February 9th-13th, Seattle Convention Center. The Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, in a word, spectacular. As things do when time passes, change occurs. It had been two years since the famed trade show had opened its doors to magnificent displays of human triumph over nature, bringing elaborate gardens indoors for a little under a week. Happy eyed vendors (masks required indoors makes smiling a bit harder) occupied booths, eagerly awaiting interactions and questions from potential customer and passersby alike. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and from what I can gather, that’s very true of the much beloved Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
Our booth sat near the East entrance in the 200 section sandwiched between incredibly sharp knives, purposefully glowing rock décor and a competitor’s larger wooden greenhouse model. Despite our differences, we remained friendly with our fellow greenhouse enthusiasts. For unlike our friends across the aisle, we had a little trick up our sleeves. You see, days before our scheduled set up date the vendor next to us dropped out. Ever professional, those responsible for running the show did not want an empty space if they could avoid it. Luckily for them, we also sell polycarbonate sheets under our label “The Polycarbonate Store”. Acting quickly, Charley decided we were to use both booths and promote both facets of our business here at Charley’s Greenhouse and Garden. Our display model was a classic BC Greenhouse Cottage, white trim with glass walls and polycarbonate roofing equipped with aluminum bar capping and solar activated roof vents. This 8’x10’ beauty left quite the impression on those who stopped by to see our made in house potting and wire top benches supporting a wide variety of display plants meant to inspire. Well, inspire it did. Many a customer approached us at our podium expressing they had a greenhouse or if they already had one, that it was a bit bigger. More so, our greenhouse space provided a cosey environment where people could come and have a seat surrounded by plants and the gentle breeze provided by our fans. A small place to escape incase the trade fare and crowds got to be too much.
Though I was only there on the opening day, I had quite the experience. So many people out and about, some there with exact purpose, others there seemingly just to have something to do. Either way, it seemed everyone was having a good time. If you needed something garden related, you could find it there. If you wanted to see some indoor garden displays featuring beautiful and exotic plants, look no further. Have you ever wondered what a line of dresses made of floral arrangements looked like, I hadn’t either, but they had it and they were awesome! They even had a vendor selling packaged meat snacks offering 25’ of meat sticks for $20. Yes, I tried some free samples, they were pretty good. The dill pickle flavored meat stick was a bit, different, but hey to each their own. Personally, I love a good pickle, but a pickle pepperoni? No thank you, picklronis I can safely say are not for me. Back to actual gardening equipment and accoutrement, booths were offering everything from seeds and plants to the soil you plant them in and all the way to decorative blown glass accent pieces to help make you garden even more a piece of art. I had to utilize a lot of self-control walking around that convention and my wallet thanks me for it. All the plant vendors had such lush, healthy vibrant plants for inside and out. I left with a string of pearls, but I wanted a whole lot more. Most people walking around had those long sticks with small flower buds that are apparently trees they’re safe keeping in their purse until they get home. At least that’s what one lady told me when I finally broke down and asked what exactly these long twigs sticking out from purses and bags extending at least two feet above the head of those holding them. If you saw them, you know what I’m talking about. If you do happen to understand the subject of my previous ramblings, leave a comment down below!
We had many visitors at our booth during my one day at the show and I’m informed we were still popular despite my absence the other days. Our visitors ranged from those who wondered if Charley would be making an appearance, some who wanted to talk polycarbonate and even those who wanted to buy our display model! But by far, my favorite interactions were with those who came by just to say hello and that they’ve loved their greenhouse kit they bought from us. So many phones held up for us to see pictures of people’s greenhouses in action with the proud “got this from you a while back” comment that was sure to follow. Side note, we here at Charley’s love hearing from our customers, satisfied or not we love to celebrate your happiness or try and help make you happy! If you have any pictures of greenhouses or other projects we’ve assisted with over the years, send them to me @ Bbill@Charleysgh.com! The pictures make all of us at the Charley’s team so happy and sharing them with our friends and family on social media just spreads the joy we all get out of gardening in our greenhouses! It was such a pleasure to attend this event and meet all the lovely people who’ve used our services in the past. Though I’ve not been here long, it’s nice to see how much people love the company. It was also nice to see people out and about! I like hanging out around the house as much as anybody but with last years show having been canceled it was great to see such a turnout. No one ever knows what the turn out will be at shows like this so it’s encouraging from a business perspective to see that people are still interested in attending. From a personal standpoint it’s nice to see people again out in public having a good time in each other’s company.
I also truly cannot understate how impressive the large displays were at this event. An entire greenhouse display was dedicated to orchids of different varieties. Every color of orchid was on display to dazzle both the eyes and nose. Multiple gardens were brought into the main concourse sprouting various local flora really showing off just how beautiful a natural garden can be. There was even a fully functioning pool and water fountain complete with a grassy sitting area and a stone paver walkway, all of which of course, was inaccessible to the public. It was fun to look at though! I’d kill for an indoor waterfall sitting area, talk about stress relief.
But, if you cant afford an indoor waterfall tranquility area, a greenhouse can be a pretty nice alternative. They give you a bit of a reprise from the chaos of the world by creating a small microclimate that’s controlled entirely by you. I know this is supposed to be about the trade show, but in my defense, we did set up a pretty nice booth with a very peaceful greenhouse in which I had my lunch. If you missed us this time around, don’t worry too much, something tells me we’ll be back next year. If you can’t wait that long, you can find us at the Seattle Home & Garden show from February 26th through March 6th. We won’t have quite as much space for our display but believe me when I say you’re going to like the display we set up. One of our Cedar Heritage Greenhouses will occupy the corner of a 5,000 square foot indoor garden being set up at the show. This impressive display will be a collaboration of different vendors all set together on a wonderful man made garden that will leave you wishing you could hire a professional gardener to lay and maintain sod throughout your home. Well, maybe not, but you will be impressed rest assured.
Hopefully you’ll be able to join us at our next event! The Home and Garden show lasts a bit longer, 9 days in total, two weekends with a work week in-between. Located down in the Stadium District, the show is being held at the Lumen Field Event Center. Parking should be a little easier on you for this upcoming show, I for one had a 15 minute or so walk between where I found parking and the convention center during the flower and garden show. Don’t get me wrong, the Seattle Convention Center is a great venue and run by wonderful people I’m sure, but the parking garage was full by the time I arrived. Despite this, the show was a real success from our perspective and from what we observed on the shows end as well. We are always thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful and informative event filled with such wonderful people. We all hope you enjoyed our booth and were able to get all questions you had answered. If not, like I said, we’ll be back in the Seattle are before you know it. If you can’t wait, we are always available on the phone, by email or in person at our shop up here in scenic Mt. Vernon. The annual Skagit Valley Tulip festival is coming up soon in April, we won’t be setting up a special booth or anything, but we will be right down the street so feel free to pop in!
As always, thank you for reading. This article may have been less informative for actual greenhouse purposes, but it was fun to write! This trade show was a great time for us and I hope those of you who were able to make it down there had fun as well! See you again next week!