Solving Design Challenges with Style: Artistic Inspiration for Every Garden

Solving Design Challenges with Style: Artistic Inspiration for Every Garden

Here’s a gardening truism: No two gardens are the same; and no two days in the garden are the same. Your garden is ever changing, as are your needs for your garden over time.

Our leading designers and horticulturists will show you how to look at your garden with the eye of a professional, so you can discover the root of your garden’s problems along with possible solutions to address those problems. Learn how to get more from your landscape while still expressing your individual style. There’s no need to settle for a garden that doesn’t bring joy to your life!


Be sure to download our full Show Preview Guide! It will be available online to download in December.

The show preview guide will include the full Seminar Schedule, Seminars by Category, as well are other show highlights and show info.

The Seminars by Category are listed in chronological order. Each of the seminars listed below will tell you the speaker name, seminar topic, seminar description, date, time, seminar location and if there is a book signing afterwards.

Please check the full Seminar Schedule for a full list of ALL our seminars.

Bordering on Insanity: Creating an All-Year-Round Border

Timothy Walker— 2018 Show Judge, horticulturist, author and Former Director of Oxford Botanic Garden, Great Britain

Sometimes in a marriage of two avid and knowledgeable gardeners, it’s good to have “His” and Hers” gardens for the best harmony. This seminar looks exclusively at the herbaceous border in Timothy Walker’s wife’s garden, and covers the principles and practicalities to be adopted when trying to create a border that is interesting all-year-round. It concludes with a look at a collection of must-have plants for such a border.

Wednesday, Feb 7 at 10:30 am / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Debra Guenther, FASLA—2018 Show Judge, partner, Mithūn, Seattle

Need topic!

Wednesday, Feb 7 at 11:45 am / Rainier Room

Layering a Garden: Strategies, Decisions and Plant Selections

Bob Hyland—2018 Show Judge, designer and horticulturist, Hyland Garden Design

Does your garden look flat, one-dimensional, or lack flow and rhythm? Portland plantsman and garden designer Bob Hyland discusses strategies to layer plantings and how to choose the right plants for your site, and illustrate how to knit plantings together in harmonious textural compositions. The key to success is understanding plant shape and form, flower and fruit sequencing, pruning and deadheading decisions, and the topography of your garden.

Wednesday, Feb 7 at 1:00 pm / Rainier Room

A Happy Marriage: Design Integration of House and Landscape

Bobbie Schwartz, FAPLD—Owner, Bobbie’s Green Thumb and author, Garden Renovation

Your house has a style— Craftsman, Colonial, Tudor, Rustic, or Contemporary, to name a few. But have you tried to reconcile your landscaping with your home’s style? Using examples from classic and modern landscapes, you’ll discover several different approaches to resolve the frequent contradiction in styles. Learn your home’s architectural style, how to use your interior palette and repeat it outside, and gain an understanding of how you can blend your house with your landscape to complement them both.

Wednesday, Feb 7 at 1:45 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Truly Compelling Combinations: Creating Sizzle and Subtlety

Brenda C. Adams—Award-winning designer, Gardens By Design and author, Cool Plants for Cold Climates

Have you ever wondered what makes some gardens absolutely outstanding? Would you like yours to be one of those too? Discover foliage, color, texture, form, and other plant attributes to create combinations that far exceed the beauty of each individual plant. Taking the notion of combination planting to a refreshing new level, you’ll learn techniques to design upbeat, dazzling, and exciting combinations as well as those with a calm, more subtle, but still memorable presence.

Wednesday, Feb 7 at 3:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Gardening Simplified: Plants and Design Solutions for Time-Pressed Gardeners

Kerry Ann Mendez—Award-winning designer, Perennially Yours and author, The Budget Wise Gardener

Change happens. Job demands, kids, hectic schedules, aging bodies, and changing interests have led to gardens that are not in balance with our lifestyle. Time for some ‘editing’. This inspiring lecture provides easy-to-follow right-sizing strategies, recommended no-fuss plant material, and design tips for stunning year-round gardens that will be as close to ‘autopilot’ as you can get.

