On a cold, damp February day here in the Pacific Northwest, that sweet, heady scent could pretty much only mean one thing. The Northwest Flower and Garden Show. I hopped a bus downtown on Saturday and met my sister (who had hopped a ferry) for an absolutely perfect day of smelling, staring, soaking in, sharing, and all-in-all being inspired and rejuvenated.
Each year it seems the display gardens feature more and more funky, repurposed, and recycled items - my own Granddad's quirky style has become mainstream - I often wonder what he would think of that. He'd probably just shake his head and chuckle with that light, airy little contagious giggle he had - just imagining it makes me smile.
My very favorite thing I saw this year were these amazing fountains crafted of musical instruments and random objects.
It seems this guy shares a common artistic vision with my Granddad, shown here with his own amazing "Commotion Machine" back in the 1970s.
I visit them (or rather, their friends and cousins?) on regular strolls through my favorite store in Seattle
I'm not sure if this entire "beneficial insect hotel" by Innovative Landscape Technologieswill someday appear as a stand-alone sculpture in my backyard but some of these cute little niches tucked away into fenceposts and corners do seem like a neat idea.
Other cool ideas from their garden included this neato musical deck and old picture frames used to highlight a specimen or provide support for plants. Oh boy do I have a lot of raggedy old picture frames I could do this with...
Their garden also included a practical "rain garden" surrounding a ground drain that would sure be nicer than the old hose that currently drains my rainbarrel runoff down to the gravel alley.
I'm not sure if it this moves by wind or some kind of motor, but this "kinetic sculpture" in the WALP garden was particularly mesmerising and I have the sudden and unrealistic urge to try and build one myself
(she's right, you know - he would have).
I end up with pieces of paper and cardboard all the time that suddenly become more interesting to me than the piece I had meant to cut out, and it makes me happy that someone else shares a similar appreciation for their own scraps.
Old wooden pallets have been having a great year. They have been popping up on Pinterest as anything from clever wine storage and flat-files to narrow tiered planters (a variation of which I plan on constructing in my own yard this spring). I even saw one in the marketplace built to the same specs as the one I saw in Apartment Therapy. But this one, by Artistic Garden Concepts, is my new favorite use for a pallet:
More of these fabulous little structures by Bob Bowling Rustics appeared around the show, be-still my junk-loving heart.
I could just live inside one.
...I believe Elandan Gardens may have used this amazing specimen in previous show displays, because I feel like I have photographed it before.
Fancy Plants Gardens created a magical moving "stream" with dry ice which I could have stared at all day.
I'm going to have to copy this cute idea for marking plants. I've tried it before with a sharpie but eventually the rock gets too dirty and wet to read and I lose it completely. It appears they used a waterproof sealer on theirs.
What a great day I had. I can't wait until spring.