Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Creating The Gardens


The Making of the Flower & Garden Show

Ever wondered about how much work goes into making 25 beautiful full-scale gardens indoors? This time-lapse video shows you the incredible amount of soil, sweat and plants needed to create the gardens at the West Coast’s largest garden show every year – the Northwest Flower & Garden Show at the Washington State Convention Center.



We couldn’t do it without the help of Sawdust Supply and Marenakos.



People making their first visit to a world-class flower and garden show, such as the annual extravaganzas in Seattle, Philadelphia and London (the three largest shows in the world), are often surprised at their scale, production values and overall quality. And even frequent attendees continue to be amazed and marvel at how it all comes together.

As the photos on this page illustrate, a world-class garden show is a huge, complex production. Just as an example, the Northwest Flower & Garden Show uses 1,200 cubic yards of sawdust and mulch for the gardens (150 dump truck-loads) and 280,000 pounds of rock. The trucks bringing in the flowers and plants for the gardens come from up and down the West Coast. More than 300 theatrical lighting instruments are hung from the ceiling above the gardens.

Creating the gardens is the most complex part of the show. Planning for them begins nine months before the show. The gardens are like the actors; scenery and music in an opera, ballet or play. Just as those elements are the most expensive part of those artistic productions, the landscaped gardens are the most complex part of a garden show.


Flower Show sawdust Flower & Garden Show Lighting
Trucks arrive on the first day with loads of sawdust Planning the lighting
Display Flower & Gardens The Garden Show taking place
The base for the display gardens – more sawdust The show gardens taking shape
Flower & Garden Show fun Garden Show trees and finishing touches
A lot of hard work, but a lot of fun Finally the trees and finishing touches.


Many people are surprised to learn that the companies and organizations creating our show gardens do not pay the show to exhibit; rather the show pays them a substantial cash subsidy, plus provides other support including lighting, electricity, water, heavy equipment, labor, rocks and boulders, forced flower bulbs, and mulch. The total direct cost to create the landscaped gardens is well over one million dollars.

By sharing this background about what it takes to produce a world-class garden show, we hope that your next visit to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show will be even richer and more enjoyable. We’ll see you February 5 – 9, 2014!