Solving Design Challenges with Style: Artistic Inspiration for Every Garden

Here’s a gardening truism: No two gardens are the same; and no two days in the garden are the same. Your garden is ever changing, as are your needs for your garden over time.

Our leading designers and horticulturists will show you how to look at your garden with the eye of a professional, so you can discover the root of your garden’s problems along with possible solutions to address those problems. Learn how to get more from your landscape while still expressing your individual style. There’s no need to settle for a garden that doesn’t bring joy to your life!
The Seminars by Category are listed in chronological order. Please check the Seminar Schedule for a full list of ALL our seminars.

All seminars at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival are FREE with your ticket!

Buy Tickets Early and Save!

Designing Mind: An Insider’s Look at Making Award-winning Chelsea Gardens
Sarah Eberle—2022 Show Judge and acclaimed Chelsea Flower Show designer

British garden and landscape designer Sarah Eberle knows what it’s like to design gardens that not only have to please a client – it also must please tens of thousands of passionate British gardeners as well. And since she is the most highly decorated RHS garden designer, she knows what it takes to design a winning garden. Sarah will give us a preamble behind the scenes of the world’s oldest and most venerable garden show, and a look at her 12 – yes 12 – Gold medals at this acclaimed event.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 10:00 am / Rainier Room

Sarah Eberle's appearance sponsored by the
Northwest Horticultural Society

Backyard Bliss: Transform Neglected Garden Structures Into a Floral-Festooned Studio
Cynthia Zamaria—Home and garden creative and author, House + Flower: Reviving Forgotten Homes + Abandoned Gardens

Interior and floral stylist Cynthia Zamaria brings her designer’s eye and a flowers-first approach to garden renovation. With sustainable, budget-friendly and DIY techniques as her guide, Cynthia shares a picture-packed presentation about reinventing small, challenging spaces into outdoor living rooms with distinct areas for entertaining, working and growing blooms. Learn to create your own backyard bliss by reimagining your garden and outdoor spaces by using what you’ve got and Cynthia's practical ideas.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Cultivating Delicious: Plan and Plant for Warm and Cool Season Edibles
Lorene Edwards Forkner—Author, Beginner’s Guide to Growing Great Vegetables and gardening contributor for The Seattle Times

Whether you’re new to growing or a well-seasoned green thumb, cultivating a garden in the Pacific Northwest is a continuing education as well as a nearly constant feast. Learn to get the most from your plot by planning and planting for both warm and cool growing seasons. Discover how to integrate edibles with ornamental plantings along with small garden-friendly strategies designed to produce maximum flavor from any size plot.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 2:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Demand More from Your Garden: Multi-tasking Landscape Elements and Hard-Working Plants
Margie Grace—Award-winning founder and principal, Grace Design Associates and author, Private Gardens of Santa Barbara

Having a garden is very nurturing, but it can take a lot of work. Manual labor, late nights poring over the garden books or the internet, and pests and diseases. Why not max out the benefits of your blood, sweat, and resources with tips and techniques from Margie’s “work smarter, not harder” handbook? Margie shares her own tricks of the trade to make sure the elements are on your side as you create your own resilient garden of enduring beauty.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 4:30 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Reconnect with Nature: Rewild Your Garden!
Jessi Bloom—Award-winning owner, NW Bloom, author Creating Sanctuary and co-author, Practical Permaculture Design

Our gardens balance between our domestication of the land and it wanting to be wild, making our role as stewards important to create compassionate harmony with flora and fauna and find benefits for ourselves. Learn how to rewild your garden and edit the space to make it more natural, wildlife friendly, and easier to care for. With the uncertainty of climate change, unpredictable weather is making this shift this more important than ever. Jessi will cover step-by-step instructions as well as the best plants to use in the Pacific Northwest for the rewilding of your garden.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 6:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Hospitality Begins at the Street: The Power of a Welcoming Entry Design
Phillip WaiteFormer University Educator in Landscape Architecture

