Northwest Flower & Garden Show: Bringing Favorite Children’s Stories to Life
A Wrinkle in Time? Alice In Wonderland, Once Upon a Thyme, Rapunzel, The Three Little Pigs?
If you’ve never taken your kids to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, this is the year to do it! The huge, luscious, dazzling displays of this year’s show are all designed within the theme “Once Upon a Time…Spectacular Gardens With Stories to Tell.”
And if that's not reason enough, consider this: Children 12 and under are admitted free to the show and a special children’s play space, The Playgarden, is free to all budding gardeners. The Playgarden offers age-appropriate, hands-on activities for children all based on the characters of the children’s classic Charlotte’s Web.
Walking into the convention center on a cold winter’s day in Seattle is like walking into oasis in the desert. For my kids, this is better than a snow day. It’s like a vision of summer, something to renew their hope in the sun. We tour the various displays looking for ideas we could easily implement in our own garden – quite a feat since we recently moved to a downtown high-rise and will be creating a raised garden on our 100 square-feet 7th floor balcony. That we could recreate at least some idea of a garden here was one of the central reasons for choosing our building.
As a doula, I am drawn to the flower and garden show for quite another reason – marketing! I’ve never seen so many pregnant bellies in one place in Seattle. Call it what you will, spring fever, nesting, a desire to see little buds…this show is a beacon for expectant moms. And I am ready this year, business cards in hand. I see a belly, I pass a card and a smile. In fact, I give the cards to my kids. If they see a belly, they pass a card.
But mostly we go to get out of the gloom and gray of Seattle in February. I am not sure how they do it, but the humidity, the light, the arrangement of displays all work together to thrust our winter-paled family into spring. I swear we all look rosier after just a few hours of wandering and smelling.
The garden show is also a great place to pick up gardening tools, seeds, art, books and anything else you might need to get started gardening or expand your family’s efforts, often at discounted prices. Here’s a bit about some of the displays in this year’s show:
Garden in Verse
d4collective has reached beyond the usual flower show experience to one of garden theater- setting the stage for an ethereal and dream-like garden experience. Entering through a dramatic pergola, the viewer is transported from the commotion of the flower show into an inner sanctuary of poetry and lush plantings. A theatrical atmosphere surrounds a garden of pure white flowers, pools of water and stunning sculpture. The quiet created within the garden “walls” offers moments to reflect– just as reading allows one’s imagination to move us to another place.
A Wrinkle In Time – Gardens Not Yet Discovered
A crystal ball to view future events, reading glasses to rearrange atoms, other planets and dimensions with grassy plains and wooded forests; similar yet different than our own planet. Everything connected to everything else where light glows and warms while shadows create suspense. Follow three young people along with beings who were once stars in the galaxies while they use their elevated intuition, psychic ability and enlightenment to travel the tesseracts; folds in time and space, to fight for love, free thought and expansion. Provocative with the appearance of science fiction tesseracts do really exist. Is the story a stretch of the imagination or …a glimpse into worlds not yet discovered?
Alice In Wonderland
“The first Thing I’ve got to do is to grow to my right size again and the second Thing is to find my way to that lovely garden.” – Lewis Carroll
Today we face many unpredictable personal and environmental challenges and a garden can be a sanctuary for contemplation and enjoyment. We need to think “outside the rabbit hole” and in our garden you will see creative and unique ways to do this. So will you think BIG… or small? Relax, enjoy the garden, and consider which paths you will choose going forward in the world.
“Then it seemed like falling into a labyrinth: we thought we were at the finish, but our way bent ‘round and we found ourselves, as it were, back at the beginning, and just as far from that which we were seeking at first.” SOCRATES In striving for a sustainable society, we learn of the distance we still must travel. As one walks through Alice’s Labyrinth, one will reflect upon how individual steps will result in getting closer to true sustainability. The theme is to treasure resources, replenish the earth, and create healthy habitats.
Life’s Journey in a Garden – Expect Great Things
The ultimate fairytale ending. This garden leads us on a journey of a life lived in heartache and darkness turned to light and love. Our trash garden with wonderful black plants, thorny things, and rusty relics gives way to a lovers rendezvous inside a hidden garden. Peace and solitude are waiting here amidst the golden foliage, beautiful lush grass, and small pond. Our modern day chaotic lives demand a quiet garden spot to recharge, rejuvenate and reconnect with our roots.
