Small Spaces and Indoor Gardens: Patios, Containers and Houseplants

Are you a passionate gardener who has downsized your garden? Or perhaps you live in high-rise condo or apartment and your balcony and interior spaces have become your garden. Even a huge garden can be divided into intimate spaces, each with its own personality and design.

Houseplants aren’t a new trend; they were huge in the ‘70’s. Many people recall them as their “gateway plants” to a larger love of gardening. But they have shed their hippie vibe and are re-emerging as a trend as more people live in homes with no place for a garden. Working people are finding that houseplants fill a nurturing need for getting in touch with nature.

Our Small Space Design seminars have loads of great ideas to inspire you to experiment with containers and houseplants, along with top tips to keep plants in containers healthy—even delicious edibles. It’s time to surround yourself with the nature that you love and crave, when you bring the outdoors inside!

Please check the Seminar Schedule for a full list of ALL our seminars. No ticket refunds for Speaker cancellations.


All seminars at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival are FREE with your ticket!

Buy Tickets Early and Save!

School of Rock: Creating Your First Rock Garden

Ross Bayton, PhD–2023 Show Judge, director, Heronswood Gardens, and author, The Gardener’s Botanical: An Encyclopedia of Latin Plant Names

The Heronswood Garden is famed for its dramatic herbaceous borders and lush woodland garden, but over the last two years, we have begun to build an epic rock garden in our parking lot. Join garden director Ross Bayton on a journey of creation as he guides you through the building process, providing tips on construction, soil selection and best plant picks.

Wednesday, Feb 15 at 1:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow



Big Dreams, Small Garden: Creating Something Extraordinary in an Ordinary Space

Marianne WillburnAward-winning blogger, and author, Tropical Plants and How to Love Them and Big Dreams, Small Garden

If you’re struggling with a difficult outside space, you are not alone. In a challenging housing market, many gardeners are realizing they may be in their current home longer than they envisioned. However, by breaking down the process of garden creation into manageable sections, shifting our perspective and cultivating a sense of contentment, we can create the garden that lives inside of us—right where we are. Marianne will share inspiration, design tips, and real-life gardens to get you excited about your outside space—no matter what it is.

Wednesday, Feb 15 at 1:15 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow



Set in Stone: Making Hypertufa Garden Troughs

Patrick RyanGarden writer, radio host and education specialist, Alaska Botanical Garden

You’ve no doubt seen these stylish troughs and thought you’d like to have one or two. You probably thought it would be too hard to make one, but Patrick will show you how to make a unique trough to display your garden treasures. Alpines, dwarf hostas, dwarf conifers, mosses and more look great in these rugged, yet classic containers. A “cooking show” format will be utilized to make and plant an actual trough, to be given away!

Wednesday, Feb 15 at 3:15 pm / DIY Stage



Scaling Up: Climbers to Try

Eric Hsu–Chanticleer plant information coordinator, horticulturist and blogger of Plinth et al

With green spaces valued in urban environments and with the effects of climate change a tangible threat, the beauty and importance of vines has never been more pertinent. They add privacy on fences, and screen outdoor spaces from prying eyes. Through their greenery, vines draw dwellings into the garden. Whether trained well or let untamed, they soften hard edges and give the garden a romantic feeling. Clematis, wisteria, and jasmine are obvious options, but leap forward into sausage vine, wood vamp, and cross vine.

Thursday, Feb 16 at 9:30 am / Hood Room



Squeezing It All In: Small Space Garden Design for Your Urban Garden

Kathy Jentz–Award-winning author, Groundcover Revolution, co-author, The Urban Garden and editor/publisher, Washington Gardener

Do you suffer from too many plants and too little space? Using examples from area gardens, Kathy Jentz, co-author of The Urban Garden, will illustrate basic design principles for maximizing garden space. Kathy will address common small-space challenges such as creating privacy and adding light to shady areas. She'll offer low-or-no-budget solutions as well.

Thursday, Feb 16 at 12:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow



Go Bold: Tropical Accents for Inspiring Containers

Marianne WillburnAward-winning blogger, and author, Tropical Plants and How to Love Them and Big Dreams, Small Garden

Tropical and subtropical plants can add incredible energy and depth to your container gardens—responding to the heat of summer with increased vigor when more temperate accents are fading. But whether you use them as spectacular ‘thrillers’ or stunning ‘fillers,’ it’s important to follow some guidelines in the selection and planting process to help you avoid common pitfalls of pairing, proportion, and maintenance. You’ll also learn to use some of your favorite houseplants as the stars of some of your favorite new outdoor combinations!

Thursday, Feb 16 at 2:45 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow



Power Couples: Perennial Pairings for Jaw-Dropping Gardens and Containers

Deborah TrickettAward-winning container designer and owner, The Captured Garden

Perennials are perfect for adding beauty to gardens and containers. But are there some perennials that work better together than others? Are there some pairings that, like the power couples of Hollywood and industry, just naturally cause heads to turn? Join Deborah Trickett, owner of The Captured Garden, as she shares some of her favorite Power Couples—perennial combinations that will get your gardens and containers noticed. This is a fast-paced, visually inspiring, and sometimes humorous PowerPoint presentation that will show the audience how to be a better “matchmaker” when combining perennials for their gardens and containers.

Saturday, Feb 18 at 9:30 am / Hood Room



Layering for a Dynamic and Beautiful Garden

Laura Watson–Master Gardener, Master Pruner and ‘Clemaniac

One of the most important elements of a beautiful and dynamic garden is layering. Learn how to layer a garden by staggering foreground, middle-ground, and background to create an alluring and satisfying landscape. Principals involved include repetition, scale, flow, depth, contrast, and focal points. Laura’s easy speaking style and great photos will help you learn how bring layering principals into your garden.

Saturday, Feb 18 at 12:00 pm / Hood Room



Light, Water, Action! How to Grow Beautiful Houseplants

Susan Maki–Designer, buyer, and houseplant merchandise manager for Squak Mountain Nursery

Are you new to the houseplant obsession? This seminar is for you! Susan will begin with the basics of light, selection, watering and fertilizing. She’ll help you decipher ambiguous light labels, and really understand and measure your light, so you can best decide where your houseplants should go. She’ll also help you match your plants to your personality and lifestyle—nurturer or neglector— to better choose your plant family. Finally, you’ll gain an understanding how to care for your plants, which is critical to your success.

Saturday, Feb 18 at 3:15 pm / DIY Stage



100% Success with Your New Vegetable Garden

Bill ThornessAuthor, Cool Season Gardener and Edible Heirlooms and Master Gardener

New home? Tired old lawn? Bitten by the gardening bug? Want to provide healthy home-grown food for your family? Great! There are tried-and-true ways to start a vegetable garden and have success in the first year and beyond. Author and Master Gardener Bill Thorness provides a guide from the ground up: creating new beds, building soil, acquiring the most essential tools and gear, creating a planting plan, choosing the right crops, joyfully tending your garden, and feeding yourself and others from the bountiful harvest.

Sunday, Feb 19 at 11:00 am / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow



Spring Edible Garden Planning for Small Spaces

Christy WilhelmiAward-winning blogger, Gardenerd and author, Gardening for Geeks and Grow Your Own Mini Fruit Garden

Do you struggle with finding room for everything you want to grow in your veggie garden? Learn Christy’s invaluable process that you can repeat season after season to plan your vegetable garden ahead of time. Discover tried and true methods for tracking progress and crop rotation, as well as tricks of the trade for making the most of every square inch. You will reap a bountiful harvest with some spring garden planning!

Sunday, Feb 19 at 12:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow