It is 46 degrees and cloudy, again. Even though the days are getting longer and many winter shrubs are blooming, sometimes it’s just not enough! If you can’t wait for spring to arrive, don’t despair—you can preview the beautiful sights, smells and tastes of spring at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show this year from February 22-26 at the Washington State Convention Center.

The 2017 garden show theme “A Taste of Spring”, is a great remedy for the winter blahs: Visitors will be greeted by bright flowers lining the entrance lobby and in the show gardens. Twenty-three full-sized indoor show gardens will offer visitors inspiring swaths of flowers and educational landscapes.

This year, Seattle Tilth is a show partner and will be providing educational opportunities that focus on sustainability, natural yard care and edible urban gardening. One dollar of every ticket sold at the box office on Thursday, February 23rd will be donated to support Seattle Tilth’s healthy food, farming and environmental programs. All online ticket buyers will have the option to donate to Seattle Tilth at that time as well. The Garden Hotline is excited to be available during the final three days of the show, ready to help gardeners to make sense of displays, to counsel show-goers about integrating new elements at home and answer any questions.

See the Display Gardens to Get Inspired
At home, the yard is a place to play, exercise, entertain, garden and cook. It offers an important opportunity to act and have a noticeable impact on climate and environmental issues. Building healthy soil and composting at home are huge aspects of minimizing climate change. Home gardens can also provide habitat for birds, bees and other beneficial critters who need a place to thrive and who will, in turn, help plants grow successfully by minimizing pests and disease, pollinating your plants and more. Harvesting or mitigating stormwater with rain catchment systems or rain gardens can also be another important way to help keep pollutants out of Puget Sound, to prevent stormwater damage and to conserve water.

Many of the show gardens will provide a chance to see these elements in action, helping you gather ideas to implement at home and offering the chance to talk with the garden creators directly. Come prepared to take pictures and notes to take home and help you finally face that problem area in your landscape.

Urban dwellers without yards can visit the City Living area of the show gardens to see balcony gardens that artfully condense the outdoors into a six-foot by twelve-foot space. Learn how to turn a patio or small yard into an inviting outdoor room adorned with water features, foliage-filled containers and patio furniture. You can also find uniquely repurposed and upcycled items for your home at the Vintage Garden Market in the Marketplace.

Try Something New
Get excited to try something new this year at one of more than 100 seminars offered  by some of the leading experts in our region, including Ciscoe Morris, Jessi Bloom, Jeff Lowenfels, Seattle Tilth’s Carey Thornton and many others. If the pickle you sampled in the show’s Tasting Corner left you wanting more, you could take a class on how to grow the vegetables you like to eat, then take it a step further and take a class to learn to ferment them!

Gardening sustainably can save money, and this year’s show offers opportunities to learn to shrink costs. Discover how to safely make garden boxes from old pallets or recycle household items into vertical gardens. Learn step-by-step how to design a rain garden to reduce pollution from the rainwater that sheds off your roof, or explore the ins and outs of water- and cost-saving drip irrigation systems. Go home, implement and have more money to spend on plants.

A healthy yard is a habitat where all kinds of life flourishes. Many seminars offered at this year’s show will focus on strategies to create and maintain habitat by feeding life in the soil and by incorporating plants that provide food for beneficial insects, wildlife and the biomes in our bodies. Discover techniques to help make stewarding your landscape easier in many pollinator and wildlife friendly seminars. Even learn tips on turning garden herbs into healing medicinal salves that could help keep your family healthy and other health-encouraging classes.

Whether you have enough space to plant an orchard or only a few containers, there are classes to interest any gardener. There are even seminars for those who prefer not to dig in the dirt: learn to make handmade spice rubs, to create paper from seeds or to make mosaic art.

Ask Us Your Garden Questions
Find your way to the North Hall with your gardening questions, and our Garden Hotline educators will be at the ready to offer answers about growing edibles, pollinator gardens, small space gardening or any natural garden and yard care questions. We will be available to muse on the show gardens with you Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Seattle Tilth display and activity space from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring along your plant samples or photos if you’d like. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you miss us at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, you can contact the Garden Hotline at 206-633-0224 or www.gardenhotline.org. Translation services are available. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

Seattle Tilth manages the Garden Hotline, a free service sponsored by Seattle Public Utilities, the Local Hazardous Waste Program in King County, the Saving Water Partnership, Cascade Water Alliance and the RainWise program.