Once Upon a Thyme – A Recipe for the Good Life
Once upon a Thyme, in a land not so far away, lived a very happy woman. So happy was she, that people came from far and wide to learn her secret for the good life she had created. Her sage answer was always the same. “The recipe for a good life,” she proclaimed …consist of 3 ingredients. You must have a garden to feed the soul! You must surround yourself with beautiful things to feed your heart! And your body must always be fed with delicious food and good wine! Follow my advice and your home will always be filled with love and laughter. The moral of the story is: life can be good but it will always be better with a garden, something beautiful to look at and a good meal. And so she lives happily and heartily ever after.
Rapunzel – A Brothers Grimm Tale
‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let down your long hair.’ The story of Rapunzel is beautifully displayed using early-flowering annuals, colorful perennials, spring-flowering bulbs, stately conifers and deciduous trees—all artistically arranged around Rapunzel’s tower. Our garden is composed of plant material that is readily available during early spring and can easily become part of a larger composition in which a bright splash of color will wash away the dreariness of winter. Stacked rock retaining walls add to the “olde world” ambiance created by the tower and castle, with thoughts of damsels and white knights following close behind. Come and enjoy this story!
Run Little Pigs, Run!
There has been warning of a formidable predator in our midst. In this interpretation of the classic fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs, the brothers have built their own dwellings for protection. As the tale goes, the homes and gardens reflect the brothers’ personalities and abilities. Built of straw, sticks, and one of brick—the homes become progressively sturdier and gardens more complex. A stand of trees separate the homes and the Wolf’s habitat. The underground lair is dug under a large stump. The natural habitat is planted with dark and barbed plants. The stage is set for a feast tonight, but the tale will tell the truth.
Shamazan – Where Gifts and Wildings Grow
We join young Mindy Moffit, Walker-Between-The-Worlds, on the eve of a sacred gathering hosted by the nomadic People of the Heart. Presently, Mindy discovers a secluded hot-spring near a ferny outcropping, where she receives an unexpected gift. Soon, the stage below will overflow with music. The People will harvest medicine, food and fiber from this abundant meadow—a lawn alternative. Flamboyant exotics and unassuming wildings are all welcome in this gently cultivated sanctuary. Later, Mindy circles the simple yet powerful Medicine Wheel and realizes her precious, innate gifts. Transformed, our heroine leaves this haven to rescue the animals she loves. (Based on the novel, Shamazan, by garden creator, Suzy Dingle.)
The Frog Prince with ‘greenstyle’
Just as the timeless tale of ‘The Frog Prince’ reminds – ‘all that glitters is not gold’, this modern oasis transforms a magical blend of found treasures and lush landscape, for simple elegance that shines. Blurring the lines between indoors and out, the green roof, living walls and rain chain of this ‘greenstyle’ retreat captures liquid gold falling from the sky, to nourish a quiet pool and garden – while the glow of a candlelight dinner or relaxing dip are enjoyed by a warm fireside, as fireflies light a cool evening sky.
Wind in the Willows - A River Odyssey
Come enjoy the enchantment of a beloved English children’s classic, “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of life along the river. Plants suitable for Northwest gardens range from the dappled shade of Badger’s wild woods, on down to the marshy verge of “Portley Otter’s” rain garden swale, over to the open meadow gracing the ancestral Toad Hall Your garden can tell a story which will provide a unifying theme to help guide your choice of plants and accessories. Join “Ratty”, “Mole”, and “Badger” as they rein in the mischievous “Mr. Toad” on the river and the road. You too may discover that there is nothing quite so fine as messing about in the garden.
If You Go...
What: Seattle Flower & Garden Show
When: Through Sunday, Feb. 27; Thursday – Saturday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tickets: Click to purchase tickets today! These are “Print At Home” tickets. You will need to print these out upon completion. Or, call 1-800-343-6973 to order.
Cost: Adults $20, Youth $5, Children ages 12 & under are free
- A wagon to haul small kids and purchased gardening items
- Consider a backpack for carrying little ones over a stroller (big crowds will make it hard for them to see in a stroller)