I think of indoor flower and garden shows as giant greenhouses where you can walk among the plants and pick up great ideas for your garden. I recently attended the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle. Here are some terrific takeaways you can use from that show.
Play with perspective –The multiple award-winning Asian-inspired garden by Nature Perfect Landscape and Design repeated the curving shape of a moon window, but the second one was much smaller, with tiny plants inside, as if you were viewing a distant mountain range. You can do the same in your garden. Find plants of similar shapes, but different sizes, such as a conical-shaped Alberta spruce. To create the illusion of space, put larger ones in front and smaller behind, even if that’s only a few feet away.
Plan for surprises – A partially carved driftwood dragon, also in the Nature Perfect garden, was a show-stopper. But discovering goldfish swimming in a deeply carved rock pool is also a joy. Think of places in your garden where you could add a bit of wonder.
Mix and match groundcovers –A living mulch under your existing plantings doesn’t have to all be the same plant. Wholesale nursery, Little Prince of Oregon, combined green/gold Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’ with black grassy Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’. For your garden, load your nursery cart with groundcover possibilities and see how they look together before you buy.
Think small and attractive – The tiny display garden created by Designs by deLeuw included a narrow live-edge table, a pizza oven, and tall terra cotta containers. During show construction, the builders would gather around the table for meal breaks. So civilized. No matter how cramped your outdoor space, there’s always a possibility to draw folks together with the right-sized furnishings.
Evaluate offerings – At this show, there were five different brands of greenhouses. Of course, my favorite was the full-sized Hartley-Botanic Victorian. It glowed on the display floor tucked into a garden designed by Sue Goetz. Whether you’re buying garden clippers, or a handsome addition like a custom Hartley, experiencing a variety of products and talking to those who are selling them is invaluable.
Discover the gardening future – Indoor shows are terrific places to see what hot new plants will be coming to market. The same is true for other products. Corona had a full display of tools, but I also found out from Communications Manager Chris Sabbarese that Corona will be distributing those fine English tools by Burgon and Ball, coming next summer. Yes, I want them.