Shock and sadness! NW Flower and Garden Show to close after 2009 run

I am sad to report that the only thing that gets most Puget Sound gardeners from the gloomy days of our Northwest winter through to spring – the NWFGS – will be closing after this year’s show. I never thought something like this was possible – but that’s because I did not know how it was organized.

NWFGS has been running for all of my adult life. In fact, I did not even discover the show until 2001, when I became a Native Plant Steward for the Washington Native Plant Society and was asked to volunteer at the Society’s booth. I bought my first home in 2001, and was also gardening in a p-patch, so my interest in gardening had reached critical mass and required feeding.

Believe it or not, I had actually planned to skip it this year since I am just gardening in pots at the moment, but now knowing it is the last year it will be here compels me to go. The display gardens smell so wonderful, and I really appreciate the creativity that goes into them. And of course, I love cruising the booths of all of the artists and garden shops.

Mourn with me and buy an advance ticket to save a few bucks.

Here is the press release.


January 26, 2009

Organizer Announces 2009 as Final Year of Northwest Flower & Garden Show

After 21 Year Run, Founder of Salmon Bay Events to Close Business,
Unable to Find Right Buyer for Nation’s Second-Largest Flower Show

SEATTLE – For more than two decades the Northwest Flower & Garden Show has inspired millions of individuals and families to embrace gardening with its dramatic display gardens and extensive seminar programs. In 2009, the event will make one last spectacular run before closing its doors forever.

“My wife Alice and I have decided that this year’s event will be our last as organizers and we are pulling out all of the stops to make it the best on record. We’ve enjoyed every minute of the past 21 years but are ready to pursue some other passions,” said Duane Kelly, chairman of Salmon Bay Events, the company that founded and owns the event.

Salmon Bay Events also owns and produces the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. The Northwest and San Francisco Flower & Garden Shows are the second- and third-largest flower shows, respectively, in the country; the largest is in Philadelphia. They have earned an international reputation for the quality of the display gardens, seminars, and commercial exhibits.

“We had hoped to sell the shows to buyers that are committed to maintaining their level of quality,” Kelly said. “However, to date, we have been unsuccessful.” Without a buyer emerging he will be closing the business following the 2009 shows.

The last Northwest Flower & Garden Show will be held Feb. 18-22 at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. The flower show was the first major event ever produced at the Convention Center. Over a million and a half people have attended the show since its inception. Annual attendance ranges between 60,000 and 80,000.

Kelly invites gardeners from throughout the Pacific Northwest to visit the 2009 show and celebrate over two decades of flower show magic. He wishes to thank the tens of thousands of people in the nursery and landscape industry, the gardening media, and the horticultural community who have supported the Northwest show over the last 21 years.

The theme of this year’s shows is “Sustainable Spaces. Beautiful Places.” The 26 display gardens will be first-rate – many offering inspiring ideas about sustainability in gardens. Sustainability will also be the focus of many of the 120 free seminars presented by speakers from around the world. For details and tickets visit the show’s website at

Kelly anticipates that “My Garden Spaces,” an on-line community recently launched as a year-round adjunct to the flower shows, will continue beyond the shows.

The cost of admission, which includes entrance to gardening seminars, is: $20 for adults; $9 for students 25 and under with valid student I.D.; $4 for kids ages 6 – 17; and free for children under 5. The shows run from Wednesday through Sunday. Advance tickets are also available at a discounted price of $16 for adults. Tickets can be purchased via the shows’ website with a special print-at-home option and at many local gardening retailers throughout the Pacific Northwest.


City Chickens

It is a new year and Seattle Tilth is starting to plan for the Annual City Chickens Coop Tour and they are looking for hosts.

This is an opportunity for you to show off those coops that you have hidden in your backyard and educate people about raising chickens in an urban environment!

