This will be the last Second Tuesday Art Walk for a little while. I’ve decided to put this monthly feature on hold because I have so many things I want to share on this blog – but not enough time to write posts about them. So for now something has to give – and that something is Second Tuesday Art Walk.
One of the reasons that I’m short on time is that we have a large garden, and it’s time for spring garden clean up.
Spending two days taming a buttercup infestation makes it easy to lose sight of the reason that I love gardening in the first place: Gardening is a creative outlet. But gardeners here in the Pacific Northwest have the annual Northwest Flower and Garden Festival to remind us of that.
Last month, the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary. My mom, Erika, and I have been attending the festival, which takes place in Seattle, every year – probably since the very first one.
So I thought this would be a fun time to share some of my favorite things from this year’s festival and some from recent years past.
Inside the entrance, a cheerful spring bulb display always greets visitors. The intoxicating fragrance of hyacinths and the piped-in bird songs set the mood for the show.
Across from this display is the floral competition. This year, I immediately recognized the work of my favorite floral artist, Michelle Pedersen, owner of The Art of Forest Blooms. You might remember her 2016 guest post about her masterpiece that year.
I love her use of natural elements and settings that create a story about nature. Her 2018 installment was entitled “Forest Friends.”
Mom and I spent some time soaking in all the details of this piece, and photos just don’t do it justice.
Michelle’s work is joined by that of many other floral artists. Some artists even poke fun at living in the Pacific Northwest.
Over the years, it seems that the lighting in the display garden area has evolved into an art in itself. The public shuffles around in near darkness, and the displays are lighted for maximum impact.
The result is a fantasy world where trees become ethereal.
Large Scale Nature
Preparing for this show is an immense undertaking. Huge trees, boulders, downed logs, and giant root systems are brought in.
Little Pink Houses – And Other Ones Too
To me, what the display gardens do best is blend man made structures with natural elements.
Cottages, quaint shops, or even little neighborhoods are created.
Pergolas, Sheds, and Greenhouses
These little (or sometimes not-so-little) structures are the stuff that dreams are made of. They are why I always leave the show with a million ideas bouncing around in my head – even if they are completely impractical ideas that I could never act on.
After all, how many of us actually have a luxurious sleeping shed with a built-in herb garden nailed to the exterior?
Or an island pergola?
Or a stained glass greenhouse?
Other structures seem more attainable. Or at least I can kid myself that they are.
Al Fresco Living
Because it’s cold and raining about 75% of the time here in the Pacific Northwest – or at least it seems that way – when the weather actually is cooperating, almost everyone rushes outside to dine and lounge al fresco.
And the festival always has some lovely vignettes to inspire us to do just that.
Al Fresco Cooking
And isn’t it everyone’s dream to cook outdoors? How about a gorgeous built-in barbecue with a live herb garden growing on the backsplash?
The festival always has a few amazing outdoor kitchens for us to drool over.
Of course, some displays are purely for fun.
We try to take our time with the display gardens and really soak everything in. There is so much to see that it would be easy to miss the small details that are often so inspiring.
Like most big cities, Seattle is becoming denser and gardens are shrinking. But the festival always has some fun ideas for small-space gardening.
There are so many seminars offered at this festival. I’m ashamed to admit that Mom and I have never attended a single one. No, the festival is so huge that we are lucky just to get through the display gardens and the marketplace.
This year, the marketplace seemed bigger than ever, and we didn’t have enough time to see all of the booths.
But I always make time to visit my friend Henri at the Sunglo Greenhouses booth.
Since we have a small Sunglo greenhouse of our own, I love to see what new innovations Sunglo has come up with.
And Henri had a few indoor begonias on hand. He gave me the two that needed the most care and said that he knew I could make them thrive.
Challenge accepted, Henri. Challenge accepted.
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