Whew, two garden shows in back to back weekends, I’m wiped out!
I’ve started this post several times, each time fighting the urge to make this a comparison between the Seattle NWFG Show and the Portland YG&P Show. But you know what; sometimes you’ve just got to go with it.
NWFG Show = Broadway production
YG&P Show = Community theatre
And I don’t mean that as an insult. From the “remarkable green market,” to the seminars and the vendors booths…this show felt more like it was from the local gardening community, for the local gardening community. And if you could overlook the hot-tubs (prominently placed right inside one of the entrances…so it wasn’t easy), scarves, and wine-slushy vendors this show was really much more about what matters…the plants.
Not enough plants for ya? Then visit the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon display just across the aisle. There you can touch, smell and photograph cuttings of plants that look good in the garden now, all fresh from area gardens. Plus there were HPSO volunteers there to answer your questions (more on this tomorrow).
Finally let’s talk about the display gardens, the images thus far in this post have all been from the gardens. The theme for the show was “Think global. Garden local”…and the gardens were all based on traditional garden styles from around the world. While I thought this was a great premise for the gardens, in reality they fell a little short of their potential.
Most of the gardens were extremely heavy on the hardscape, but then you could actually walk through these gardens (in Seattle it was more of a look don’t touch atmosphere). Some were quite large and empty (empty of plants), perhaps the *wow* factor could have been bumped up a bit if they had been smaller and thus less expensive to fill? The display garden area was better lit and featured less annoying (and stinky!) bark-dust than in previous years. And from the comments I heard many people thought they were very inspiring, however I couldn't help but feel it could be better.
Maybe. Yet the fact that I’m not going to be hiring a designer doesn’t keep me from looking through garden design magazines, and books, and coveting the gardens I see on their pages. If they’re publishing these images then others must like them too, others who do hire designers. So where’s the disconnect? The actual, or perceived, level of design savvy in the local market? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just the budget. The match between the funds required to “do” a garden in the show, and style of garden that the person with budget that affords a garden from the show wants (I think that makes sense?). Maybe there need to be smaller (and less expensive) display gardens? Maybe there needs to be an urban-chic theme to the display gardens? Or maybe I’m just destined to never feel like the display gardens are speaking to me and instead find my inspiration in the container displays and nursery displays? I obviously don't have the answers.
Dancing Oaks, that bark is almost black!
Rare Plant Research booth is always a draw and the blooming Aloe dorotheae were pulling people from yards away (of course as soon as I got home I took a look at my plant, hoping to see a bloom starting to emerge. No such luck).
Bauman’s Farm booth is always a favorite, although this year they really changed things up on me.