I have three great opportunities for you this week, just in case you are not quite ready to get your hands dirty. First and foremost, the 28th annual Northwest Flower and Garden Show runs this Wednesday through Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. This is a world class production that is sure to get you in the mood for the upcoming gardening season.
I have been attending the Show since its inception in 1989 and have never been disappointed. There is something for everyone. Over 6 acres of display gardens are the focal point of the show, designed to inspire us as well as educate. While not always horticulturally accurate, they nevertheless convey a sense of creative energy that we can take back to our own gardens. The show gardens are of course just one facet of this production, there are also purchasing opportunities galore. My garden is littered with treasures of past shows, my favorite being a 25-pound concrete slug that is bejeweled with a mosaic of colorful glass. I like to think he is guarding my hostas.
Another feature of the show is their seminars. Over 100 seminars are being presented during the five days of the show. You can learn how to grow mushrooms, prune fruit trees, design with gold foliage, divide perennials, install a microspray irrigation system, garden successfully in dry sun or shade, press flowers, build a fence, make a herbal candle, train your dog to stay out of the garden, and so on and so forth. There’s always something that sounds interesting.
I think one of the best ways to do the show is to stay overnight in Seattle, with your spouse or a friend, and spread the experience out over two days. It will be more relaxing and you won’t have to worry about racing home to feed the kids or the dog. Many of the hotels offer specials during the show. For more info on the show, go to their website at www.gardenshow.com
My two other suggestions are happening here at the nursery. On Saturday at 10am we are offering a class on growing Hellebores, sturdy perennials that thrive in the shade, bloom in the winter, rarely need dividing and are generally easy to care for. Hellebores are commonly known as Christmas Roses or Lenten Roses. They have nothing to do with actual roses and in fact bear no resemblance at all. Many varieties bloom from Christmas to Easter and therefore are associated with this time of the year. Hellebores make great companions for other shade-loving plants like ferns, hostas, astilbies and toad lilies to name just a few. Our instructor is Sally Isaiou from Skagit Gardens (a wholesale grower located in Mt. Vernon) and she does a bang-up job of presenting these winter jewels.
On Sunday at 11am you can come back for a lively discussion on managing insects, weeds and diseases in our northwest gardens. Whether you only have ornamentals in your garden or are an avid vegetable and fruit gardener, this class will give you all sorts of ideas on how to control bugs, weeds and diseases responsibly while protecting the environment and not harming beneficials or pollinators. Cultural, mechanical and chemical controls will all be discussed so bring your questions.