It should be obvious why I had to make my annual trek to the Northwest Flower and Garden show, based on the first photo, which I took outdoors while waiting for a bus. Gloomy skies, wind, forlorn trees and crows. Compare this setting to the one below, inside the Seattle Convention Center. The first exhibit visitors saw as they walked in was a quintet of Wizard of Oz topiary characters, including this cowardly lion.
This year I was on a mission, beyond the obvious one of spending a day pretending that spring had arrived. Linda, my English conversation class co-leader, who also planned to attend the show, suggested we bring back photos and ask our adult “students” to think of questions about what they’re seeing and describe it.
This assignment meant bypassing the huge displays of trees and bushes, all with tags showing their botanical names. Instead of taking photos of “rhododendron” and “anthurium,” I chose objects with pronounceable names and distinguishable features: sheep, chicken and frog.
We tried the activity today, and were amazed by our class’s knowledge of northwest plants, fairy tales (one exhibit featured Rapunzel’s braid), and enthusiasm for new vocabulary: succulents, garden art, and toolshed.