WHO SAYS YOU can’t believe in dragons?
Well, our bus full of Olympic gardeners does.
An utterly magnificent carved “driftwood dragon” was the unanimous choice by our merry group answering the question: “What did you like most about the ‘Gardens of the World’ displays?”
And it was for good reason as it was not only the “best” choice as well, but that of local artists Jackson Smart and Eric Neurath who served as PDN Garden Bus stewards on this excellent expedition.
“Gardens of the World” was the theme of the decades old, Pacific Northwest Flower and Garden Show, the second largest production of its kind in America.
With such a diverse theme the famous show gardens, all 23 of them, delivered indeed on this global mission.
Be it Swiss-alpine, native perma-culture, Japanese, Persian, Pacific Northwest conservatory or orchid garden with waterfalls galore, the show gardens were superb and the bus was in full agreement.
This year’s particular theme lent itself extremely well to very useful, practical designs with a very wide, planetary offering. Exhibitions such as this have a huge advantage of displaying to the public the wide range of industry and thus can inspire or help create ones’ own vision.
The Pacific Northwest is a mecca of North American horticulture and that is always evident at the Flower Show.
The wide range of plants from all over the world can be grown here: bananas, palm trees, Icelandic poppies, Japanese maples, Norwegian pines, Colorado blue spruce, Alberta pines, Australian Yernns, New Zealand flax — the list goes on and on and on.
What goes on and on here as well is our great weather and I even say that in light of the 58 inches worth of snow that besieged and buried my house.
Now it may be that I was born in the “frozen tundra” and that Wisconsin heritage sways my opinion, but it is precisely that experience that makes me understand. Our own worst weather is always well above zero.
The flower and garden show really emphasizes that point, too.
It wasn’t just the display gardens that featured outside pizza ovens, living spaces and outdoor recreation options but so did the vendors.
With over 350 outlets, the Washington State Convention Center was transformed for 5 days into the world’s largest botanical and gardening retail mall.
And of course there was an absolute plethora of plants, bulbs, shrubs, seeds and flowers, but the outdoor garden experience dominated as well.
From interesting fire places and pits, to birds, bats and butterflies, to awnings, outdoor lighting, polished stone seats and tables, it was all on display and for sale.
Both made and grown
The art offerings were numerous as well and ranged from simple but elegant wire hummingbirds on metal flowers ($29.95 which I purchased for a client) to $3,000 to $4,000 whimsical musical water features and music configured sculptures, and you could buy it all.
And boy, oh boy did our bus buy.
The entire bottom of the luxury tour bus, all that space, was filled with an incredible array of materials.
We had a beautiful “life size” blue metal herons and yellow Japanese pines. There were tropical, in-bloom gardenias and fragrant Madagascar-native Stephanotis.
There were also hermetic sculptures, double-fringed primula, a beautiful framed fall foliage maple photo, Scottish weaved brooms, along with pruners, lopers, orchard saws, English heritage sweet peas and South African “living stones.”
So we returned from Gardens of the World with garden products of the world, and were excited to begin another year of gardening here in horticulture paradise — the Olympic Peninsula.
And get ready, by next week the snow is all but gone. March is here (lion or lamb?) and the to-do list returns.
The Pacific Flower and Garden show concludes its 5-day run at the Washington State Convention Center today at 5 p.m.
Andrew May is an ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email news@peninsula dailynews.com (subject line: Andrew May).