Kevin and Robin and I went to the 2008Â Northwest Garden Show today. It’s a yearly tradition and we always enjoy ourselves. Usually I take a camera and snap lots of pictures. This year, because I’ve mislaid the charger for my camera, I didn’t bring one. It was as pleasant as usual but nothing you can’t imagine from browsing other pictures. The show has seminars and what-not that we never attend; we go to browse the jaw-droppingly large vendor room, and to take in the garden exhibits. There are somewhere around twenty large show gardens meant to simulate what you might do with your backyard. There’s a similar number of container gardens, about the size of a small porch. There’s an ikebana exhibit, andÂ bonsai, and gardens made from junk by high school students, and tiny box gardens made by elementary school classes.
This year was the first year that I felt so familiar with the show that I recognized that certain styles of the large exhibit gardens were always in the same place on the floor. Every year, there are trends in the gardens. A theme is assigned to each show, but I’m not convinced it really makes the trend. The first year we went, there were a number of fantasy gardens– canopied beds in the midst of forest glades, fairytale picnics, and so on. This year, the trend seemed to be ‘vegetable gardens’. I wonder how pretty the salad garden would be once you started making salad from it? But they did nice things, anyhow. My favorite garden, though, was one that focused on the elements of stone, water and fire. I’m not sure if there was any actual vegetation but it used a lot of polished basalt, with a firepit (complete with fake fire) set in a stone nook among fog-filled pools. It felt like a hot spring retreat build on top of a lava flow. It was beautiful and peaceful.
Every year we daydream about the various garden decor we see in the vendor areas. We’re both in love with water features, and with statuary, and with abstract metal sculpture. There’s a place that sells stone mask thingies to hang on walls. Usually, we also buy a few plants. This year, we picked up a reversible pair of pirate overalls for Robin– sized for 18 months so he should be able to wear them for a good long time if we adjust the straps and roll up the cuffs.
Kevin carried Robin along the ikebana rows. I looked at them from afar while staying with the stroller; they were on a bamboo flooring that the stroller didn’t like. I love looking at ikebana and floral displays. If I’m ever rich, I want to have regular updated floral arrangements.
We came across blank books with sculpted covers. It’s amazing what you can buy at a garden show. Of course, the first year we went there, we bought a painting. Every year, I look for the bird cages that I see so often in the display gardens. I’m a sucker for weird old birdcages. I’d collect them if I could find somebody who sold them. But instead this year, I found somebody who sold these gorgeous textured stoneware teapots. I didn’t get one but teapots and birdcages and clever little boxes all trigger my DO WANT urges. I don’t know why.
Robin was awake and interested for much of the garden show. That was fun. As usual, I left the show enthusiastic about my own garden plans. I think I’m going to do a lot of digging this year.