Spring Preview Blossomed for Show Attendees

Spring Preview Blossomed for Show Attendees


Inside the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, we experienced the emotional rush of spring.  The positive energy and excitement were measurable as people drank in the garden possibilities presented by so many talented “plant people.” Over and over, attendees of the show expressed this hopeful optimism as they enjoyed the elaborate, larger than life display gardens, fragrant floral arrangements and charming container garden vignettes.  Spring will arrive for us, and this was our preview.


Much asked about pincushion Protea is botanical bounty in "Cooks Endeavor Returns with Treasure" at the 2011 garden show

I spent several hours alongside the garden creators of WSNLA’s Gold Medal winning garden “Cook’s Endeavor Returns with Treasure,” answering questions about the colorful, verdant “treasure” of more than 100 species and cultivars of plants, many exotic to our clime.  Lovely Tasmania tree fern, pincushion Protea, ‘Winter Fire’ Heath and the Japanese Plume Cedar, or Cryptomeria grab the attention of the botanically curious.


Garden Creator Megan Pulkkinen with Randy Hesse, 'Stowaway' author Karen Hesse and garden creator Kirsten Lints.

True to the theme of the show this year: “Once Upon A Time…Spectacular Stories to Tell,” this garden was based upon the historical novel Stowaway, by award winning author Karen Hesse.  In fact, Hesse herself came all the way from Brattleboro, Vermont to be at the show this week.  Yesterday and again on Saturday, Hesse signed copies of her book at the University Bookstore booth and answered questions about the adventures of explorers Captain Cook and Joseph Banks. This display was more than eye candy—it was an adventure in learning.


What's "Alice in Wonderland" without the white rabbit?

Another of the garden creators who took the “Once Upon a Time…” theme and ran with it: the team of Zsofia Pasztor of Innovative Landscape Technologies, TwinFlower Garden Design and Rain Dog Designs, whose “Alice in Wonderland” garden was chock full of whimsy and charming detail.  The ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ tucked into one section of the garden featured a teapot water feature and I loved the massive (we’re talking 3 foot high) glass carafe labeled “drink me.” Naturally, the 8-ft. long blue caterpillar propped on his toadstool drew everyone in from across the room.  Looking closer at this fab example of “garden theatre”–sustainable gardening technologies were the practical take home, as they were in “There’s No Place like Home,” the Wizard of Oz garden Zsofia pulled off with aplomb in the 2010 Northwest Flower & Garden Show with the Washington State Nursery & L:andscape Association (WSNLA).


Eye candy, botanical education, practical take home—it was all there at the show. If you missed it, there’s always next year to tuck in out of the cold and get your slice of spring. The producers are already talking about the 2012 theme – “A Floral Symphony…Gardens Take Note” and the dates are February 8 – 12, 2012. Mark your calendar!


Colleen Miko is owner of Colleen’s, A Landscape Design Company, specializing in landscape design, horticultural consultation, garden seminars and freelance garden writing. Visit her website at http://www.colleenmiko.com/ or follow her blog at VERDURE http://www.colleenmiko.wordpress.com/. All photos by Colleen Miko. – Janet

  • Kate Easton
    Posted at 13:09h, 06 March Reply

    We are grateful for the support from WSNLA members and Lake Washington
    Technical College Horticulture program and all the volunteers. Your contributions of time, expertise, and moral support are unmeasurable. We could not have made this garden without our volunteers. Personally, I am extremely indebted to my ‘modern plant hunters,’ Kirsten Lints and Megan Pulkkinen, who found the horticultural wonders in the garden. We hope everyone is as inspired by our garden as we were by Karen Hesse’s historical novel ‘Stowaway’ which inspired us.
    Kate Easton

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