Round and Round the Garden

It’s showtime at Point Defiance and the great outdoors never looked prettier or more artfully cultivated.


For anyone who thinks green, has a passion for plants or likes to dig in the dirt, the Point Defiance Flower & Garden Show is a welcome rite of spring and a happy reminder that more (literally) fruitful days are just around the corner.

This year’s show, June 1-3, is all about outdoor living. The event’s planners promise ten acres of exhibits, workshops and entertainment inspired by the imperative to live not only with your garden, but in it, too.

As anyone who’s ever been there knows, it’s hard to imagine a setting more perfect: a celebration of gardening with splendid park-as-backdrop. “The absolute gorgeous setting of Point Defiance with all of the roses and gardens in bloom makes this different from other shows,” asserts Debi Schmid, who puts the event together. Are you going to argue?

Highlights this year include a gardener’s plant market, lectures by horticultural experts and local gardening icons and a children’s pavilion where kids can learn more about plants and gardening by digging in and getting their little hands really dirty.

Find refreshment at afternoon teas in the park’s historic pagoda or in the wine and beer garden. And enjoy many a marvelous model garden, small-scale (window boxes and hanging baskets; container gardens of no more than four feet square) and large (so-called “Grand Display Gardens,” comprising elaborate installations by noted South Sound nurseries and landscape designers). There’s also an indoor exhibit of floral designs and an outdoor sculpture garden.

John Sullivan, lead landscape designer at Olympic Landscape and Irrigation Company, will be among those competing in the Grand Display Gardens section, which is judged by garden writers, designers and community leaders. “The competitive aspect makes it fun,” says Sullivan. “And it’s always interesting to see how each designer puts a signature twist on the show’s theme.” Sullivan plans to create a fully equipped outdoor kitchen surrounded by a lush garden for over-the-top summer entertaining.

In addition to providing three days of nonstop gardening inspiration, the show also raises funds for ongoing maintenance and improvements at Point Defiance. This year proceeds will help develop “Ebenezer’s Heritage Garden.” “Ebenezer Roberts was the park’s first superintendent, beginning in 1905,” explains Schmid. “We’re honoring his memory and legacy by using plant lists from the period and replicating architectural details like fences and benches that he built.” An avid gardener, Roberts taught many people to love and appreciate nature. A century later, the enjoyment and renewal found in the urban gardens at Point Defiance are still keenly felt. ‹