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Tops and Flops of the 2013 NWFGS

By Sowanddipity @Sowanddipity

Tops and Flops of the NWFGS 2013


I have looked forward to attending the Northwest Flower and Garden Show for years! It seemed every time this event came around, something else came up and prevented me from going. But not this year… I was finally going to get my plant geek on!


Spring Bulbs at the NWFGS

Spring Bulbs were everywhere


You know that expression:


God is in the details

I look for these ‘details’ constantly. While people marvel over the big hoopla, I’ll notice how the most smallest of things were just the right perfect touch.



Tiny grasses popped in with Calluna and Selaginella, perfect.


Let’s start with my favorite display garden that made Tops on my list.

The Hobbit by Arboretum Foundation

The Hobbit by Arboretum Foundation


The Hobbit display was by far my favorite at the NWFGS. I loved this garden because it felt organic. I can imagine as the designers were assembling this one that the pieces must of just fell together seamlessly. Besides being created after one of the most Epic Films ever… they were able to demonstrate how plants native to our area can be used to create beauty in a natural way.

Great job by the Arboretum Foundation


Zorba the Greek, Plantswoman Design Inc

Zorba the Greek, Plantswoman Design Inc


The water feature columns in this garden were the perfect DIY project for a Do-it-myself kinda girl…this is on my project list for this summer. Beautiful garden done by www.plantswomandesign.com


Washington Association of Landscape Professionals

Washington Association of Landscape Professionals


I loved this rusty old branding iron with the old bull skull in the background. People were mulling all around me while I tried to get this shot…details people, details.

This old west garden was done by the www.walp.org


Artist Diane Culthane

Artist Diane Culthane


 Now let’s talk about some of the people of the NWFGS that made my TOPS list. The hustle and bustle of the moving masses of attendee’s didn’t keep this artist from her work. Diane was sitting on her stool, paint brush in hand, bent over her latest creation when I walked by.

I stopped, walked back and admired her work for a few minutes before asking her if it was OK for me to take a picture. This petite women, once completely enveloped in her art just lit up with such a warm demeanor and we chatted a few minutes about how important Art is to the Seattle culture. We didn’t chat too long, but her energy is unforgettable.

Be sure to visit her site @  www.DianeCulhaneArt.com to see her gallery.


Garden Connects

Garden Connects


Dolly was a vendor that had a super cool product called Stretch Cane Connectors. These silicone rubber discs can be worked around garden stakes to create all types of cages, teepee’s etc. I plan to demonstrate these in another post so click on the above link if you can’t wait to check them out.


Dolly from My Garden Things

From Dolly at My Garden Things


But I want to mention my cute little Blog Blog Blog Magnetic Fridge Vase that Dolly gave me… just gave it to me! She had, out of everyone I met and talked to at the NWFGS that day, the sunniest personality and the biggest, brightest smile. I immediately liked this women…..

Dolly you were Tops in my book!


Me and Teresa O'Conner

Teresa O’Conner and I


It was important while I was at the show to not miss Teresa from Seasonal Wisdom give her seminar on vertical gardening. Often bloggers become friends on-line and never get a chance to meet each other in real life ( or IRL ).

In my circles, Teresa is one of those garden bloggers I look up to and consider TOPS ….. so when she recognized me after I introduced myself as Shelley from Sow and Dipity.com….well let’s just say that was a pretty darned good feeling. Make sure you check out her fabulous blog, I’m certain you’ll become a fan of hers too!


Gorgeous Succulents

Gorgeous Succulents


Before I move on to plants, I want to mention Lynn and Ray, a couple I had the pleasure of having a glass of wine with during a break at the beer gardens during the show. They were passionate plant enthusiasts, earthy, artsy and a perfect example of the type of people you find in Seattle. I enjoyed our little chat… all of us are there for the same reason, why not get to know each other a little bit? This couple is definitely TOPS as far as locals go!


Staghorn Fern

Staghorn Fern


No doubt about it, succulents are still TOPS this year and they were everywhere at the 2013 NWFGS, but one unsung hero in the ‘different’ plant arena is the Staghorn Fern who is making a come back. I have always loved them and am very pleased to see a revival of this plant. My prediction…this is the ‘IT’ plant for 2013.