This year’s tour will be on Saturday, July 11th, from 11 AM to 4 PM. Deadline for hosts is May 30, 2008 (this gives Seattle Tilth just enough time to get brochures printed)

They are looking for coops. And for those chicken and goat keepers out there… they would love to have you as well!!

If you are interested, please contact Seattle Tilth. If you know someone who might be interested, please forward this blog post to them so they have the contact information.

Also, enjoy this great Pacific NW cover story about city chickens published in the Seattle Times in 2002.

Angelina Shell, Program Coordinator
Seattle Tilth Association – 206-633-0451

Seattle Tilth inspires and educates people to garden organically, conserve natural resources and support local food systems in order to cultivate a healthy urban environment and community.

Just in case you missed it

GreenWorks Realty released it’s December (Q4) numbers a few days ago. It is compiled from Northwest Multiple Listing Service Sales information.

Environmentally certified homes (either Built Green, Energy Star, or LEED) are gaining in market share, most recently calculated to be nearly 30% of all homes built between September 2007 and December 2008 (in Seattle). Their square footage comes in slightly smaller, they sell for more (6% higher in the latest report) and spend almost 30% less time on the market.

Green homes are a draw to buyers today and those who seek these homes out are committed to buying green and move quickly to get the homes they want. The report also includes numbers for other King county cities, and some numbers for Everett and Snohomish county.

You can read our entire report, called “Green Certified and Non-Certified New Home Sales”, which includes many charts and graphs for people who like illustrations, here.

100 Reasons To Get Rid Of It

As if you needed an excuse to get rid of some of your crap…

Well maybe you do. And thanks to Martha Stewart, you now have an easy-to-read list of 100 reasons to get rid of your stuff.

The top 7 reasons why you should get rid of your stuff was Because You Have Too Much Stuff

1. 1.4 million Americans suffer from chronic hoarding & clutter.
2. People burn 55 minutes a day looking for things.
3. 80 percent of what we own we never use.
4. Pay someone else to take out the (big, cumbersome) trash. (We hired them to remove the chest freezer that seemed to have our old house built around it, it was so huge. We suffered some wall damage, but it was nice to have all that space)
5. Lock it up in more than 2,100 locations around the U.S. (Although you should just get rid of your stuff instead of paying RENT on storing it. Really – it is much cheaper.)
6. Schedule a pickup with your local Salvation Army.
(We always call Northwest Center since they always sent us postcards in the mail and all we had to do is leave our bags of stuff by the mailbox)
7. Find local recycling and reuse programs for all kinds of household items.

So stop finding ways to argue about why you are keeping ______________ (fill in the blank). For me it was several years’ worth of magazines. In fact, it will amuse you (but not Martha) that I finally gave away my prized collection of Martha Stewart Living magazines when moving from our house to our townhome 18 months ago. Here’s how I did it: I put an ad on Craigslist in “FREE STUFF”, and then put the bags and bags of mags on the front porch, and they were gone within hours. Hopefully to happy craft projects everywhere…

This post was inspired by today’s Organizing Tip of the Day email from Martha

Robert F. Kennedy Junior to Keynote 2009 Built Green Conference

Region’s most prominent green building event will focus on the role of green building practices in the changing economy

Seattle (January 23, 2009) – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will be the featured speaker at the March 6th, 2009 Built Green Conference at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Mr. Kennedy, a long-time environmentalist, chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeepers, and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, will speak to the ways businesses can utilize sound environmental policies and procedures to their benefit.

With a focus on green building and design practices, attendees of the 2009 Built Green conference will find practical information geared towards creating sustainable homes and communities. According to data from the Multiple Listing Service, homes featuring environmentally savvy designs have been selling for 4.8 percent more locally compared with non-green built homes. Four- and five-star Built Green certified homes sell an average of 24 percent faster than non-certified homes. Since the program began in 1999, Built Green has certified over 13,000 homes in King and Snohomish Counties.

