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Northwest Flower And Garden Show Offers Glimpse Of Spring

Mark Arehart

During this time of year, it gets really grey and wet. And even though the first day of spring is over a month away, the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in downtown Seattle offers a glimpse of sunnier days ahead.

If you close your eyes, the first thing that hits you is the smell. It’s almost like you’re standing on a back porch in the middle of a spring bloom. There’s even the sound of chirping birds.

Natasha Schwartz says she designed her exhibit to feel like home.

“I wanted to kind of step outside the box and bring it into a backyard,” she said.

There are rows and rows of yellow, purple and red flowers nestled against a bright green lawn — complete with her camper.

“It is mine,” she said. “Brought it from my own backyard.”

Imagine hitting the road with Schwartz’s camper and ending up at a national park. That would tie in with this year’s theme, “America the Beautiful.”

The garden show is in its 28th year and celebrating the National Park’s centennial —complete with a ranger’s station.

“This show is the second largest event of its kind in the United States,” said Schwartz.

Barry Bartlett is the show’s spokesman.

“We have over 28 garden creators who have been working for six to eight months to plan and create these gardens,” said Bartlett.

A trend echoed throughout this year’s show is planting more perennials and evergreens. Exhibitor Natasha Shwartz has a shrub in mind for people to plant.

“This is called a compact show-off forsythia,” she said, gesturing toward the plant. “It blooms very nice smelling and looking yellow flowers that come out, kind of in a circular motion.”

She says when the plant drops its flowers, it still holds onto its leaves for much of the year.

Something new this time around — those of age can take their drinks anywhere on the show’s floor.

“You can have a cocktail, you can have a beer, and you can have wine and stroll through the show,” said Bartlett.