Friday, January 30, 2009

Seattle's NW Flower & Garden Show Fading

(One of the multitude of display gardens that last year drew 54,000 to the NW Flower & Garden Show in Seattle)

What the &%$#!

Excuse my language but my son isn't in the room and I'm terribly bothered by the latest word that Seattle is losing its garden event of the year. Local papers report that if the Northwest Flower & Garden Show doesn't find a buyer it's likely dirt, and not the good, fresh, can grow anything kind.

This is horrible news considering since the show first bloomed in 1989, it has grown to be the second largest of gardening events in the country. My first visit was only last year and it was lovely, spectacular, informative ... I could go on and on!

This year's show is held Feb. 18-22 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in downtown Seattle. Now, with tickets in hand, I'm wondering if I'll have to plant a tree in memory of the event.

Another victim of the economy, right?

The show's owner, Duane Kelly, says he's been trying to sell it for "under $2 million," although it's worth sooo much more. He blames hard times and lack of new blood. The show drew 54,000 in 2008, down from a peak 84,000 visitors in 1999.

"The current downturn is only half the story. Kelly said the larger problem is an aging demographic that threatens the garden industry as a whole, reducing flower shows' ability to attract sponsors and visitors."

(A NW Flower & Garden Show display garden featuring water-wise plants like Hebes, Yuccas and several grasses)

Hey, I may be 31 but I'm not anywhere near pushing up daisies. And for quite some time there's been plenty of talk about the next generation of gardeners. We may not be traditional, but we're there.

So, how do we save our garden show? Shall we pool our resources and have a plant sale?


Gail said...

Thank you for faving me over at Blotanical! I am honored! I want to spend more time reading your blog...but i am supposed to be going to dinner...I will be back...sorry to hear you've lost your Flower show event! More back news about boomers aging (we really don't want to!) and the economy! gail

Gail said...

That was supposed to be bad news! gail!

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

Can you believe this? I just saw this too. I also have tickets and wasn't expecting this to be my last year. My husband and both girls and I really look forward to this. We consider it a family outing. I sure hope this doesn't really happen.

Karen said...

WTF? I'm swearing too here! Can't believe it!?! That would really suck. I'm trying to get back there this year for the first time in a while, would be really bummed if it died. I'm going to email you this weekend, week has been crazy - thanks for being up for brainstorming session if we can make schedules work this week!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

That is very sad news to hear, I have been going to that show for many years.

What a lovely late winter treat it was, to come into Seattle, see trees starting to bloom, and go inside and see trees in full bloom.



Gardeness said...

Gail: LOL! Rush, rush. I know the feeling. Yes, it doesn't look good for our little gathering. Thanks for the visit!

Catherine: Fingers crossed right? I'm so bummed. I guess I can trek to Tacoma for the garden show there. I've never been so it couldn't hurt!

Karen: I know! It's just wrong. I'm more than happy to help on the brainstorming. Just let me know. I'm a WAHM so the scheduling shouldn't be too tough. However, I'll have my 18-month-old so there's that ...

Hi Jen: Thanks for visiting. It will be a disappointment if it's lost. Our Emerald City is a gem. But from your pics it looks like you have many wonderful sights too!

shibaguyz said...

We agree that it would be sad to loose this fantastic gardening event. We have enjoyed going for the past several years and always come away with another degree of inspiration that improved the quality or style of our gardening.

Among a number of other issues that are apparent with the event, it is also becoming very unprofitable for vendors to put out that big of a display. They just aren't making back enough to validate what they are putting out in expenses.

Without the over the top displays, the show will not draw enough people to drive the sales to make for a profitable show. This trend is showing true in other trade shows throughout the Seattle area and many of them are scaling down or closing down altogether.


Jan said...

How sad you may lose a favorite garden show. I know I love going to the ones around here. I can't believe the garden industry is being so short-sighted. How do they expect to attract new business when they cut back on opportunities for people to see and learn about plants, landscaping ideas, and new introductions? What are they doing to cultivate gardening among consumers? I am not saying there are easy answers to these questions, but just continuing to cut back on products and services is not the way to survive hard economic times.

Always Growing

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

... they talk about closing the show - and I just only moved here! What a pity. I can't understand why aging would be a factor for closing, isn't that when you really have time to garden full-time?