Yesterday my friend Judy and I joined the Bellingham Senior Activity Center on an all-day trip south to attend Seattle's 2012 Flower and Garden Show. It is always held at the Washington Convention Center in downtown Seattle, so it's nice not to have to drive there in traffic and find a place to park for the day. We left Bellingham around 9:00am and arrived at the Convention Center before 11:00, after stopping to pick up some attendees in Burlington and making a stop at a rest area. Although the Hesselgrave bus had a bathroom, many of the seniors didn't want to use it. I could see why; many of them were pretty unsteady on their feet.
The first thing to see after passing through the massive display of flowers in bloom at the entrance are these lovely arrangements, dozens of them from different florists in the area. It was difficult to get good pictures of these because the windows looked out on outdoor scenes, but I fell in love with the beauty of this one and got a good picture. After entering the Convention Center proper, we had hundreds of booths to navigate, selling everything from gardening implements to yard art, tablecloths, t-shirts, you name it. We made a concerted effort to see every booth and stopped at many on our way to the display gardens in the center.
Dozens of landscape artists create these little scenes from scratch, making lovely areas that draw you in and let you feel what it would be like to have this scene in your own back yard. I think there were at least 25 different settings like this one. Some of them had running water making ponds and waterfalls. It's amazing to think of the effort that goes into this five-day-long show!
Here's another scene that capitalizes on the red bush, bringing out the red checkered curtains and red pump. It looked like there were people in the little house, but of course there was nobody "home." Or even another side to the wall! How they fit all this together with one display after another had to take some doing. Walking through these gardens to get to the next section (orchids and bulbs) took quite a long time, with lots of ooh-ing and aah-ing. But back to the flowers.
Did I mention the smells? With all these scenarios and gardens galore, the odors of flowers mingled with pine chips and fresh soil... I was a little worried when I realized I had forgotten my allergy medicine, in case I needed it, but I didn't have any problems at all. My nose was in heaven. Not to mention my eyes. In one of the gardens this cute little display of an "insect hotel," which is designed to attract beneficial insects in the garden, caught my eye.
All kinds of nooks and crannies, not to mention places that little birds might find of interest, too, and this is just a small portion of the hotel! I wonder if the ants and bugs send out invitations to their friends, telling them to come on over to the Insect Hotel. After we had our fill of the gardens, we headed over to the bulbs and orchid section of the show, filled with live plants and lots of bulbs to spruce up your own garden, and incredible displays of orchids. These two were some of my favorites.
I could almost imagine these to be faces under big showy hats, looking back at me as I snapped away with my camera. At 3:10pm we were to return to the place where we were dropped off, so that we could board our bus and start our journey north. One person didn't show up on time, but once she was located and we began our return trip, a light rain was falling on the windshield. We didn't care; we were snug inside warm and dry. We got back to the Senior Center before 6:00pm. It was a long day, but a very enjoyable one. Sometimes I think that four hours is not going to be enough time to see everything, but considering how tired I was when I got home, I realize it was just right.