Ciscoe Morris holds court at Tacoma Home and Garden Show

Northwest gardening icon among the many experts to share their advice at event that continues Sunday

Staff writerJanuary 25, 2014 

Every field has its superstars, and that includes gardening.

That’s why, at the Home and Garden Show on Saturday at the Tacoma Dome, the chairs started filling for Ciscoe Morris’ presentation 20 minutes before he was scheduled to appear on stage at the Green Theater.

Morris, equal parts horticulturist and stand-up comic, has turned gardening into show business here in the Pacific Northwest. He has his own television and radio shows and a regular newspaper column, and he’s a favorite at events such as this one, which continues through Sunday at the Dome.

It’s easy to see why. From the moment Morris bounded onto the stage at 1 p.m. and let loose with his trademark exclamation, “Oh la la!” he had the Tacoma audience in the palm of his hand.

“How many of you are married to a lazy bum that won’t garden at all?” he asked.

When about one-third of the 200 or so people in the crowd raised their hands, he said, “You’re the lucky ones,” and then launched into a mock-serious tale of how he and his wife, Mary, are such fierce gardening competitors they had to lay down a line of demarcation in the middle of their home garden.

Morris, who has another talk scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday — “Turn Your Garden into a Wildlife Sanctuary” — is not the only star at the Home and Garden Show.

Other presenters include garden writer and landscape designer Don Engebretson, “the Renegade Gardener”; Marty Wingate, an author and popular guest on KUOW’s “Greendays” show; and Marianne Binetti, a regular contributor to The News Tribune, who speaks at 2 p.m. Sunday on how to add color to gardens with flowers, fruit and foliage.

This year’s Tacoma Home and Garden Show is the 31st annual presentation, and its organizers are billing it as the state’s largest combined home and garden event. It’s easy to believe. The floor of the Dome is jammed with more than 500 exhibitors, presenting everything from hot tubs and countertops to blenders and the latest designs in backyard water features and leaf-defying gutters.

The event runs through 5 p.m. Sunday. Doors open at 11 a.m. Admission is $12; there is no charge for children 16 and younger.

Alert attendees can load up on freebies, which include shoulder bags, pens, candy and, perhaps the oddest, free toilet plungers.

On Saturday, Ciscoe Morris gave away plants, gloves and a spray nozzle.

Oh la la.

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693

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