Getting Kids Out Into Nature

2015 Northwest Flower and Garden Show

2015 Northwest Flower and Garden Show
Bird and Bee Friendly Garden

Romance! Flowers! Lush greenery! Excitement! My kids and I love the Flower and Garden Show. We look forward to it every year, and enjoy seeing the display gardens, shopping in the marketplace, learning from the seminars, and getting a jump-start on spring. This year Grandma got to spend the day with us, and it made our outing even more special.

We learned from our mistakes in years past and arrived well before the show opened. We had no trouble with traffic or parking in the Convention Center lot. The first couple of hours we spent wandering around the display gardens, trying to find the wooden hearts (a treasure hunt for the kids – the prize this year was much more satisfying than last, with both the kids choosing sweet purple violet plants to take home) and marveling in the design talents of local garden professionals.

2015 northwest flower and garden show
Orchid Society Garden

The kids thought the Orchid garden was their favorite. I was torn between the Steampunk themed garden and the Birds and Bees themed garden. [Steampunk Garden was designed by Whitby Landcare and Design, and won the Ethel Moss People’s Choice Award. The Bird and Bee garden was designed by West Seattle Nursery and won three awards. Congratulations!]

2015 northwest flower and garden show
Steampunk Design
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Steampunk Patio
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Bee Friendly
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Planted Hanging Jars
2015 flower and garden show
Silly Kids

There were many other interesting elements, such as the huge moon with owls in front, the spinning rock sphere fountain, and the way sedums were used in designing this year.

2015 northwest flower and garden show
Owls and the Moon
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Gnome Garden
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Plants in Glasses
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Happy Sedums
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Well
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Whimsical Gate
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Stone Sphere Fountain
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Giant Sedum Heart

We were impressed by the smaller displays in the sky bridge, too, particularly the colorful blues in the sitting area designed by Ravenna Gardens.

2015 northwest flower and garden show
Cool Blue Patio
2015 northwest flower and garden show
Blue Details

 

We weren’t the only ones who admired this display, as they won the People’s Choice Award!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology came to the show for the first time this year. They partnered with Subaru, and we delighted at the huge bird feeder and bird house that anchored the display.

2015 northwest flower and garden show, cornell lab of ornithology
Giant Bird Feeder
2015 northwest flower and garden show, cornell lab of ornithology
Informational Bird House

We chatted with one of the Cornell staff, and received a Project FeederWatch poster, some info on a class we can take online about birds, and a reminder about the Merlin Bird ID app.

Birds and gardening go hand in hand, and we are trying to make our yard more bird friendly. With that thought in mind, we attended a seminar put on by David Mizejewski, Naturalist, Blogger, Author, and Media Personality. His talk was interesting and informative, and we got some more ideas to put into practice in our own yard. For instance, I learned that I need to be doing a better job cleaning my bird bath, and that vinegar and water make a good non-toxic cleaner. David has a book out, Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife, which I look forward to checking out. Meeting him was one of the highlights of our day!

2015 northwest flower and garden show
The kids and I with David Mizejewski

The National Wildlife Federation website has lots of info about wildlife that kids will find interesting. One of our goals this year is to get our yard certified as a wildlife habitat. We are pretty close, I think, so I need to fill out the paperwork and become official. Of course, there is always more we can improve on, and I’ve found that my kids are more interested in getting out into the garden with me if they think we are doing something to help birds or other creatures.

The children’s area was much better this year than last. It was sponsored by Farmer Frog, a local non-profit that helps facilitate small intensive gardens at schools and other community areas. As I asked more questions, I found that one of the founders is a family at our alternative school, and they are already working with the District to come up with a plan for getting gardens at our school and several others in our district. Annika did 2 crafts there, built with Lego, and rested on the benches around the garden display.

2015 northwest flower and garden show, farmer frog
Family Gardening Area

I do miss the years past when the Seattle Children’s Playgarden designed the kids area. They gave lots of space for kids to dig, plant, pet animals, and even run and play a bit, while taking a break from the garden show. We found that the sensory activities were soothing and rejuvenating, and my kids have missed those activities recently.

We stayed at the show until our energy was depleted and our feet were sore and tired. We put in a full day! It was an inspirational outing, and it was neat to be able to share the time with Grandma. We are already looking forward to next year!

 

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