The hospitality we extend to our friends and guests starts not at the front door of our homes, but at the street. The entire arrival sequence should be carefully designed and orchestrated to create a sense of welcome. Whether designing a new landscape or renovating an existing one, this seminar will equip the homeowner/designer with principles based in psychology and design to create an experience of gracious welcome.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 6:30 pm / Hood Room

Beyond the Basics: Designing an Enchanting Garden
Karen Chapman—Owner, Le Jardinet, award-winning co-author, Fine Foliage, Gardening with Foliage First and author, Deer-Resistant Design

Gardens should be experienced, not just observed. Yet how do we design a garden to be more experiential? Designer Karen Chapman shows you how to do this by finding ways to fully engage all the senses, but also to pique curiosity and engage the imagination. Using examples from her travels to outstanding public and private gardens across the country she will explore ways to transform your garden into an enchanting, captivating retreat, with ideas for gardens and budgets of all sizes.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 9:30 am / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Designing With Color, Texture and Form for Visionary Effects
Tracy DiSabato-Aust—2022 Show Judge, horticulturist, designer and best-selling author, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden

In a well-designed border, we often notice the beauty of the combinations of plants more than the individual plants themselves. To achieve this sense of interplay, it’s useful to think about an artistic approach to color and visual texture: the patterns created by the lines and forms of combined leaves, branches, and flowers. Instead of using threads or yarns to weave texture, gardeners can stitch together the varied colors and patterns of plants to create living tapestries. Join Tracy for this dynamic and creative discussion on the use of color, texture, and form in the garden that will elevate your designs to visionary status.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 10:00 am / Rainier Room

Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s appearance sponsored by the

Bellevue Botanical Garden Society


Queen of the Garden Shed: A Designer Reinvents Tool Sheds Into Floral Escapes
Cynthia Zamaria—Home and garden creative and author, House + Flower: Reviving Forgotten Homes + Abandoned Gardens

Interior and floral stylist Cynthia Zamaria reveals romantic floral studios transformed from run-of-the mill tool sheds. Connecting with a desire to have one's own grown-up play house, these structures capture the imagination for anyone who wishes to carve out a creative and contemplative garden space. A flower retreat is an architectural anchor in the garden, decorated inside with a designer’s eye. This beautiful presentation is filled with gorgeous images, helpful tips and easy DIY projects.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 11:00 am / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Gardening for Resilience: Responding to Current and Future Threats

Sarah Eberle—2022 Show Judge and acclaimed Chelsea Flower Show designer

These past few years the climate has become more unpredictable. Some areas in the Northwest reached record-breaking temperatures in the summer of 2021, burning plants beyond repair with scalding sunshine. Winters are getting colder and harsher. What can a gardener do to ensure that their garden is adapted to the ever-changing climate? British garden and landscape designer Sarah Eberle reviews key steps to take to prepare for a garden that was once happily suitable for the climate, and now suffers from weather events that are unpredictable.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 11:30 am / Rainier Room

Ground Rules: Lessons for Growing a More Glorious Garden
Kate Frey—Award-winning garden designer and author of The Bee-Friendly Garden and Ground Rules

Some of us seem to be born with an interest in gardening, others come to it later in life. Whether you are experienced or a novice, there is much to learn in order to create and maintain a successful garden. Ground Rules contains 100 essential “rules” for you to discover and use, such as healthy soil, the best ways to water, and garden care and maintenance. Taken as a whole, these ground rules offer a system of best practices and design considerations that address every aspect of gardening.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Heart and Soul: Expressing Your Personality in the Garden
Margie Grace—Award-winning founder and principal, Grace Design Associates and author, Private Gardens of Santa Barbara

Do you want to add a little whimsy in the garden, some unique hidden surprises or unexpected moments, while still maintaining its overall visual appeal and integrity? Margie will show you how to incorporate your own unique personality and taste into an elegant and timeless landscape that shows off your personality with flair, from choosing plants with attitude to selecting finishes and details that bring the “WOW factor.”