Wednesday, Feb 7 at 4:15 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Foliage and Focal Points: Ideas for Gardens and Budgets of All Sizes

Karen Chapman—Designer, Le Jardinet, and co-author, Fine Foliage and Gardening with Foliage First

Learn the importance of establishing focal points, a key component of good garden design, and analyze three areas where they play an important role. We will explore using a variety of features as focal points and discuss how to frame and enhance these with interesting foliage to create a memorable vignette. With ideas for budgets and gardens of all sizes, you will quickly gain the confidence and knowledge to transform your own landscape into a series of eye-catching scenes.

Wednesday, Feb 7 at 5:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

The Artful Garden Through Creative Garden Design

Bobbie Schwartz, FAPLD—Owner, Bobbie’s Green Thumb and author, Garden Renovation

The most obvious notion of the artful garden is the incorporation of art, such as sculptures and ornaments. But have you considered your fence or arbors as artistic, and not just functional? By incorporating creative garden design, plus thoughtful choices and uses of plants, you can turn your garden into a living work of art. Discover how to be bold with color, how to make beautiful edible gardens, and how to incorporate recycled and found materials.

Thursday, Feb 8 at 1:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Cool Plants for Cold Climates: A Garden Designer’s Perspective

Brenda C. Adams—Award-winning designer, Gardens By Design and author, Cool Plants for Cold Climates

Cold climate gardening brings special challenges, but a harsh climate is no reason for a dull, colorless garden. The key is knowing the right plants that will bring beauty and thrive in even the chilliest environment. Discover exceptional species and cultivars—time tested in frigid Alaska—that were selected with emphasis on garden impact, outstanding beauty, ease of culture, early season and fall value, winter display, attractiveness to pollinators, and, of course, hardiness.

Thursday, Feb 8 at 5:45 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Down to Earth: 10 Elements for a Garden To Nurture Body, Mind, and Soul

Kathleen Brenzel—Author/editor of 14 books, former Garden Editor, Sunset Magazine

Gardens are not just places to grow plants. They are mental spas where you can turn down the volume of your hectic life, and tune up your senses. They can provide you with food, fragrance, joy, inspiration, and a calming connection to nature. Discover how to make your garden uniquely yours, with inspiring ideas for retreats, dining areas, paths, patios, containers, and water features, gleaned from nurturing gardens large and small, that you can adapt for your own garden.

Thursday, Feb 8 at 7:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Beyond Pinterest: Unlocking the Secrets Behind the Pretty Picture

Darcy DanielsFounder of eGardenGo and designer, Bloomtown® Gardens

Who doesn’t love flipping through gorgeous garden images? They’re inspiring, fun and pretty to look at—but ultimately not very helpful. Darcy will help you break the code, giving you the tools to translate the pretty pictures into tangible garden plans using an innovative method that relies on asking the right questions in the right order to define your site conditions, tease out your garden needs, and evaluate possible plant partners. The result: an artful, site-specific composition of plants that you’ll love growing.

Friday, Feb 9 at 10:00 am / Hood Room

Need topic!

Debra Guenther, FASLA—2018 Show Judge, partner, Mithūn, Seattle

Need description!

Friday, Feb 9 at 1:00 pm / Rainier Room

Steal ‘Em! Great Ideas from the West’s Best Flower Show

Kathleen Brenzel—Author/editor of 14 books, former Garden Editor, Sunset Magazine
Mary-Kate MackeyAward-winning garden writer, speaker and author, Write Better Right Now

Every year the NWFGS brings you appealing ideas for paths, patios, retreats, water features, and more. To celebrate the show’s 30th year, former Sunset garden editor, Kathleen Brenzel, and garden writer, Mary-Kate Mackey, glean the most creative and surprising ideas from the show’s display gardens, and discuss how you can adapt them in your own garden. Co-authors of Sunset’s Secret Gardens, a book of design ideas and tips from the show, they’ll focus on plants, paving, materials, color, and more.

Saturday, Feb 10 at 1:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow