Friday, March 1, 2013

The plants, it was all about the plants, hooray for The Lost Gardener!

By now I’m sure many of you have heard the big prize winner at the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show was “The Lost Gardener – A Journey from the Wild to the Cultivated” by RHR Horticulture & Landwave Gardens, or Riz Reyes. This was his first big garden at the show and by all accounts a raging success…

Too often I find display gardens to be all about the hardscape with the “plant material” being an afterthought. Yes, I know hardscape is important, my own garden would be a disaster without it (due to my plant collector tendencies…the hardscape creates the framework). But the prevailing mindset at show gardens seems to be “we’ll just grab whatever we know will look good in February or can be easily forced into bloom”…which is why this garden was such a happy place for me at the show. Cool plants were the focus!

The design concept behind the garden (remember it was a “Hollywood” themed show): “Several motion pictures serve as inspirations for this garden. A common theme in Jurassic Park, King Kong and Raiders of the Lost Ark is Man’s desire for the newest, rarest and most unusual. Rare, wild and little-seen plant species are to be treasured and protected in this exotic garden setting—with dire consequences for those seeking to remove them. Warnings are posted, and endangered plant species are protected from outsiders by a pseudo-electrified fence. Multiple micro-climates are depicted through a rich and diverse plant palette, with unusual plants provided by small specialty growers from throughout the region.”

The best place to start was on the wild side, where you’re either following a plant hunter along a beaten path or perhaps something more beastly?

Oh the Schefflera! This garden had several huge specimens.

The undersides of the leaves are spectacular as well!

A note about my photos: some were taken in an early morning preview before the lighting went all dramatic, some were taken later when the house lights were down, hopefully that explains any lighting whiplash you experience. Either way it was a hard garden to photograph, the magic was being there in person!

Moving around to the front of the display, where things are more “garden like”…

The Cardiocrinum giganteum seed pods, behind the skull rock, have a sword-like quality…

How I would love a border of Schefflera taiwaniana!

That blooming Echium at the back in this row of containers (at the far side of the display above and close-up below) had quite a few people craning their necks to read the label. Overhearing conversations as people discovered a plant for the first time was pretty fun indeed! In case you’re wondering there is a full plant list for the garden available here.

Some plant close ups...Edgeworthia chrysantha

Cryptomeria japonica 'Cristata'

Leucothoe keiskei

Persicaria 'Brushstrokes'…love those leaves!

Nolina nelsonii

Podophyllum delavayi

Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira' and Fatsia polycarpa
Oh yes, and the specialty growers who supplied those lust worthy plants deserve a shout out too, their willingness to share helped to make this garden what it is. Here are the ones that sell to the public in case you want to support them, most do mail order:

Bouquet Banque Nursery
Chimacum Woods
Cultus Bay Nursery
The Desert Northwest
Dragonfly Farms Nursery
Far Reaches Farm
Minter’s Earlington Greenhouse
Windmill Gardens

Did anyone else who saw this garden spot the gorilla?

Congrats Riz on a job well done! For those of you wanting more Riz uploaded a set of photos here, start at the end that's where the construction photos are...quite the process!

29 comments:

  1. I missed the gorilla, thanks for showing him! And thanks for your great photos of the garden, it was spectacular, my favorite too! When I first read about it, I worried that it would be cheezy, but it worked, even with the skull rock.

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    1. I agree, you just never know reading the descriptions whether it was a great idea on paper that will translate well to reality or if it will be a spectacular flop.

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  2. Gorgeous plants, great concept, and humor make for a winning combination in a show garden. When I first saw the phone shots on Facebook and other places I didn't get it.

    Blog posts are better because you have to have the narrative. Like fashion, it's meant to push the viewer and not copied in detail. Your enthusiasm for schefflera is winning me over.

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    1. Yay for spreading the schefflera bug! I wonder how they would do in your climate? Have you ever seen one for sale there?

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  3. SO COOL. Amazing job, Riz!

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    1. Have you ever gone to the show Heather?

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  4. I love this garden! those scheffleras are show stoppers! Did you leave with any, "I have to get one of those" thoughts or feelings?!

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    1. YES! The huge Schefflera macrophylla, but you already knew that. A lot of the super cool plants I already have (lucky me), but my interest in the big leafed Rhody's was renewed...and I do love elements of Cardiocrinum giganteum (like the seed pods especially) but know that I would be annoyed by it about 60% off the time so who knows how that will turn out.

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  5. This was also my favorite garden at the show! I liked it even better in your shots taken with the house lights on because there were so many more plants visible. (Well, to my bad eyes anyway.) The gorilla is sweet! You are one of the lucky ones who found the coconut in this garden. I heard lots of parents pleading with the docents to give them a clue as their kids had looked and looked and couldn't spot it. Neither could I - Where was it?

