I gotta be honest...I thought going to Gardenpalooza this year would be dismal! The weather was not going to act well and I really had misgivings about its success. When I am wrong I own it and boy was I wrong!
Thousands of people faced the ridiculously rotten weather. Heck in the calm frenzied shopping I got caught up as well and left with dozens of treasures of my own. I just got home a few minutes ago and was trying, on the ride back home, to define how and why it was so great even with the extenuating circumstances. I boiled it down to three groups of people.
1st are those people we in the biz call 'vendors'. These people were there wrapped up like the little kid on a Christmas Story...so bundled up you would have thought they all put on 50 lbs each...but there they were, plants filled in and ready for customers. From the plant vendors to the charming fellow that built furniture out of old...things, to the food vendors (beef chili soup and Granny Smith apple fries, yes fries. Gartner's Meats was there again. And don't even make me mention the donuts made fresh right there at Fir Point Farms) there was something for all your senses.
There is a web site called the 3/50 Project (http://www.the350project.net/). If you have not heard of this, please take a few minutes to check it out. I hope that each of you will understand the need to shop locally. In January I met the lady that created this program. She had such an easy; simple concept and it could and should work for folks like the vendors at Gardenpalooza. Although Gardenpalooza is once a year, these good people sell year round. So kindly support them when you can. There is a list of the vendors on http://www.gardenpalooza.com/. They were outstanding today. Thank you all for sharing this function with us at Garden Time.
2nd group are those amazing, wacky, and just slightly off kilter people (of which I am very proudly one) named Gardeners. Thousands of you braved the climate to attend and purchase all kinds of gardening and human treats. And purchase you did. I am not sure, although I have lived coast to coast in this great country, that I have ever encountered such wonderfully fanatical humans. I truly did think there would be this obvious drop in attendance but boy was I wrong. Overall, there were less people but still it was a mass of moving humanity almost the whole day. I am so proud to be a part of this industry and this group of us that love to garden. And talk about kind hearted and funny! I laughed so much today my jaws ached. Questions,stories, ideas...that kind of interaction is priceless. Thanks to all of my fellow gardening freaks out there. It's a pleasure to be part of the family 'Plantnerd'.
3rd and last group are the viewers that watch Garden Time. From around 9am till about 1:30pm, Judy and I were chatting non-stop and almost always with fans of the show. I wish I could express how grateful all of us at Garden Time are for each of you. Without you there really would be no Garden Time. You support us by buying from the vendors and sponsors of the show which allows them to advertise, which allows the show to be on KOIN Local 6. It proves first hand how completely interconnected everything is. Plus your passion for your yards is gratifying...and many of you are too funny!
So to all of you that traipsed thru the mud, withstood blowing wind and biting cold, occasional downpours...a big huge THANK YOU! And to all of you that were there behind the scenes, Therese Gustin (the maternal side of Garden Time, Sarah, Hannah (Jeff and Therese's lovely daughters) and Jen (Sarah's best friend...love you). Jerry Yost (Gartner's Meats) brought his boy JC (you rock dude) for the first time, Jim Hughes (all around amazing man), and our new hosts at 'Fir Point', Erika and Aaron Wilcott...and to all the ones I haven't mentioned, we would be lost without you.
Is it too early to mark it on your calendars for next year...well, yes because the exact date isn't set yet, but you can get a general idea.
My free time this week will be working the stunning plants I got into my gardens and working off the apple fries! But totally worth it. I have long thought that the gardeners of the Northwest are serendipitous treasures, each and everyone. I think it is what helps make this area of our beautiful country the richest in the land. See you all next year at Gardenpalooza 2011!