The Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle has been heralding the start of spring since 1989.
Gardening enthusiasts from around the Pacific Northwest flock to this annual celebration, held in the beautiful Washington State Convention Centre.
For 10 of those 25 years, I have been hosting an Okanagan bus load of gardeners and non-gardeners alike for two full days at the show.
This year our annual tour will leave Wednesday Feb. 5, and return on Saturday. The trip down will be fast and efficient so we can get there in time for happy hour. After a comfortable rest in our rooms we will get up for a complimentary breakfast and then it’s off to the show.
For the first-timers, it can be a bit overwhelming with acres of displays and booths but there is always lots of help from seasoned veterans who enjoy guiding the novices through the hoops.
The day is spent at the show for most, however the historic Pikes Market is just a comfortable walk from the convention centre so many of us take a break for lunch there.
While at the show I try and get into as many seminars as possible because no other event has so much information under one roof.
Each seminar is assigned a level of expertise so a beginner gardener can keep the information to his or her level while those who wish to receive the more advanced info can do so.
I have picked up so many ideas and so much helpful information over a decade of going to these seminars and I never tire of them.
The show itself is comprised of four categories. First, all the many landscape displays from the modest to the extravagant are found throughout the show with a huge room reserved for the large displays.
Second is the live plant section where you will find everything from dahlias to orchids and flowering shrubs and trees to perennials.
There are bonsai displays and floral arrangements as well.
Third is the hardgoods section where all sorts of gardening ornaments, tools and supplements can be found.
There is also a fabulous book section and one of my favourite stores, Lee Valley, has a booth.
And fourth is the seminars.
On day two, we return to the show for the morning and those of us who wish to take a side trip to the beautiful conservatory located in Volunteer Park for the afternoon.
This Chrystal Palace style greenhouse was built in about 1900 and has four separate areas. One for cactus and succulents, one for Bromeliads, one for large tropical plants including the dinosaur era Cycads and another for flowering plants and orchids.
The next day, we hop on the bus after another complimentary breakfast and head for the border, with a stop at Brian Minters garden centre in Chilliwack.
I’m so looking forward to the trip again this year. If you want to be a part of it call Sun-west Tours at 250-765-9016 to book a spot.