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    1. I knew there was a scavenger hunt (or something like that) going on because the kids around me discovered something in the Alien garden while I was there...but I had no idea the coconut was the goal! I thought it was an odd thing to have the gorilla clutching. He was hanging out under a plant in the far corner, the side that backed up against the Hobbit's Garden.

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  6. I see what you mean about this garden being hard to photograph. Maybe that's why show gardens use lots of hardscape to frame the plants and repetition of plants for big statements. In photos, the mix of plants can look like a mish mash. Your commentary helped to see it through your eyes. Sorry, I can't learn to love the skull rock but your enthusiasm has hooked me otherwise. Maybe if we fail to rescue our Rhodies, Scheffleras could take their place? I'm guessing, though, that they would be a spendy option.

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    1. I agree: skull rock no, but that cracked egg-looking spherical planter (?) -- I'll take one!

      I don't remember this garden standing out in the walkthrough post you did of the show earlier, but it certainly doesn't disappoint when seen in more detail like this.

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    2. ricki...good point about the hardscape helping to make a garden more photographable...but the cynic in me thinks the hardscape wins in display gardens because it's more expensive (meaning when designing a garden they can charge the client more) and doesn't die! No worries...I will not be hunting for a skull rock for my garden, it did help to bring the concept behind the garden back around tho. As for Scheffleras replacing our Rhodys your right, it wouldn't be cheap but worst of all they are still I haven't shown any photos of this garden before, so that's probably why it didn't stand out...so impossible to find!!!

      Alan...I haven't shown any photos of this garden before, so that's probably why it didn't stand out...I was saving the best for last!

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  7. If that display was a retail nursery on its own, or a plant fair then it can do some serious damage to a plantsmans wallet! Riz has done a superb job and his awards were very well deserved. I won't be surprised if the show gardens in consequent editions of this show would be more plant focused (or perhaps not), that'll be a really good thing!

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    1. If those plants had been for sale...well...we would have had a very full car going home!

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  8. It was such a hectic morning, I wasn't able to fully appreciate the garden, taking my time wandering down the paths, looking at all the details, etc. Thank you, Loree, for giving me this tour!!!

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    1. You are so welcome! I agree it was pretty crazy. Last year they had the tables set up out in the lobby and that was even worse. I spent most of the time out there talking with people and only made it in to look at the gardens about 5 mins before they turned the lights down.

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  9. Riz's garden and the New Zealand garden were definitely a step above the others. It is amazing the amount of work & detail they put into these!

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    1. I can't even imagine what tearing them all apart must be like. A lot of work and a little heartbreaking!

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  10. I enjoyed your posts on the show Loree, and your photos turned out well too-such a challenge at these events. Our SF show is in a few weeks and I'm looking forward to it - they have allegedly doubled the size of the plant market , though on the floor plan it looks just the same.

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    1. Ah KS I wish I was going to the SF Show, I'll have to rely on the expert reporting of you and Denise!

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  11. I knew as soon as I read on his blog that he [Riz] was going to be creating a garden that is would be something spectacular, but the results were nothing less than stellar. I so wish I could have been there. This is what a plant/flower show display garden is all about...... THE PLANTS! And yes, even with your tease a post or so before, I knew this would be the one that would grab at your heart above all others. Perhaps you could interview Riz for a future posting?

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    1. Heck I wouldn't have ever thought of that but I like the idea, that could be fun. If I had a voice for radio and such things (like YOU) I'd branch out and start podcasts (which reminds me, do you ever listed to Andrew Key's Garden Confidential podcasts for Fine Gardening? His voice is amazing and exactly like that in person). Anything you're dying to know about Riz?

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  12. Award winning design combined with actual plantsmanship (imagine that!) at the show - Great job Riz!

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    1. "actual plantsmanship"...crazy!

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  13. OMG LAURIE YOU'RE SO AMAZING I COULD CRY!!!!!!!!!!!!! AGAIN!! HAHHAHAH

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for bringing this garden to life again through your blog. I'm still working on my "Building a Show Garden" series on my blog to document the whole process! So stay tuned!

    I had such a remarkable team of designers, contractors and student volunteers that made this all happen and I'm just very proud of the fact that this garden was created my the next generation of landscapers and that plants reigned supreme with the "thumbs up" of all you plant geeks and even the general public who liked the garden!

    My sincerest thanks to you all!!

    Riz

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    1. Glad I could share your garden with those that weren't able to make to the show to see it for themselves. Congrats again on all of your well deserved success!

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