Trend Spotting at the NWFGS: Lust, Rust & Waterways


Watremark_IMG_00000117 The Northwest Flower & Garden Show swept through the region last month. The amazing plants and displays captivated my attention and haven’t let go.  After a long winter, the abundant sights, smells of the show can be a little dizzying. Only a short week after it began, we were left with our grey skies and rain jackets, wondering ‘Did that really happen? Was it real?’

Unlike Dorothy after her adventure, I have hundreds of pictures to prove that Oz does really exist! Straight from the Emerald City I’ve sifted through my images and complied a few of my favorite things.  What’s hot, what inspired, what’s already working its way into my gardens. Starting with the biggest themes from the show.

Elegant Romanticism

Watremark_mosaic romanceA subtle lovely dovey feel could be felt throughout the show. Antiques painted white and rose hued plantings with a contemporary flair. Display gardens had that little bit of extra sparkle. Lots of glass art poked in between perennials and intimate planting schemes. Colours like Linen, Nectarine and Poppy Red were utilized, creating a fresh warm palate for whatever romantic retreat you could imagine.

Rusty Dreams

Watremark_mosaic rustI’m guilty of it. I love old rusted planters and beat up wooden beds.  I’m a Reduce Reuse Recycle kind of girl. Getting a second life out of an object makes me giddy. It was evident at the show that these designers felt the same way. Antiques were brought back to life. Torched wood planters were highlighted for their cool distressed look and rusty old construction materials were recycled into fabulous planters!

There was a serious lust for rust going on, and I loved it! Paired against a hot colour like ‘Tender Shoots’ from Pantone’s 2013 trend report or a bright contrasting plant like Sedum acre ‘Aureum’, the rust simply pops! I can see incorporating many of these ideas into my gardens.

If your looking for a little more rust in your life, thrift stores and operations like Habitat for Humanity’s Re-store are a few of the best places to score a deal for the home or garden. They’re in your neighborhood and are worth checking out during your next project.

Creating Tranquility with Water

Watremark_mosaic fountainWater was a big theme of the show. From simple but stunning fountains to built ponds and rivers. There were even a few unconventional water gardens complete with fish in the Skybridge displays.

Watremark_DSC_7949I appreciated the creativity employed in many of the fountains scattered through out the show including the Gunnera fountain in West Seattle Nursey’s Jurassic Park display. As a proud owner of a cement mixer, I think I might make a few cement projects this spring focusing on water. The pillars really caught my eye. Even the husband sounds eager to give them a try. I’d also like to give my hand at a gunnera birdbath or fountain.

Looking for a spring project of your own? Leaf castings are a fun activity to do in groups, and make a great excuse to get the ladies together for some crafting and cocktails! It’s a garden party in the making.

Relax: It’s all about You.

Watremark_mosaic relaxLifestyle elements were strong through out the show. What do you need out of your space? Are you looking for a retreat? A place for the kids to play? An o-k corral for your favorite horsey (It shouldn’t surprise you, but I’ve seriously contemplated this) or a kitchen garden. What about all of the above. Your space is valuable, and every square foot of it needs to be working for you.

Watremark_IMG_00000155When planning your garden this year, start by making a list of all of your needs and must-haves. This is where you add that hammock, or the bright purple garden bench, or a pizza oven that you clearly need. Confused? Get help realizing your vision with Kiss My Aster: A Graphic guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to you. You can read my review of it here. *Spoiler Alert!* It’s awesome. Amanda’s has a hands down fun and fabulous way of looking at garden design. I had the pleasure of meeting her *gush* at the NWFGS. She is just as great in person as she is online. Okay, maybe more so. You will enjoy reading her work. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure gardening book.

Like I said, fun!

Getting Lost in the Details

Watremark_DSC_7925 - Copy This show is head to toe covered in fabulous. There’s so much to see and do. The gardens are glorious.  The small space displays are cutting edge, full of colour and warmth, and that’s not all. This show is about way more than just the eye candy in the display gardens.

Watremark_IMG_00000161There are wonderful people to meet and informative seminars geared to give you your spring garden a jump start. Amy Stewart was even on hand mixing cocktails on the DIY stage while she introduced us to her new book The Drunken Botanist. The book delves into the delicious topic of Cocktail Gardening, of which I’m a huge fan!

Looking to add some cocktail garden plants to your beds this year? Check out a great list of plants at the bottom of Amy’s website for ideas for your garden.

Shopping that brings out the Plant Geek in me!

Watremark_mosaic shops On top of the seminars in the conference rooms, the show has a market that can’t be beat. There are three separate market areas where you can find every garden implement, decor  and quirky shed sign you could possibly want for your garden.

Watremark_IMG_00000139 - CopyFrom the coolest glass blown ornaments and garden spikes from Glass Gardens NW to a bold and sassy Bloggess approved giant metal chicken, the NWFGS Market has you covered. They even had a Antique market this year. Whoever’s doing their picking for the show is doing a fantastic job! Each shop front was bursting with all sorts of fab treasures! So much inspiration from preloved classics.

With plant shops and farms also bringing their finest plants and bulbs, including rare and hard to find selections to the show, the plant side of this market is always hopping!  I make sure to devote some time to  picking out the perfect plant (or 12) while I’m at the show.

Watremark_IMG_00000152When plant mania strikes (which it inevitably does) I’m sure thankful for the Garden Show’s baggage check. It makes that one last plant, so much easier to excuse.

And excuses I had. I came home with a dark purple/almost black hellebores ‘Onyx Odyssey’ and a fabulous Yucca ‘Garland’s Gold’ with an assortment of dahlia and lily bulbs and tubers for planting this spring. I was glad I brought my market basket with me to the show. Once I gathered all of my packages from the bag check peeps ( a tip of the hat to the Washington State Master Gardeners for their well run booth) my basket made for an easy and quick return to the hotel. My modo is simple: leave no plant behind.

I hope you picked up some inspiration on your travels with me to the NWFGS this year. Be sure to head over to my Facebook page or my Pintrest page or follow me on Twitter to keep updated on other garden fun all year round!


This entry was posted in Master Gardeners, Northwest Flower & Garden Show, Reduce Reuse & Recycle, Things to do and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 comments on “Trend Spotting at the NWFGS: Lust, Rust & Waterways

  1. Rebecca Sweet on said:

    This is the best review of the show I’ve read yet – and such fantastic photos, too! Really, really beautiful and it was a joy to finally meet you in person!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


HTML tags are not allowed.