If you've been to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, which opens this year on February 8 in Seattle, you've seen the remarkable display gardens that form the centerpiece of the show. These gardens look as though they have been there for years, with rock outcroppings, stone stairs, meandering paths, fully mature plant material, waterfalls, ponds, garden sheds, seating areas, gazebos, arbors, and lush blooms. But in fact, it's all an illusion. These gardens haven't been there long at all - the teams who design and build these gardens have only 72 hours from the time they enter that huge empty space at the Convention Center until the opening of the show.
I've been to this show many times in the past 20 years, as a visitor, as an exhibitor and as a helper with garden construction. Of all my experiences with the Flower and Garden Show, my favorite has always been having the opportunity to be there when the gardens are built. It is magical to see them evolve and it gives me an even greater appreciation for the people who bring us this event every year.
Here's a glimpse behind the scenes: