can’t forget the fauna. Bats Northwest, the Woodland Park Zoo and National Wildlife Federation will also be at the show. (Wildlife lovers note – David Mizejewski, author, blogger and naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation and former host of Backyard Habitat on Animal Planet, is making his first appearance at the show, with seminars on Friday and Saturday, on “Creating a Backyard Wildlife Habitat.”)
If you are interested in a future career in horticulture, there will be some folks on hand who can answer your questions about the horticulture programs at local community colleges. Look for Edmonds Community College and Lake Washington Technical College, two outstanding programs in our vicinity.
Other organizations that will be represented include the Cascade Harvest Coalition, an organization devoted to local foods and farms; the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, which promotes natural yard care and native plants; the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association, demonstrating the art of sculpting on stone; the Specialty Nursery Association, which offers a guide to ninety Western Washington specialty nurseries; and the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association (WSNLA), an organization for landscaping professionals.
If you’re visiting the show from Canada, don’t forget the all-important Washington State Department of Agriculture Plant Inspection (booth #2617) in order to have any plants you have purchased inspected. You can’t take them back home with you across the border unless you have that inspection certificate. – Janet