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Yearly show inspires some garden envy

Mary Joanna Ranalli, center, and Tara Peters of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church, sniff the scent of blackberry sage  at Debbie Barowsky’s Spokandle Premium Candles of Greenacres display  Saturday. 
 
  (Dan Pelle)
Mary Joanna Ranalli, center, and Tara Peters of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church, sniff the scent of blackberry sage at Debbie Barowsky’s Spokandle Premium Candles of Greenacres display Saturday. (Dan Pelle)

Sometimes homeowners have to go inside to discover what can be done outside.

Such was the case Saturday at the 35th annual Spokane Home & Garden Show. The event, which continues today, is a one-stop shop to spruce up outdoor living spaces, or to get yard and garden envy.

“I just wanted to get some ideas for my yard,” said Jodi Anderson, who drove up from Pullman on Saturday. “Some of these displays are like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I don’t need anything fancy, just someone to tell me what to do and where to put the plants. I’ve got the labor; I just need a plan.”

Anderson, like many people, said the mild winter has her out in the yard a little earlier than usual.

“I’ve been out there since the beginning of March,” she said.

While people have already been out pruning shrubs and making plans, participation at the show was a little slower than usual, exhibitors said.

The event was competing against a sunny day, the “Walking with Dinosaurs” event at the Spokane Arena, and a matinee showing of “Little House on the Prairie.”

“Usually we like the weather to be kind of showery,” said Dwight Bershaw, a landscape architect for Clearwater Summit Group Inc. “When it’s sunny and nice, the traffic is slower.”

Bershaw said a storm moving into the region today may bring more people inside.

His company, which has designed the show’s centerpiece display for the past 28 years, spent three days hauling and arranging dirt, plants, pergolas, a water wheel, and other garden and yard fixtures. The display corresponds with this year’s theme about green living and creating environmentally friendly spaces.

Many of the exhibitors focused on using recycled materials and how to create sustainable gardens.

“With the downturn in the economy, gardens have become very popular with people wanting to grow their own food,” Bershaw said.

Many people also come to the home and garden show looking for artisan items.

Brandon Johnson, who owns Johnson’s Custom Iron and Wood Craft, teamed up with Sam’s Landscaping Lawn & Tree to showcase a custom pergola.

Johnson, who moved to California from war-torn Liberia, Africa, in the early 1990s, relocated to Spokane in 2003. Johnson designed and built the aluminum artwork at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. His business in Spokane focuses on custom iron, aluminum and wood projects for outdoor spaces.

“You can’t get something like this at Home Depot or Lowe’s,” said Melissa Johnson, Johnson’s wife and business partner.

While many attendees were looking for something unique, some were after the basics, like how to get rid of the weeds beginning to sprout in the grass.

Pat Boyle, of Living Water Lawn & Tree Care, said this summer could bring heavy insect infestation because of the mild winter. Homeowners will want to begin the process of treating their lawns and trees soon, he said, which seems a bit early. But because of the lack of snow, Boyle said, his company has been treating lawns since the beginning of February.

“The mild winter has really helped our business out,” Boyle said.



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