Northwest Flower and Garden Show

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Northwest Flower and Garden Show
Status active
Genre festival
Date(s) 1989 (1989)
Frequency Annually
Venue Washington State Convention Center
Location(s) Seattle, WA
Country USA
Founder Duane Kelly
Attendance 60,000-65,000
Organized by O'Loughlin Trade Shows

The Northwest Flower & Garden Show (also known as the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival) is an annual exhibition of horticulture and everything gardening held in Seattle, USA, for five days each February. It is the largest garden show west of Philadelphia and is regarded as the second largest garden show in the country.[1][2] It is held at the Washington State Convention Center, and has been since the first year. The show features lush, fully built display gardens (which are judged for awards), over 100 educational and entertaining seminars, and a garden marketplace exclusively for plants, gardening supplies, botanical art, vintage garden art and locally sourced artisan gourmet foods - the largest Marketplace of any garden show in the U.S.

2014 Northwest Flower & Garden Show display created by WALP & WSNLA.

The Northwest Flower & Garden Show serves the west coast of North America from Alaska and Vancouver, B.C. to San Francisco, CA as well as the western U.S. Attendance ranges from 60,000 - 65,000. The show runs from Wednesday through Sunday, and is typically held in February. The show consists of three main components: approximately 22 display gardens ranging from 500 to 1,500 sq. ft. in size (which are built in only three days), over 350 exhibitors selling garden-related products, and over 100 free seminars on three stages, including a DIY demo stage. The show's 75 - 80 Seminar speakers include award-winning garden writers and garden design experts from around the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. Other show features include City Living, a balcony garden exhibition; the Vintage Garden Market, the Tasting Corner, Ikebana displays, a floral competition, and at the 2017 show, a Cake Bouquet exhibition of hand-crafted floral artisan cakes. There are two live reality shows held daily in front of show audiences which feature friendly "competitions." Garden Wars® challenges two teams to build a complete garden in a 10 ft x 10 ft space, in under one hour. Container Wars pits two designers to create 3 lush planted containers in under an hour. The 2018 Northwest Flower & Garden Show will be held February 7–11, 2018 and the show theme is "Celebrate!" Tickets are available online at beginning November 1, 2017, and in retail outlets beginning December 1.[3]


The show was started in 1989 by Duane and Alice Kelly. Since its beginning, the Show’s venue has been the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. It was the first large public event ever held at the Convention Center. Duane Kelly has stated in interviews that he was inspired to start the show by visits he had made in the mid-1980s to the large flower shows in Philadelphia and Boston and by his own passion for gardening and the theater. In 2009 Duane Kelly sold the show to family-owned, Portland-based O'Loughlin Trade Shows,[4] which has continued the tradition of producing this beloved garden show.


Display Gardens[edit]

There are three medal levels presented to the display gardens by a panel of three prestigious judges: gold, silver, and bronze. Crystal medals were discontinued from judging in 2012. The show has other special awards that are given to display gardens by various judges[5]:

  • Founder's Cup (Best in Show) - Garden that is deemed “Best in Show” and a majority favorite of the 30 judges for the other awards listed below.
  • American Horticultural Society Environmental award - Garden that best demonstrates the bond between horticulture and the environment.
  • Ethel Moss People's Choice Award - Favorite garden as voted by the public.
  • Fred Palmer Garden Creator's Award - Garden voted the most accomplished by fellow Garden Creators.
  • Sunset Magazine Western Living Award - Garden that beautifully incorporates fresh, achievable ideas for outdoor living.
  • Fine Gardening Magazine award - Garden that best balances the ideals of inspiration and attainability.
  • Garden Design Magazine award - Garden that best showcases innovative design, horticultural acuity, and inventive productivity.
  • 425 Magazine Editor's Award
  • South Sound Magazine Editor's Choice Award
  • Best Use of Show Theme
  • Best Use of Color Award - Garden the best incorporates dramatic color from leaves, forced blooms and winter blooming plants.
  • Best Use of Horticulture Award - Garden that best incorporates plants incorporating color, texture, size and shape to enhance the garden’s theme.
  • Professional's Choice Award - Garden that best demonstrates excellence in design concepts, horticulture, and quality of execution reflecting the highest level of workmanship.
  • Millennial's Choice Award (formerly the X-Factor award)
  • Best Use of Natural Stone - Marenakos Award

Floral Competition/City Living[edit]

The Floral Competition is judged by floral professionals for first, second, and third place, along with People's Choice and Best Use of Show Theme. [6]

2011 Northwest Flower & Garden Show Small Space Showcase display (renamed City Living) by Ravenna Gardens.

The City Living display awards are:

  • Best Plant Material
  • Best Design
  • Best Use of Show Theme
  • Best Sanctuary
  • People's Choice Award
  • Fine Gardening Award[7]

Show Dates[edit]



External links[edit]