Garden Trends from 2012 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

by Seasonal Wisdom on February 15, 2012

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See the latest garden trends with this armchair tour of the 2012 Northwest Flower & Garden Show, recently held in Seattle. The nation’s second largest show had lots of clever ideas to incorporate into your own garden, no matter how small.  Above is a gorgeous garden that featured four-season interest, even in late-winter.

outdoor space with wall fountain and contemporary furniture

The Northwest Flower & Garden Show is one of Seasonal Wisdom’s favorite shows, and I was delighted to be a speaker for another year. From gorgeous display gardens to more than 100 great garden talks, this show is really an amazing way to see what’s new in the gardening world.

northwest flower and garden show

Creative stonework. Living walls. Fountains of all types. Garden sheds to suit every taste. And terrariums in many shapes and sizes. These were a few design highlights of the 2012 Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

modern way to use fountains in garden

This year the gardens were designed around the theme “A Floral Symphony.” So, don’t be surprised if you see lots of musical elements as well, such as the guitar in the bottom right of the above photo.

In addition to this cool metallic mobile, the above display garden featured a contemporary approach to fountains as well.

cute use of space

I fell in love with this adorable garden shed, with its large rocks scattered across the mossy lawn.

outdoor living spaces

This display garden was packed with details, including potted plants and colorful outdoor accessories.

Tropical garden accessories

Want something a bit more tropical? How about this Tiki hut, complete with a stone fountain and ornamental grasses?

This setting is easier to picture on an idyllic island than in a modern conference center. And that’s one reason why this garden show is so amazing.

gardening ideas

The garden designers had only a few days to build their displays at the Washington State Conference Center. Yet, they managed to ensure the flowers were blooming months early — and that these gardens looked like they had been there for years.

northwest flower and garden show

These French buildings are a perfect example of the high level of creative detail that goes into producing these show gardens.

Northwest flower and garden show

Later, these displays came alive with performers, such as the artist painting in the garden above.

display garden at seattle garden show

Despite all the music and entertainment, gardening remained at the center stage of the displays.

middle eastern flair for the garden

From Paris, you can travel to the Middle East in minutes just by walking across the room. I was charmed by this hanging bed with colorful lanterns, perched above fun ferns and grasses.

creative way to dine outside

Even your outdoors dining can be inspired by the east, as this clever Middle Eastern garden demonstrates.

living wall

Living walls could be found among the display gardens and exhibitor spaces, such as this vertical succulent garden.

living wall with clever ground cover

This popular living wall had a dramatic ground cover leading up to it.

clever ground cover treatment

Black mondo grass and white rocks created a checkerboard effect in this clever garden.

clever water design

From contemporary fountains to nature-inspired streams, such as this one above, there were plenty of creative approaches to water fixtures in the garden.

contemporary water feature in garden

Those with more modern tastes might appreciate this simple, but elegant way to feature water outdoors.

cute water feature in garden

This fountain was ideal for this country-style garden. It brought out the red in the plants, as well as the red-checkered curtains in the rustic garden shed.

sleek water feature surrounded by evergreen plants

Sleek water features, such as the one above, created a contemporary look when lighted at night, and surrounded by different plants.

solar lit containers

A trio of fountains provided much-needed light, as well as the pleasant sounds of a fountain.

round glass terraniums

Terrariums were spotted throughout the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, including these cute hanging ones with lime green moss.

growing plants in terrariums

This charming terrarium was filled with succulents, and sat upon a charming white stand.

creative way to display household plants

Right next door was this sweetly painted, three-tiered planter with different succulents growing inside.

growing plants in terrariums

Delicate flowers and pretty foliage filled this attractive terrarium.

cool things to put in terrariums

My favorite terrarium was this inventive one, which featured a stop watch, as well as wood and plants.

wooden shed with portholes and terrariums

It belonged to this award-winning garden shed, which absolutely won my heart … along with thousands of other people.

award winning garden shed

Inside this amazing garden shed, were ferns and tiny bulbs blooming on the ground, window boxes and shelves.

inside garden shed

The detail was amazing in this garden shed. It even had a small vintage radio, playing old-time music.

awarding garden shed design

But the coolest thing might have been this porthole into the garden shed.

garden shed to custom build

Speaking of garden sheds, here’s another magical one that you can actually custom order from a company called Bob Bowling Rustics, which was displaying at the show.  I loved the crystal chandelier that hung in this rustic shed, don’t you?

outdoor spaces for evenings

Here’s another way to enjoy outdoor structures in the garden. This metal gazebo was covered with little lights and plants, and provided an idyllic spot for evening events.

reusing materials in the garden

A recycled wooden table made use of old materials, and provided a delightful place for eating outdoors.

mobile chicken coop

Speaking of eating, here’s a mobile chicken coop that travels wherever your VW bus drives.

creative container of orchids

Clever containers could be found throughout the show, including this lovely planting of orchids.

pretty container garden

Succulents in different colors were mixed with purple violets to create this clever container.

mixed flowers

From colorful containers to delightful garden beds, the Northwest Flower & Garden Show was a great source of ideas for my garden.  And, hopefully your garden too. That’s why I’m sure you can understand why I simply can’t wait until next year!

Learn more about the Northwest Flower & Garden Show





Christina Salwitz February 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm

WOW! You got some amazing shots there Teresa! As I looked through them it occurred to me that though we got some similar shots, it sure does show in the photo differences how TALL you are compared to me. LOL! All of my pics are kind of “low-riders”. :-)
Beautiful post!

Teresa O'Connor February 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm


Thanks so much. I loved your comments, and I had to laugh thinking about our different heights. Nice to know we had similar but different perspectives. It was great seeing you in Seattle. I’m just sorry we didn’t have more time together. All the best, Teresa

Nann Flowers September 30, 2013 at 9:42 am

I was looking for ideas regarding containers for succulents, when I stumbled upon this blog post. I really like the container with violets and succulents. I’m new to succulent care. Wouldn’t I overwater them to keep the flowers happy? Thanks for the many great photos!

Seasonal Wisdom September 30, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Hi Nann: Thanks for stopping by Seasonal Wisdom. Here is more information on growing succulents from the Cactus and Succulent Society of San Jose. Typically, I recommend gardeners lump plants together by growing needs. In other words, all xeric plants together. But the garden designer at this show must have liked the look of this plant combination. The only things I can say is to make sure you have excellent drainage, and keep the container in partial sun.

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