Chickens aren’t a fad – they’re here to stay. At least, I think so. So I liked "The Dinner Bell Rings: Eat Your Yard" by Cascadian Edible Landscapes. It was cute (combine chickens and an old VW and how can you go wrong?) and won a bronze medal at the show.

Thanks to this past weekend’s trip to Seattle for the NW Flower & Garden Show, I feel like it’s spring!

I couldn’t make it to the media preview event, but I did get some time on the show floor Thursday morning, before it opened to the public. It’s great because the lights are on and it’s much easier to take photos that don’t look like they’re undersea. Why are the lights so darned dim for these garden shows, anyway?

This year’s Seattle show succeeded in inspiring thousands of visitors – me included. Of course, you can’t help responding to the sight, color and scent of daffodils, tulips, and spring flowering shrubs, all pressed into bloom a couple of months early. But I find the Seattle show is especially good at providing actual design inspiration. Every year, there are about a dozen small vignettes in the bright corridor between the two main exhibition halls, at least a couple of which are dreamy enough to inspire admiring crowds of visitors to stand gawking (and blocking the passage).

The display gardens always include a few truly inspiring arrangements and this year, as in the past, I found some knock-out examples of container plantings and even some plants I hadn’t seen before. (Judith Jones’ Fancy Fronds Nursery in Gold Bar, WA presented some great ferns from her collection that I’d never seen except in books.) And there were some creative, thoughtfully presented demonstration gardens that looked like real gardens, not plants stuck in bark dust, including the gold medal winner garden called Birdsong, created by the Washington Park Arboretum and Seattle Audubon.

Check out the slide show to see some of the most inspiring images from this year’s show!