Moss Garden

Moss Garden


Moss, moss and more moss! This is THE color this year….which is perfect because it just happens to be my favorite! I know, Pantone says it’s emerald…and maybe it is, for nail polish. But I think moss is super hot in decor right now and will continue to be throughout the year.

I love the ceramic circles laid in the ground for this display, I wish I had the name of who did this small showcase because it’s TOPS for sure!


Succulent Tub

Succulent Tub


Like I said succulents are still Tops this year and I have lot’s of projects planned to use them. I loved the inspiration I got from the show….so many fabulous color combos and textures.


Succulent Planter

Succulent Planter

Junk Gardening

Junk Gardening


 What I loved, which was apparently new for this year for the NWFGS, was the Vintage Garden Market. Oh…I could have spent a good portion of my time here. I admire how the vendors get so creative in trying to incorporate antiques and garden all into one theme.


Junk Terrarium

Junk Terrarium

Junkin Garden

Daffodils in Junk!


Muscari and Buttons

Muscari and Buttons


Some other things I loved were….


Rustic Rainchain by Rustiques Garden Art

Rustic Rainchain by Rustiques Garden Art


Glass Sunflower Art by www.katylareau.com

Glass Sunflower Art by www.katylareau.com


Trash Gardening by John Bob

Trash Gardening by John Bob


Okay, so your thinking…what were the FLOPS  then? Well, I loved the show and I am so glad I went….will definitely go again and again. But there was a few things…..


#1 A show the size of NWFGS should have WIFI available throughout the whole venue so that people can Tweet, Facebook, Email and share electronically while they are there. This especially applies to Canadians and out of state guests who will get charged $5 for every text they make if they are not on a local network.

One vendor was having a heck of a time uploading pictures from his phone to his laptop to share shots of his booth at the show with his social networks. He was getting the same message as I was, that it would be a $28 charge to use the WIFI in the building. Hmm….

I had a Tweet Chat scheduled for 5 pm that day to share my findings at the show, I was in a panic as I had to run around looking for a place I could connect and finally had to exit the show to a nearby coffee shop to try to get free WIFI so I didn’t miss my appointment.

We live in an electronic age, this should be a #1 consideration if you want people to promote your event. The loss of 1000′s of possible shares and Tweets is unimaginable. Flops on not seeing the importance of this valuable feature.

#2 They had a booth set up for Canadians to get the required paper work done to import their plants back over the border. A new feature this year….fantastic! Unfortunately, they were understaffed so when I arrived, the exasperated attendant who was rushing through another order told me that she’s going on a break and I’ll just have to wait.

When I pleaded that I had to leave immediately ( this was when the horror of not finding a WIFI connection was beginning to set in) and wouldn’t be able to come back…. that I only had one item…her response was: “Yeah…well, if I do yours…. 5 more of you Canadians will show up! “…and off she trotted leaving me and now another fellow Canadian standing there in bewilderment wondering what to do next. The elderly lady in true Canuck humor giggled that it looks like we’ll just have to smuggle our plants back rolled up in our dirty underwear….lol.

I don’t doubt that woman was exhausted after a long day and no breaks, but us ‘Canadians’ have invested about a 6 hour round trip, hotel and gas expense’s, parking, food, tickets, etc to come there and spend even more… we’d like to be able to take our purchases home with us….Sorry, but our support of that show should be treated a little better than ‘you Canadians’. Next time, have a back up buddy so your breaks are covered. Simple solution. Big Flops for not being organized.

#3 The last Flop goes to a certain ( yes, one of our own ) Canadian author. After his seminar, I went to buy his book and get him to sign it. They were sold out….but not to be deterred I waited for him to finish signing his last book, hoping that I may be able to get a quick photo so I could post it with a link to his book for my followers. Well, as he was trotting quickly away from the signing area…. He looked back at me at least 5 or 6 times, but just kept on going.

There were no hoards of people chasing after him…just two people standing in a big empty room, me and my husband; and although he clearly could see I wanted to talk to him, he continued on….taking my adoration with him. Flops for being too busy to say hi to a fan…. eh?


Peace Love Garden


All in all, I loved the show and enjoyed every minute of it.

The North West Flower and Garden Show is a must on a gardener’s bucket list, make sure you put it on your calendar.

Until next year…..

Peace, Love, Garden



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