“Homebuyers have become savvier about the benefits green building can provide, and are opting for green certified homes more frequently,” said Aaron Adelstein, executive director of Built Green of King and Snohomish Counties. “This conference will be the best resource for builders, designers and other professionals to find out about the value of green building – especially in the current economy.”

Speakers at the conference range from local builders specializing in green design and construction, to financial specialists who will discuss the role of green building in the economy, to marketing professionals who will address effective strategies for promoting green real estate projects and developments. Additional topics will include the market value of green-certified buildings and projects, financing solutions for energy efficiency retrofits, how to successfully market green-certified projects, and much more.

According to Adelstein, “We’ve been working on an agenda that addresses the practical needs of building professionals today. We’ve pulled together many of the top green building experts and thought leaders to ensure a truly worthwhile event.”

For information on this year’s Built Green conference, including registration and exhibitor information, visit

About Built Green
Built Green is an environmentally-friendly, non-profit, residential building program of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, developed in partnership with King County, Snohomish County, and other agencies in Washington State. The Built Green Web site ( provides consumers with easy-to-understand rating systems, which quantify environmentally friendly building practices for remodeling and new home construction, communities and multi-family development units.

FREE Living Green Series on the Eastside

I was contacted through my Green Spaces meetup group by Christina Dyson Farrell, the Assistant Park Ranger at the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue with information about the launch of a free Living Green Series that looks to have some exciting topics to be discussed over the course of several weeks this spring.

The Environmental Education Center itself was designed and built to have minimal impact on the environment. Special gutters, porous concrete and catchment ponds slow and filter water runoff at the site. Green roofs reduce impermeable surfaces and warming around buildings. Renewable, recycled, local materials, along with sustainably harvested wood were used in the construction of the buildings.

The city has applied for a silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating. LEED is a third-party certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The MSEEC construction page offers details about the construction of the complex and its green features.

I am excited to see the many presenters involved in this green series, since many I have met or taken classes from in the last 8 years myself! This information is taken from their flyer (saving you a click).

At the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center:

Living Green: Green Concepts – Jan 28
The City of Bellevue Utilities Department will present the Carbon Yeti, discuss recycling, local storm water issues, what you can do to help keep your streams clean and interesting wildlife information from a familiar salmon, the Pea-mouth minnow. In addition, Mark Johnson from Jones & Jones Architects & Landscape Architects will discuss the new Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center and various home improvements that you can make!

Powerful Choices – Feb 4 & 11
For two evenings, Puget Sound Energy will present Powerful Choices, inspiring participants to answer the questions, “What are the connections between my choices and the health of the Puget Sound ecosystem?” Through interactive experiences, participants will discover how transportation choices, purchasing choices, water use and electricity use all affect their local ecosystem.

Sustainable Design: Emerging Philosophies – March 4
Mark Johnson from Jones & Jones Architects & Landscape Architects will talk about using sustainable design and emerging philosophies on how buildings can teach. This workshop will look beyond the standard perspective of a building. He will discuss how using sustainable design, you can build the foundation to foster connections with the environment. Sustainable design can echo the connections to the local ecology by embracing energy conservation, materials selection, scale, daylight and more. Join this great discussion and impact the future!

Green Transportation – April 8
The City of Bellevue and partner organizations will present all of the green ways to get around Bellevue and beyond. You will learn about green cars,bicycle travel around town and public transportation as well as how to set up carpools. Discuss how these transportation choices not only reduce traffic congestion, but can save you money as well! Join us and hear about what you can do now to make your commute easier, greener and find
out what is coming up in the future.

EcoCool Remodel Tool – May 20
Looking for a convenient way to learn about how to make your home more green? Working on a green remodel? King County’s new EcoCool Remodel Tool provides a wealth of green remodeling information in one convenient online resource tool. Patti Southard will demonstrate the Remodel Tool, and answer green remodel questions. King County’s EcoConsumor Program educates residents on how to reduce their environmental impact through their purchasing decisions.

