Although our home farm is no longer open to visitors for privacy, we can be found exhibiting at various Flower & Garden Shows and Plant Sales throughout the western states. Subscribe to our Newsletter, watch this Blog or check our Facebook page for advance notice of shows where we sell our wonderful lily bulbs. ("Like Us" on Facebook so you don’t miss out!)
TIPS for Attending Flower & Garden Shows
1. Buy your ticket early; don’t wait until the last minute and have to stand in line! As an example, both Seattle and San Francisco offer discounts for early purchase and also group rates. If you have the time, investigate purchasing a “season” ticket, good for all days, then you can come and go at will. Show sponsors sometimes offer discount coupons for show entry, so watch newspaper ads for information on where to pick up a coupon to save money. Most smaller shows do not offer advance tickets, so you might want to plan on being there early for a nearby parking spot and to be one of the first people into the show. For waiting outdoors, carry a small folding umbrella and a plastic bag to store it. A one-sale we attended one year was crowded and held during one of the rainiest days all spring, so plan ahead for shows held outdoors - especially the popular “one day only” events.
2. Come well rested. Consider using a small backpack or handy folding “bag on wheels” to keep your hands, neck, and back free and reduce stress from a heavy shoulder bag. Wear jeans with deep pockets for tiny items or use a fanny pack. Tie the tops of plastic bags to keep small purchases from escaping. Using cash will speed up transactions, but we also accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express and personal checks (with ID) but no Traveler’s Checks.
3. Take advantage of the “Plant Check” service at the larger shows. Do your plant and bulb purchases first because varieties tend to sell out, then shop for tools, books, and gift items or stroll around to enjoy the beautiful display gardens. Do you have cloth grocery totes? Bring them along; pin your name and phone number inside (and on the exterior) for dropping off your new acquisitions at “Plant Check.” The people who staff the counter will be impressed with your foresight and organization.
4. Arrive early and park in the Convention Center Parking Garage in Portland or Seattle, have your hand stamped for in-and-out privileges and fill your trunk as you go, without venturing outdoors into the weather. After all, you are there for “spring,” even if the weather outdoors is less than ideal. Taking MAX (light rail) to the show in Portland? Why not make arrangements for you and your plants to be picked up at the handy “drive-up” Plant Check door when you are ready to leave. Ask when the less congested times are expected to be and phone home with the information.
5. Going with a friend? Stay in touch by cell phone, handy if you should become separated and one of you spies something the other would like. Also good for communicating with “stay at home” or “at work” shoppers. Take a photo of a nice garden landscape with your cell phone, but please note that artists do not allow photos of their booth or products and some shows do not allow photos of vendor booths. We do not allow photos of our handmade hats or artwork before purchase, but many of those are on our Abbee Hat website.
6. Study the list of seminars early from either the show brochure or the newspaper to plan out your day, but leave room for surprises. Seattle, Portland and San Francisco list all the seminars and companies who will be exhibiting at each show, plus provide their website link if you would like to know more about their products.
7. Take along a small (pocket-size spiral) note pad and a mechanical pencil or erasable ink pen to write down bits of information in one central location. (“Now, what was the name of that plant... and where did I see it?”)
8. If you see an interesting item being carried in the show... don’t be afraid to ask someone where they found that treasure! Most people are excited that you like what they have picked out and are happy to share the information. Don’t be stressed though, if they can’t remember exactly where the booth was. Simply pull out your Show Map and look up the company. Large Convention centers can be rather intimidating to a first time show attendee, but armed with a map and a plan, you will have an enjoyable time, plus find great bargains and rare “jewels” in the process.
(P.S. Please let us know if you found this article helpful to you or if you have any other suggestions that we can add to the list.)