Another Northwest Flower & Garden Festival (NWFGF) is in the books, and I know I say this every year, but I truly think the 2018 NWFGF was the best one yet. For those of you who haven't been (there's always 2019!), the NWFGF is a five-day event at the Washington State Convention Center that celebrates all things gardening. People come from all over the region to immerse themselves in more than 300 exhibitor booths, as well as two-dozen complete (and I do mean complete—there were chirping birds and flowing streams) garden displays. The displays are truly magical; I have memories of attending the show with my mom when I was a kid, and I could never understand how they brought the outside inside. It's always so fun to see what's new and exciting in the world of flowers and gardens, and I love the opportunity to visit all of my favorite nurseries (hi Swansons!) in one place. 

Dunn DIY isn't a gardening blog, but we are gardening-adjacent. There's a lot of crossover, and for me, it's equally as empowering to grow something from the earth (even though I'll be the first to admit that I do not have a green thumb) as it is to build something with my hands. 

This year, the connection between DIY and gardening was stronger than ever—being in booth #707 was like being in someone's backyard. One side had a kitchen-like feel—it featured a raised bed to grow veggies, highlighted our strawberry planter (more on that later), and had our charred all-terrain beverage cart at the center. The other side focused on leisure and activities, and included our fire pit, the Adirondack chair, and yard Yahtzee. The projects stood out against our white picket fence, and I just loved the environment. 

Now, back to the strawberry planter. This project has been around awhile, and I continue to be surprised at what a great reaction it always gets. I think it's because it's somewhat unusual—not like every other strawberry planter out there. The planter draws people's attention, and even though it is unique, it's really simple to make. People who have no experience feel empowered to take it on, and that makes me want to create even more attainable projects like it. 

strawberry planter

This project also holds a special place in my heart because I did a live tutorial not just once, but twice on the first day of the NWFGF. King 5 came down to the festival bright and early Wednesday morning for a live segment—my first ever. It was totally nerve-racking but also a ton of fun, and I gained so much respect for the people who do it every day. I'm comfortable on stage and comfortable on camera, but combining the two in a two-and-a-half minute segment was insane. I'd absolutely do it again, and the second time around, I'd like to think I'd be relaxed enough to actually get some sleep the night before. You can watch the King 5 video at the top of this blog post.

dunn diy northwest flower and garden festival kirsten dunn live

The seminar was great, too. I love doing my job in a different medium and bringing it to a new set of people who can interact with the project on the spot. My takeaway from this experience is to look at future projects from every angle and skill level possible. Todd and I received so many great, first-hand questions from the audience, and it's great to have the opportunity to think more about the project and explore ways to expand or approach it differently. 

Interaction is a key theme at the NWFGF, and every year, I have an experience that really sticks with me. This year, a woman wandered into our booth and asked if Dunn Lumber was owned by one corporation or if each store was owned individually, and I told her that each store was still owned by the Dunn family. She smiled and asked if I was a member of the Dunn family—a question to which I proudly answered "yes"—and went on to tell me that her dad was a contractor and spent half his life at Dunn Lumber; that he had a love affair with the lumberyard. I love how many associations there are with my family's company, and hearing stories like her continues to be one of my favorite parts of the NWFGF. 

Thank you to everyone who came out and made this year's NWFGF such an enjoyable success!

how to build a strawberry planter guide