by Jim McCausland | Photo © Northwest Flower and Garden Show
Had enough of winter? The antidote is immersion in the sights, scents and textures of spring. You’ll find them all at garden shows in Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Boise and Vancouver, B.C. Each offers the tools, plants and accessories you’d expect, plus you’ll get inspiration in the form of talks by some of the best plant people anywhere and in an array of mature living landscapes in full flower.
Northwest Flower & Garden Show
Washington State Convention Center, Seattle,
One of America’s biggest flower and garden shows, this one is built around two dozen custom gardens. As you study the gardens, you’ll develop a sense for each designer’s style, and you’ll notice some of the same unusual plants showing up in garden after garden. These change every year, and reflect what’s hot in horticulture.
Vendors offer plants, seeds, bulbs and hard-to-find tools, including an unequaled array of orchids and spring perennials. The garden seminars are unparalleled, featuring more than 90 outstanding speakers. Find details at gardenshow.com.
Yard, Garden & Patio Show
Oregon Convention Center, Portland,
February 28-March 2
Organized by the Oregon Association of Nurseries, this is the show that gets Oregon gardeners moving every spring. Eight walk-through display gardens set the mood here, each showing how a designer handles a difficult landscape problem—a slope, for example, or a small-space edible garden. A separate food garden focuses on permaculture.
The rest of the floor is devoted to merchants and goods from popular specialty growers like Dancing Oaks Nursery and Xera Plants. When you’re ready for a break, recharge at the outdoor-cooking area or the wine pavilion.
Seminars are all located in the lecture halls outside, so you can attend any of them without show admission. Learn more at ygpshow.com.
B.C. Home + Garden Show
B.C. Place Stadium, Vancouver,
Though this is part home show, its emphasis is on the garden. Start by catching a seminar on decks by HGTV’s Paul Lafrance, then sit in on Vancouver Sun Gardeners School talks.
Everything, from seminars to display gardens, puts the emphasis on the practical—things you can go home and act on—and on-site vendors offer the tools you need to give your plans life. Find more information at bchomeandgardenshow.com.
Tacoma Home & Garden Show
Tacoma Dome, Tacoma,
This first show of the season puts everything you need for home and garden projects in one place. It’s not where you go to see show gardens, but it’s a terrific place to shop for plants, tools and garden art. You can also line up contractors and services (like bark delivery and hydroseeding) here, and catch a lecture by the likes of Cisco Morris and Marianne Binetti. Get details at otshows.com/ths.
Boise Flower & Garden Show
Boise Centre, Boise,
The smallest of the shows we list, this has deep local support—just what you need to master Idaho gardening. If you’ve got limited space, catch a vertical-garden talk by Susan Morrison, or learn about plant pairings from Mary Ann Newcomer. Merchants offer everything from greenhouses to yard furniture and the show even offers wine and live jazz Friday and Saturday evenings.
Find information at gardenshowboise.com.
>> To get a sense for any given show (and discount tickets), click through its web site, which will list speakers, exhibitors and show themes.
>> Park as close as possible to make loading purchases easy.
>> If you cross the U.S./Canada border to attend a show, a phytosanitary certificate may be required to bring plants across the border.