I went to the NW Flower and Garden Show in Seattle this past Sunday. It was everything it was hyped up to be and full of garden inspiration. While I was there, I sat in on 3 talks, snapped photos of AMAZING garden displays, learned about orchids from one booth and was given a baby sequoia tree from another. Time well spent.
I attended the seminar called “Garden 101: The New Edible Garden.” Three amazing garden writers and bloggers spoke for 3o minutes each. The topics included design and garden inspiration, making cocktails from foraged plants, and info about interesting vegetables from around the world. I soaked it all in and took plenty of notes.
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Garden Inspiration for a Creative Veggie Garden Design
Megan Cain, from The Creative Vegetable Gardener and author of Super Easy Food Preserving and Smart Start Garden Planner: Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Successful Season, gave the audience a bunch of great ideas they could use to design a more beautiful veggie garden. Just because we are growing our food doesn’t mean we can’t do it in style! The three main principles she gave us were to (1) add height with cattle panels and teepees made out of bamboo or birch for your veggies to climb, (2) add flowers to your veggie beds for splashes of color and to attract pollinators, and (3) grow unique and colorful veggie varieties.
She was down-to-earth, funny, and showed us plenty of pictures from her own garden in Wisconsin to illustrate her points. I plan on incorporating all of her ideas into my garden this year. There are plenty of birch trees on my property that I can use to make teepees for beans, peas, and squash. I loved the look of lining 4-5 teepees up in a row for added appeal and how she used cattle panels to create an arch. I can already imagine walking through a tunnel with veggies hanging above me, ripe for the picking.
The Wildcrafted Cocktail
Ellen Zachos, from Backyard Forager, is author of 7 books, and co-host on the podcast Plantrama. Her latest book is The Wildcrafted Cocktail, and she talked about just that: how to create delicious and elegant cocktails from locally foraged plants. She had me laughing throughout her talk, especially when she gave us common sense warnings about not eating anything we don’t recognize.
She taught us how to make our own bitters and liqueurs, and how to use them in our own elegant cocktails. I particularly loved her idea of blending purslane and tequila together, and then straining the liquid to make a special margarita. Seems like a legit way to use the purslane that grows between my garden beds. All of her yummy recipes can be found in her new book.
Plant Food from Around the World
Nikki Jabour, from Savvy Gardening, is the best selling author of 2 gardening books, and just came out with her third, Veggie Garden Remix. In her latest book, she teaches her readers about 224 unusual edibles from around the world that we can grow in our own gardens. Cucumelons, ground cherries, and watermelon radishes are the three veggies that really caught my attention.
Cucamelons look like itty bitty watermelons, about the size of grapes, and have a cucumber citrus flavor. They love to climb trellises, so you can save space in your garden by growing them vertically. You can eat them fresh, in salads, dipped in hummus, or even pickled.
Ground cherries are related to tomatoes and grow in husks, much like tomatillos. They fall to the ground when they are ready to harvest, and have a fruity, vanilla, butterscotch flavor.
Watermelon radishes are beautiful and have a hot pink center beneath their whitish green skin. They have a sweet-spicy flavor, and can be eaten fresh or roasted. You can even eat their leaves in your salad. She shared plenty of pictures from her own garden and definitely inspired me to try new plants in my garden this year.
Inspiring Garden Displays
After I listened to these informative talks, I grabbed a bite to eat and wandered around the incredible garden displays snapping pictures. There were so many fantastic ideas to steal for my own garden, but these were some of my favorites:
1. The White-Themed Garden Paradise
This display was voted one of the People’s Choice winners. There are so many beautiful details in this display that I couldn’t stop taking photos. The color scheme is simple and elegant. I love how it utilizes all of the air plants on the back wall and on the shower head. The outdoor shower is an eye-catching detail that adds that extra oomph to this display.
2. The Chess Board Garden
You have to admit, this garden is something straight from Pinterest. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have saved quite a few pins of life-sized games to add to our property one day. I also love the polished wood framing the sides of this patio, and the bits of grass outlining game board and the stairs. There are so many stunning details.
3. The Wild Orchid Pergola
I love the orchids in this display. It is rustic, natural and whimsical. I can already see potting up a few new plants here.
4. The Twisted Bonsai Tree and Red Tulips
There were a LOT of tulips at the show…must be the time of year. But blending the tulips with the bonsai was stunning work. Elanden Gardens, located in Gorst, WA, created this display. I must have passed by these gardens 100 times without ever going inside, and you can bet I’m kicking myself now that I don’t live near them anymore. I overheard the arborist speaking, and he said it took him 40 years of painstaking pruning to create this gorgeous tree.
5. Bright and Colorful Container Garden
The colors in this display just make me happy. I love the multi-colored tulips and the pops of bluish-purple, not to mention the modern feel of the planters. It gives me the warm summer day vibes I am missing so much right now.
6. Sweet Little Porch
I can see myself curling up on this bench with a good book. The combination of blues, lavenders, whites and pink are a romantic combination. It is about the size of my front porch, so I am definitely keeping these ideas tucked in the front of my mind when I plant my flowers this spring.
7. Modern Patio that is Perfect for Entertaining
I love the contrast of reds and natural wood surrounded by greenery. This is the perfect patio for a BBQ and s’mores…I can already imagine people jumping into the small pool after a few cocktails. This space is begging you to invite your friends over.