Classes being held at the Lake Hills Greenbelt Ranger Station:

Gardening for Wildlife – March 11
Using examples from his Whidbey Island wildlife sanctuary, author and wildlife biologist Russell Link will provide ways to design and maintain wildlife habitat around homes and properties. Topics will include timesaving approaches to landscape design and placement of nesting boxes, bat houses, bird feeders, ponds and specialty gardens.

Growing a Vegetable Garden – May 6
Join Willi Galloway, the creator of and the West Coast Editor or Organic magazine to get simple, step-by-step plans for building a raised bed, learn how to plant vegetables, young plants, sow seeds and care for them organically. Discover true and tried vegetable varieties that thrive in our cool Pacific Northwest summers!

And at the Lewis Creek Visitor Center:

Right Plants, Right Place – April 1
Spending lots of money at the nursery, but not getting the results you want? Prefer to plant it right the first time? Greg Rabourn will help you pick the best plants for your yard and help you avoid the high maintenance landscape trap. Smart design is healthy for your pocketbook and the planet.

Green building will save us!

Katharine Wroth, the story editor at Grist, posted a blurb on her blog this morning that caught my attention.

Finish what you didn’t start
As housing starts slump, green building gains steam

Amid news of an epic slump in housing starts — they fell 15.5 percent in December, to the lowest rate on record — this tidy
round-up of studies
says green building will save us! OK, it doesn’t quite say that, but it does show widespread support for green building, including for those sexy retrofits. Which is either my new band name or a column I’ll be writing this year. Stay tuned.

She’s a great writer and on the ball. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of her blog here.

GreenWorks Realty released it’s December (Q4) numbers a couple of days ago. It is compiled from Northwest Multiple Listing Service Sales information. Environmentally certified homes (either Built Green, Energy Star, or LEED) are gaining in market share, most recently calculated to be nearly 30% of all homes built between September 2007 and December 2008 (in Seattle). Their square footage comes in slightly smaller, they sell for more (6% higher in the latest report) and spend almost 30% less time on the market. Green homes are a draw to buyers today and those who seek these homes out are committed to buying green and move quickly to get the homes they want. The report also includes numbers for other King county cities, and some numbers for Everett and Snohomish county.

You can read our entire report, called “Green Certified and Non-Certified New Home Sales”. which includes many charts and graphs for people who like illustrations, here.

Catch the Green Living Project on tour in Seattle March 2009

Well, I keep finding new discoveries in the Facebook world, and this morning I got a message from one of the groups I am a member of, the Green Living Project. Evidently Planet Green (via Discovery Channel) featured Green Living Project™ on their home page yesterday, which does not happen every day. (Article here)

From the GLP lecture series home page ~

The Green Living Project Lecture Series is a must-see multi-media event for any Africa or South American enthusiast, adventure traveler, or sustainability advocate. In 2008, Green Living Project™ documented over 20 unique sustainability projects across 7 African countries including Uganda, Rwanda,Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Namibia.

For some strange reason, I feel like I have special knowledge of Africa. As a fan of “The Long Way Down”, I experienced Africa from the saddle of a motorcycle with Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman. I can’t believe they took this trip after their first one, called “Long Way ‘Round” , in which I kept tuning in to, just to see if they were going to survive the trip – especially across Siberia.
The music is amazing – I suspect MacGregor had a lot to do with the soundtracks, much like Zach Braff does for his films. The filmography is breathless, and the people they met and the things they experienced we also experienced almost as powerfully, just without the dust (or the taste of ox milk). THAT is good television. The DVD of the Africa trip is now available on Netflix.

Anyway, back to the Green Living Project – it can be experienced “live” as a multimedia event at REI in Seattle and Redmond and also the Green Festival in March – seriously just around the corner, so mark your calendar for March 25th – 28th. In 2008, Green Living Project™ documented over 20 unique sustainability projects across 7 African countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Namibia.

I don’t need Ewan MacGregor and a motorcycle to get me to watch this.

