Showtime! Well, not quite yet, but it’s the time of the year I start thinking about them, the annual garden shows. How better to break the spell of winter?
I’m lucky to live in region that really does garden shows, not some “home improvement” show where a couple of landscape companies are stuck in the corner and they promise to install the latest in hi-tech outdoor kitchens, fire bowls and water features (but nary a plant is mentioned).
Our local season kicks off this year with Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show (February 11-15), followed by the Yard Garden & Patio Show in Portland (February 27 – March 1). Both shows have faced the possibility of closure, the NWFG Show back in 2009 (it was purchased by O’Loughlin Trade Shows, who ran their first show in 2010) and just this year the YGP was shuttered by its former producers (the Oregon Association of Nurseries) and thankfully rescued by Metropolitan Productions, Inc. I was thrilled to read the new owners aren’t going to turn the YGP into one of those “other” shows but pledge to keep the emphasis on gardening. In turn I pledge to do my best to support them by going to the show, purchasing and encouraging others to do the same.
Both shows follow roughly the same format: big display gardens, exhibitors sharing their products and services, plant vendors and free seminars. The display gardens are always good for a few WWTT moments (“What Were They Thinking”) and of course a few great take-home ideas. The seminars are interesting and educational. This year’s seminar schedule for YGP hasn’t been posted yet but looking at the NWFG schedule I can see there are quite a few speakers I won’t want to miss (Friday looks especially wonderful). Most importantly I don’t think I’ve ever left a show without purchasing at least one must-have plant.
That said my favorite part of the show isn’t any of those things. No, it’s the people and the passion. Getting out of the house and celebrating the beginning of another gardening season with my friends and neighbors. What more could you ask for?
In addition to (almost) yearly visits to both the NWFG Show and the YG&P Show, I’ve been fortunate to have attended the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show (it’s held March 18-22 this year) and would love to someday visit the Philadelphia Flower Show (February 28 – March 8) as well as the Chicago Flower & Garden Show (March 14-22). And don’t even get me started about the possibility of visiting the English shows, that would be amazing, those people really know how to do a garden show.
Is there a garden show in your city? What’s your favorite part?
All this talk of the shows has me wondering what plants I’m going to discover this year. Here are just a few of my treasures from past years…