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.


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