This inspiring multi-media presentation focuses on unique sustainability projects including community development, water conservation, organic farming, women’s empowerment, solar and biogas renewable energy programs, mountain gorilla, cheetah, leopard, rhino and hyena conservation projects, eco-tourism and responsible adventure travel destinations. Join us to learn about responsible adventure travel in these fascinating countries and how you can get directly involved with these exciting projects.

Dear Jim and Kim, Frustrated Condo Shoppers

I had something unusual happen yesterday – something I have always joked about to my friends and neighbors. When taking my cute little dog for a walk around the neighborhood I would be trolling for clients…

Yesterday around 4 pm I took Sophia for a “spin around the block”, just to stretch our legs and get a break. I had moved my Sunday open house to Saturday to sync with my husband’s schedule since he had to drive to Portland Saturday – so we both were tied up Saturday and could spend Sunday together.

As I walked down SW Raymond I noticed a Toyota Prius park on one of the side streets. Prius’ are not uncommon in my Built Green neighborhood of High Point in West Seattle. But people headed for the “view point” of downtown Seattle directly from a car was a little less usual.

Being the neighborly sort, I approached them and asked if they had any questions. Kind of cheeky, but this neighborhood hosts so many tour groups (national and international), and I have led many tours of the community myself, it is a natural tendency of mine to offer assistance. I disclosed immediately that I was a resident and also a real estate agent. They said they saw a 1-level condo online and were curious. As we walked and talked I learned Jim manages a big downtown building and Kim works for a highly-respected architectural firm. They want to have a better commute downtown, since they are currently driving from the north end. Since I used to do that commute over a decade ago, before moving to West Seattle, I could completely sympathize.

I offered to show them the unit for sale in the building across from mine – forgetting momentarily there was more than one 2 bedroom suite for sale in my subassociation of Redwood High Point. The unit at 2830 SW Raymond had expired as a for sale listing and now was for rent. I stopped by my home office and printed out the listing and called the agent then proceeded to show them the unit.

It’s a great top floor suite, nice entry, vaulted ceilings, great deck with a 270 degree view of downtown, including downtown and the Cascades. 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, gourmet kitchen and all SS appliances, kitchen / office nook, etc. The initial listing had expired and now it was advertised for rent but had “purchase option available” in the comments.

It was not to their taste. Even though the floor plan is 1,275 square feet it didn’t feel that way to Kim, and I sense that they would like something with more high-end interior finishes. They stressed “one level home”, and when I said it was hard to find new homes that were not townhomes, they said they weren’t hung up on “new”, which was good news. I picked up on “bus route” since 1/2 mile (it’s about 5 blocks) to the bus stop seemed too far. I also heard “elevator” in there, and obviously they would like a home with a view, since that is what drew them to the High Point neighborhood in the first place. It goes without saying West Seattle has some of the best real estate values inside the city limits and it would be perfect for a downtown commute, especially with the water taxi going full time in 2010.

So, Jim and Kim, since I’ve not been able to stop thinking about my accidental meeting with you yesterday, I am performing “self-therapy”. Maybe one of your colleagues will solve the mystery I’ve created and tell you about this blog post. Then you will have an online preview of the homes I would show you. Since I gave you my card you might call me up and give me an excuse to play hooky from my Sunday open house next week. The world is full of possibility for all of us!

I am a good listener…
Square footage may be an issue, since some of these are actually smaller than the home you saw yesterday – but it is all about layout, so try to forget about the numbers. But otherwise:
Elevator – check!
One level condo – check!
View – check! (if not from the unit, then from the rooftop of the building)
On bus route – check!
Price? – I kept it under $500k, since the unit you came out to see was in the low $300s and we did not discuss anything financial.

So it will be fun to see if anything comes from this. At least now I got this off my chest, and I can get on with my day! I am preparing a tour of Environmentally Certified homes in West Seattle – let me know if you would like to join me.

A view of downtown Seattle as seen from High Point View Point Park.