Guest Post: A Gathering of Creative Whimsy

Guest Post: A Gathering of Creative Whimsy

(c) Nancy CrowellBy Nancy Crowell & Mike Carlisle

Each year the Garden Show rolls around just in time to scratch that itch for spring to arrive. Packed with greenery, tools, yard art and gadgets-it is a breath of fresh air for any northwest gardener impatient for the growing season.
While the hellebores and crocuses might be blooming outside, inside the Garden Show one finds a wonder world of full blown color and greenery.

This year I found myself drawn to the displays that wanted to green up everything . . . from a Volkswagen Beetle to garden walls, to a garden shed from the Flower Growers of Puget Sound that demonstrated how beautiful a green building can be. This little (c) Nancy Crowellgreen building, with its striking sedum-striped walls and grass-highlighted roof, absolutely captured my imagination more than anything else at the show. As I was taking photos another woman appeared and declared in awe “It’s beautiful! How did they DO that!?” Indeed.

For my husband, it’s the whimsy that is most appealing. From glass sunflowers, to children’s hats, to garden mobiles, walking up and down the aisles of the merchants is like a treasure hunt for smiles. You never know what surprising idea you will find around the next corner.

We were both charmed by a curious display called “The Garden of Blessed Decay,” with an odd hodge-podge of rusting junk, a caterpillar-like bench, and a starry gauze roof. What it was doing there and why remained a mystery to us, but it fulfilled the Garden Show expectation of surprise and delight we have come to love.

While I love the displays, after a while I find myself anxious to get to the Plant Market because by this time of year, I really want an excuse to dig in the garden. I can always find a place for one more trillium, one more hosta and one more fern. Mike likes the Plant Market too – that’s his opportunity to take a break while I load up on goodies for the garden. Of course, he is the one who ends up carrying everything to the car, but I still try to resist purchasing heavy pots of plants, and stick to tubers or bulbs.

(c) Nancy CrowellAs we left the show this year we saw a couple leaving on a motorcycle and we both had the same thought – it was a guarantee they would not be leaving with plants! Well, maybe not – if they picked up tubers, as I did.

On the way out of town, we stopped by Joey’s on Lake Union to reflect on what we’d seen. We decided that wandering through the Garden Show is like visiting an old friend. From the astonishing flower arrangements at the entrance, to the growers whose booth one visits each year for just one more hosta, there is something truly comforting about walking through this horticultural haven. And just like a visit with an old friend, one walks away with a sense of renewal and resolve not to let it be so long between visits. To the Garden Show, we say, “So long old friend. We hope to see you again, but just in case we don’t, we made a little video to remember you by. Here’s to you.”

Nancy Crowell and Mike Carlisle live in La Conner, Washington, where they enjoy a large variety of plants in their garden besides tulips. They will sorely miss the garden show if it goes away.

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