NW Horticultural Society, Photo courtesy of Deborah Burns.By Deborah Burns
Guest Columnist

The transforming magic that happens every February at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show helps to warm me up for the upcoming season of gardening and makes me dream BIG with ideas for my garden.

Okay, so my dreams and ideas are usually unrealized by mid-summer as life, chores (and budget reality) take me away from time in my yard and garden, but while I am at the show, ANYTHING is possible!

So here are a few (of many) things that are inspiring me, encouraging me to get OUTSIDE, making me dream of summer in my garden…

Seeing the Northwest Horticultural Society’s display in the lobby admonishing visitors to “Eat Your Vegetables! – Garden to Table” made me think Yes! I would absolutely want to eat my homegrown veggies in this warm, protected patio setting surrounded by the growing makings for tomorrow’s salad!

The Main Event

Sommmarstuga_Summer_Living _Simply_and_Sustainably, Photo courtesy of Deborah Burns Moving into the main event area and my favorite part…the Display Gardens! I turn left and immediately come upon “Sommarstuga: Summer Living, Simply and Sustainably.” Ah, a Seattle summer evening while relaxing in Adirondack chairs with friends around a fire.

Sippy-Cups_to_Wine_Stems-_Harmonious_Family_Living_for_Small_Gardens, Photo courtesy of Deborah BurnsFor family fun in a small space I checked out “Sippy Cups to Wine Stems,” a sophisticated patio that featured art doing double-duty: there was a sandbox and a shallow pond for kids to play in, and built-in benches near a copper art water feature for enjoying adult conversation over a glass of wine. I chatted a bit with the designer, Tomisha, and found out that this was her first time as an exhibitor.

From An Ordinary Pile of Rocks, Photo courtesy of Deborah BurnsI saw some incredible stonework at “From an Ordinary Pile of Rocks”: a Gothic arch with a keystone that looked to be a basalt column, a massive Gambion wall, and a stone wall dry stacked on an angle…very striking!

The most surprising building material was the picket fence made of skis in “Winter in Waiting.”

Mmmmm, at many of the displays there were fragrant plants to enjoy a moment of bliss: winter daphne, new dawn viburnum, hyacinth, narcissus…

The Marketplace

After making the rounds, enjoying the different gardens, discovering beautiful details in the gardens…it was time to check out the Marketplace! I saw so many of my favorites with so much tempting “stuff” for gardens: ornaments, plants, tools, books, lighting, and on and on….

Edible Chocolate Garden, Photo courtesy of HeBlogsSheBlogs.comAt the display booth for the Chocolate Flower Farm I enjoyed the fragrance of the chocolate candles while marveling at the chocolate-themed plants. There was even chocolate mint tea. I used to grow some chocolate mint in my garden and never thought to brew tea. Note to self: Need to plant that again this year!

I think this is the 14th time I have enjoyed the inspiring ideas that the Northwest Flower & Garden Show brings to Seattle, and my garden. I can’t wait to get started on some major spring clean-up, prepare to make my garden a place to relax (after all the hard work!) and enjoy…that is the transforming magic of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show and the promise of Spring!

About the columnist: Deborah Burns moved to Seattle from Southern California in 1994 and one of her goals was to buy a home, design, and create a garden. The Northwest Flower & Garden Show has been a wonderful source of inspiration over the years, and while some years Deborah’s time and energy for working on her garden wax and wane this year is going to be a great one to garden! Deborah also enjoys blogging about Seattle Real Estate and Seattle Neighborhoods on several of her blogs, and will have more to blog about the Northwest Flower & Garden Show (with more photos!) on her other blogs in a few days. You can visit her blogs at:

  • Dianne
    Posted at 20:43h, 25 February Reply

    Deborah, have you noticed any particular changes in gardening themes through the years? The gardens are always so creative! — Dianne

  • Deborah Burns
    Posted at 12:40h, 27 February Reply

    Hi Dianne,

    I am noticing more fire “pits” or fire elements the past few years. Which is also a trend being served by the retail stores who are carrying more choices and stock of them.

    When was planning my own garden in 1997-1999 I had meant to have a fire “pit” because I admired a friends (in the Bay area), but I totally forgot to include one!

    There seems to be less cottage gardens, and more easier to care for structured patios. I remember being so charmed by them originally and was interested in that style. Now it seems that both my taste and the trend has moved away from the “cluttered” look and more towards easier to care for hardscaping with plants tucked into the overall scheme. It could also be because homes have gotten larger on smaller lots and townhomes with very small spaces to garden in. Oh, also more interest in “Outdoor Rooms” means more hardscaping for funiture and cooking areas.

  • Deborah Burns
    Posted at 00:31h, 28 February Reply

    I finally finished my other blog posts about the Northwest Flower & Garden Show:

    Deborah’s Seattle Homes:

    and at Seattle’s Urban Villages:

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