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  • Patrick Hughes

Northwest Flower & Garden Show and So Much More!


The second week of February was a busy one for Wheel & Barrow, capping it off with a trip to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle Washington.

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show had been on my radar for a couple of years and this year I decided to check it off my list. The clincher was when I learned that in conjunction with the show there would be a conference entitled Garden Pro.

Winter is a time of year that I spend trying to get better, sharpening the saw if you will. And the second week of February it was full speed ahead. Monday of that week I heard a talk by award winning garden designer and author Bobbie Schwartz. Wednesday I attended a workshop on Storm Water Management for Landscapers at Clackamas Community College. And then the latter portion of the week, as previously mentioned I took Amtrak to Seattle for the show and conference.

This week also happened to be my birthday week, and Thursday I gave myself and Wheel & Barrow a present. To learn more on this, click here.

This garden was called Father's Day and designed by Nature Perfect Landscape & Design of Olympia, WA

The Northwest Home & Garden Show was impressive. My favorite portions of these types of events are the display gardens. In 2015 I designed a display garden for the Portland Home & Garden Show so I have an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into building one of these. The gardens at the 2018 Seattle Show did not disappoint. There were gardens that celebrated the winter garden, whimsical and fantastical gardens, others that made places to entertain in the garden, all very much remarkable and inspiring. At the bottom of the page are more photos from the show.

The next portion of the trip was the Garden Pro Conference. This was the first ever conference in concurrence with the show. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and went at it with an open mind.

Garden Pro opened with a lecture by the Former Director of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum Timothy Walker; entitled The Healing Power of Plants. This segment of botany is not an area I deal with regularly, so this was an excellent overview. Timothy is a polished presenter, witty and blooming with knowledge.

There were concurrent sessions so you had to make some choices as to what you wanted to learn about during the conference. I chose a workshop on how to pitch your self to publishers. Another one on using social media and the last was a talk on intellectual theft. Maybe not what you think of when you consider the gardening industry. But the fact remains that in our fast moving world; gardeners too need to keep pace with changing technologies and selling their ideas.

Closing the conference was a keynote inspirational/motivational speaker. His name was Matt Walker. He was really good. He is a professional climber and guide and has climbed some crazy mountains. Matt equated the challenges of climbing, mountaineering -adventure- with running a business and navigating life. His talk was captivating and his message resonated with me.

After Matt Walker there was a happy hour and networking. This might have been the portion of the event that I personally gained the most from. I was able to speak one on one with a number of people who are having success within the garden industry in ways that may not be top of mind when you think of garden and landscape design.

I chatted about using Pinterest with Stephanie Rose of Garden Therapy. Stephanie was one of the presenters for the social media presentation and the resident expert on Pinterest. It was great to have this opportunity and her insight on Pinterst and learn how she uses social media to propel her business forward.

Additionaly, I a spoke with Megan Cain of The Creative Vegetable Gardener. Megan is from Madison, Wisconsin, so being an ex-cheesehead myself we had plenty to discuss. Not only in town for the conference, Megan, a garden author, was presenting at the show on Saturday. I was impressed with how she is using social media to share her passion for vegetable gardening.

The trip to Seattle for the show and conference was time well spent. I returned home inspired and energized for the gardening season to come.

Photos from the 2018 Northwest Flower and Garden Show. If you like these photos follow me on Instagram.

Wabi-Sabi, Embrace Flawed Beauty, a Gold Medal winning design designed by the staff at West Seattle Nursery, a collaboration between West Seattle Nursery and Devonshire Landscaping. Both from Seattle.

Contained Excitement by Issaquah Landscaping of Issaquah, WA and designs by deLeux of Kenmore, WA

Taking a load off at Soiree of Reflection designed by Iftikhar Ahmed

Celebrate Form - Art Imitates Nature designed by Judith I. Jones and Vanca Lumsden


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