Thursday, Feb 10 at 1:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

There Is No “Right Way” to Garden
Loree Bohl—Author of Fearless Gardening and blogger,

Have you ever felt gardening is just a long list of things to do, and not do? Loree calls these rules the “Gardening Commandments” and worries you may be tempted to follow them—after all, if they’re what the experts believe, who are we to question? Gardens are individual creations, however. What works in one may not work in another. Loree will humorously take you through a some of these Commandments and share other ways to look at the “rules” of gardening.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 5:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Tricky Places: Fit Your Garden to Your Lifestyle Like a Glove
Mary Palmer Dargan—Landscape architect, botanist and author of Timeless Landscape Design

Now you can maximize the impact of your home environment with timeless landscape design techniques. Engage the four-part master plan to create seamless flow on your property. Integrate the 8 lifelong landscape design techniques to support your lifestyle so you can reach your highest purpose in life. Enjoy useful tricks of the trade gleaned from Mary Palmer’s 45 years of experience in the trenches of landscape design, from terrace building to water harvesting to the skillful use of art elements and design principles.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 6:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Create a Garden You Love
Loree Bohl—Author of Fearless Gardening and blogger,

If your garden doesn’t bring you joy, what’s the point? It sounds so simple, but sometimes we forget that pleasing ourselves is reason enough to do something. In this photo-rich seminar Loree will guide you through multiple ways you can go about surrounding yourself with a garden you love. She’ll share examples from her own Portland garden, as well as others from her garden travels. Warning! You may leave inspired to make changes in your garden.

Friday, Feb 11 at 11:00 am / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Placemakers Landscape Design: Unleash the Potential in Your Land
Mary Palmer Dargan—Landscape architect, botanist and author of Timeless Landscape Design

Your property holds great potential if you know how to unleash it. In 10 easy steps, learn to observe your land, map its salient features, record the elements, develop a wish list, create a plant matrix, define how to shape areas with pathways, create flat land with terraces, create shade with arbors and add magic with lighting and fountains. Then explore the guidelines on how to design a master plan to implement your dream garden. You’ll learn the language of the land and how to define your personal landscape pattern language.

Friday, Feb 11 at 1:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Design Dilemmas & Savvy Solutions
Karen Chapman—Owner, Le Jardinet, award-winning co-author, Fine Foliage, Gardening with Foliage First and author, Deer-Resistant Design

Some gardens (and gardeners) present significant challenges: plant lust run amok, an established focal point that has no sense of “place,” or a hodge-podge of multi-colored plants that better resemble grandmas crazy quilt than a well curated collection. Learn how to creatively solve these and other common design problems while also discovering how to break at least some design rules (because most of us are rebel gardeners at heart). Laugh as you learn how to make the best of a bad situation.

Friday, Feb 11 at 3:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Inspired Garden Design Lessons from Magnificent Gardens
Kerry Ann Mendez—Award-winning speaker, garden designer and author of 4 gardening books, including The Right-Size Flower Garden

Do you visit gardens, both private and acclaimed public gardens, and think you could never achieve that? Think again! Kerry Ann will show you how stunning gardens can be a classroom, emphasizing striking design essentials that elevate gardens from ordinary to sublime, regardless of the hardiness zone or sunlight conditions. She will cover how good design elements such as texture, movement, color, repetition, focal points and vertical elements, can elevate any garden. Steal from the best!

Sunday, Feb 13 at 11:00 am / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

The Gardener's Seven Deadly Sins
Greg Butler, BLA, ATADesigner, educator, and owner Design of the Times

Laugh and learn from the blunders of a highly over-educated garden professional, as well as those of his colleagues, clients, and fellow homo sapiens. We’ll cover a litany of transgressions and tragedies including design fails, maintenance follies, control freaks run amok, terminal plant lust, and more. Remember, it's always better to learn from someone else's mistakes than from your own!

Sunday, Feb 13 at 3:00 pm / Hood Room