A look behind doors at Northwest Flower & Garden Show
Ciscoe Morris, Seattle Times garden writer, takes us into the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. He suggests attending a seminar on growing shade-friendly plants, using the show as the shopping center for your summer bulbs; and he details the amount of planting material, plants and accent pieces that are hauled through the door to set up the show.
Special to The Seattle Times
Northwest Flower & Garden ShowThe annual Northwest Flower & Garden Show runs 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center. For information and ticket prices go to www.gardenshow.com
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Before you shop for plants at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, make sure you visit the Great Plant Picks exhibit near the entrance to the North Hall.
Every year a committee of Northwest plant experts evaluates hundreds of trees, shrubs, vines and perennials (including the newest introductions) in order to select the best plants for our climate. Only highly attractive ones that perform especially well in Northwest gardens make the grade, and those that do are showcased on a colorful free poster.
This year, the committee picked plants that do well in the shade. To see and learn more about these 2012 picks, attend the show seminar "Reliable Plants for the Shade Garden" by Richie Steffen, curator of the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden. His talk will be in the Rainier Room at 7 p.m. Friday.
So you think
your garden is hard work ...
The 26 spectacular display gardens at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show take months of planning. They feature innovative design ideas, new plant introductions, incredible combinations, garden art and more. But have you ever wondered what it takes to construct these magnificent gardens?
Here's a glimpse into what the garden creators and volunteer crews face. They start with 60-plus dump-truck loads of sawdust and mulch dumped on the floor of the Convention Center. Next they carefully place their share of the 280,000 pounds of granite and basalt rock, all previously hand-chosen by the garden creators. Much of that stone is used to construct the amazing walls and numerous water features that are built from scratch.
Then they build structures: Everything from houses, living walls, gazebos and even a windmill. Then it's time to plant the more than 100,000 trees and shrubs, vines and flowers. One tree alone weighed in at over 1,500 pounds.
Now all that remains is to work in some great garden art, an old truck here and there and a sprinkling of koi. Voilà, you have the display gardens for the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. By the way, did I mention they only have 72 hours to get all of this done!
Find incredible summer bulbs at the show
The NWFG show is a great place to shop for summer bulbs that will add exotic color and interest in your garden.
Here are some admittedly weird, but oh-so-cool, Ciscoe picks to look for: Arisaemas (Jack in the Pulpit) are beautiful yet sinister-looking plants. A couple of easy-to-grow favorites add a mystical touch to the garden with their long striped calla lily-like spathes.
Arisaema consanguineum features a hooded spathe with a long, thin tail at the end. Arisaema griffithii is almost frightening with its spathe that resembles a cobra about to strike!
Dahlia is another bulb I like to shop for at the show. The vendors are a great source of information as you pick your favorites from the vast assortment on offer. My favorites are the ones featuring both spectacular mahogany foliage, and exotically colored nonstop flowers. If you see D. 'Bishop of Llandaff', grab it.
Finally, if you're lucky you might score a Cardiocrinum giganteum var. yunnanense. Who can resist a lily that grows 15 feet tall and produces nearly footlong flowers? The blooms on this giant are so fragrant they've been known to make professional wrestlers swoon.
Unfortunately, you need patience if you grow one. It usually takes four years after planting the bulb before it will flower, and the plant dies after blooming. Hey, it's worth it!
Ciscoe Morris: firstname.lastname@example.org; "Gardening with Ciscoe" airs at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KING-TV
About In the Garden
Ciscoe Morris' column runs Thursdays. His show "Gardening with Ciscoe" airs at 10 a.m. on Saturdays on King 5.