Coming on the heels of the Seattle show, with it’s theme “Romance Blossoms” the Portland show was a breath of fresh air, well until you choked on the bark dust (haha, you think I'm kidding but I'm not...there was a lot of bark). The moss covering the entry garden was a nice change from the mounds of bark mulch...
But seriously…the NWFG Show display gardens were an explosion of spring flowering bulbs. At the YGP Show there were a few bulbs, but lots of foliage. I like foliage. Since there were only seven gardens I’m going to show them all, with a little (opinionated) critique. The gardens here differ in that you actually walk into and through them. That’s ideal, but also makes it hard to get an overall image – thus I’ve included the aerial view drawing from the show website. Oh and yes, there was a theme! But at least it left a lot of room for interpretation: “Today's Trends”…
We’ll start with “Toe dippin'...Wine sippin...Timeless Pleasures” because that’s where I started.
Lots of hardscape, and you’d better get used to it. That seems to be the name of the game throughout the show.
It’s interesting to look at the drawing and see how the design morphed. The deck over the water is no longer a square but rather an “L” – this is a horrible photo but I wanted you to see how this part of the garden was built up. Obviously it had to be (no digging a pit in the convention center floor) but it adds to the design.
I loved this (so much!), clean modern lines. I’d lose the candles and instead add a couple of tall dramatic plants, and make sure there was a ledge around the edge of the water square on the right, just deep enough I’d have a place to sit in the water and cool off on a hot day.
I could put together an entire post just talking about the plant choices in the gardens throughout the show. They are questionable. Not realistic for the long term, done for the moment. Should the designers concern themselves with hardiness? For example that acacia (A. cognata 'Cousin Itt') is not hardy here, does that matter?
I did leave this garden with a new plant crush, Juniperus communis 'Berkshire'...
“Attractive steel blue foliage with silver stripes. Turns a bronzy-copper color in winter months. Slowly to 12 inches tall by 18 inches wide. Full sun to part shade. Zone 2b.” – Youngblood Nursery. Another conifer, what is happening to me?!!
The next garden “Why Go Inside” was a head-scratcher.
At first I wasn’t sure I was even in a new garden, the separating wall made it feel like we were still in “Toe Dippen…” but indeed this was a new garden, with a lot of wide open space…
Too much wide open space. In the drawing there are colorful squares in the ground labeled as games, not in the garden. There were s’mores fixin’s, and soda in front of the fireplace. In fact there were so many bottles of soda lined up on the hearth I wondered if Jones Soda was sponsoring this garden…
And here I thought I’d walked into the bar. Sit down, order a drink!
Nope, it’s a garden. “Your Own Northwest Paradise”
I did like this space, although there should be more potted plants.
And I had to ask myself why there was a glazed container sitting in the water?
More head scratching plant choices. A couple of not hardy Begonia luxurians, Yucca ‘Bright Star’, pink flowery things, Pieris (?) and it’s all backed by conifers. Oh wait, and there’s that huge alocasia. What??? Why can’t a plants person be involved in these designs?
Next we have “Modern Simplicity” aka a HARDSCAPE garden…
I wonder if they’re dreaming of having more plants in their garden?
This “garden” included a fire pit and sitting area, a Jacuzzi with fireplace, outdoor grill and dining area, more sitting space around the other side of the fireplace, and a shower. All the trendy boxes were checked! I especially enjoyed the carpeted ramp with orange tape and “watch your step” sign (hastily printed perhaps after someone tripped 5 minutes after the show opened?). I realize having the public walked through your garden is a liability but design for it!
My co-show goer for the day dubbed this garden the “man-space”…
“Eat, Drink and Be Merry”
And caged fire. You can sort of make out the grill/sink/refrigerator in the background. I should have counted how many of these gardens had a kitchen. That’s a trend that just won’t die, evidently.
“Eat, Play, Glove”…
So much going on here!
This woolly pocket installation was nice, in fact the word “lush” comes to mind, and these plants aren’t even grown in.
There should be more orange ranunculus in the world.
And short stubby stock tanks. I need to find out where they got these, love how solid they are for their small size.
Warning, this next photo is going to hurt your eyes. From the garden “A Place for Family and Friends”…it's too much!
The floating camellia were a nice touch, well except for the fact the water was dyed black and thus giving a sort of oil-spill look to their petals.
Oh ya, LOVE that wall. Great shape and color and it encircles the sitting area perfectly.
I’m trying not to comment on the need for a big ole velvet rope to keep people out. One of the guys manning the booth offered to move it when he saw me taking a photo, but I thought it added a certain, well, AMC Theatre touch, don't you agree?
I guess when you include a children’s pay space in the garden you shouldn’t be surprised when it gets used?
Okay just one more garden, the Urban Edible Garden from the Association of NW Landscape Designers. This wasn’t technically a display garden but it kind of felt like one.
Did I mention Yucca ‘Bright Star’ was one of the “it” plants of the show? I wish it didn’t get such a bad case of yuccacne (yucca acne) every winter.
Interesting shape, a square or rectangle is what's expected, right?
Finally, I love lights like these overhead and thought the way they had them strung was clever.
Luckily there was a tall guy investigating one and he let me take an up-close photo…
So those are the gardens. There was a lot to like, and a lot to wonder about. Tomorrow we’ll look at the plant vendors! Because it’s really all about the plants…(no treble)
All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.