Every year, thousands of people converge on the Washington State Convention Center for the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, a five-day event celebrating all things gardening and horticulture. People come from all over the region to attend and browse the 300 exhibitor booths and 25 incredible, complete gardens. This year I met people who traveled all the way from Oregon, Canada, Montana, and Minnesota—I even met a woman who flew in from Hawaii! The show features local nurseries like Swansons, companies like Cedar Grove (that make gardening products), booths with brooms and shears, artwork for the garden, clothing, and more! Add some seminars, classes, and a main demonstration stage, and you quickly realize there’s a lot of great stuff going on.
Of course, Dunn DIY isn’t a gardening blog, but we do have a lot in common with the hobby. Gardening and DIY pair pretty well together: they’re both about design, empowerment—about making it yours. And of course, as the weather warms up, our projects are often garden- or backyard-related (like the adirondack chair or our life-size Jenga set).
We’re the booth you don’t totally expect to see at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, and though we’re more of a surprise, it makes us happy to fit into such a community. There are a lot of people who are intimidated by gardening and can’t keep plants alive, while there are also people intimidated by DIY who feel like they can’t hammer a nail in straight. That's okay. We're here to make it understandable and easy, and to remind people that they can.
The show was made up of exhibitor booths (like ours) and competition gardens. People set up these elaborate gardens—at least a dozen of them—that look as though they’ve been transplanted straight from a real landscape. One even had a tiny river flowing through it with a picnic set up on the edge! Another garden had a fake back door, with a porch and flower beds surrounding it. The competition gardens had the traditional lights turned down low in favor of spotlights, which were used to highlight these impressive and beautiful environments. They all looked so impressive! I don’t have the greenest thumb, but browsing the incredible displays definitely gave me a bolt of inspiration.
We’ve attended the show for several years now, so we keep learning and making improvements to our booth based on what has worked well, and what has not. We were definitely more on-point this year than we ever have been in the past. In previous years, most of the items in our booth were from outdoor-themed projects. This year, everything in our Dunn DIY booth was either garden- or backyard-related, which made the whole presentation way more cohesive.
My favorite part of the Dunn DIY booth though was definitely the life-size Jenga game we had running all day (as far as projects go, it’s the easiest one we’ve ever done, which makes it great for DIY beginners). It was such a great way to interact with people and keep ourselves entertained too. People would slow down as they walked by the booth and wander in to take a turn. It was a lot of fun.
I want to tell you about my favorite moment of the whole show. On Saturday afternoon, a family came into the booth with a 11-year-old daughter. The mom told me her daughter is a huge fan of Dunn DIY, and that she had wanted to come over to the booth because she has watched all our YouTube videos and wanted to meet me! That’s never happened to me before, so it was completely unexpected, and it made my day. She told me her favorite project was the cloud light. (I can understand why. It’s one of my favorite projects too.)
Running an online blog puts me behind a kind of digital wall; I don’t get to watch people’s reactions when they see the finished project, and I only ever get to interact with people when they comment on a post. That’s why I love doing the Northwest Flower & Garden Show—it gives me an opportunity to meet so many people and hear their DIY stories firsthand!
There’s the people you talk to at the show who are obviously doing DIY already and want a resource they can trust, from a brand they trust. There's nothing better than the moment you meet the person who has been waiting for something like Dunn DIY, and we get to make that introduction. I love talking to people like that, because those are the people we’re doing this for.