Another NW Flower and Garden Show/Festival is over. As always the main event for me is catching up with friends and online acquaintances with the backdrop of spring and a new gardening year. The big display gardens are not why I come to the show, but they're always fun to look at, to see what I can pull inspiration from. The popular gardens at this year's show (popular being the ones I heard most discussed in person and on Facebook) left me cold. Too big, too many rocks and not enough plants. Here's what I liked...
From the "Herban Sanctuary" garden designed by Jessi Bloom, this made me smile. It's an agave lophantha 'Quadricolor' power circle! See how the agave's are energizing the crystal in the middle? It's glowing...
I also appreciated the unexpected match up of moss and Agaves, how very Pacific Northwest!
I'd completely missed the "Notting Hill Modern English Garden" designed by Peter Norris, until Peter pointed it out as a favorite of his. I appreciated the sophisticated urban feel and symmetry of the space. It seemed like something a well-to-do couple would have just outside their library, perhaps a roof garden.
Standing and admiring the garden with friends we noticed the symmetry was slightly skewed, the topiary on the left had three balls, on the right just two.
Stepping back further (I didn't manage to get an overall shot) the left side of the space was finished off with a pair of two ball topiary...
And on the a right pair with three balls. This was an unexpected bit of complexity that I appreciated.
The perfectly shaped trees were a nice touch as well, I wish I knew what they were. The long leaves look almost like an ornamental peach.
The next garden I want to share, "Fakeation," was designed by the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association and wraps around the Solera Wine garden, which made it hard to photograph since it's not a dedicated space but instead broken up into islands.
"This is a fun twist on a “staycation” - where you are a tourist in your own town. But why leave the neighborhood? The “fakeation” recreates a modern luxury resort feel in your own backyard with bold colors, grandiose foliage, and dramatic textures.
Lounge in the inviting cabana and escape from the rest of the world in this tranquil landscape. Wander among luscious foliage and a water feature that washes away the stress of the day. Pause to admire the artwork that inspires you to dream those dreams that stir the senses.
Though small in stature, this garden is powerful in scale with novel use of bold foliage and exclusively available containers, sculptures, and accents. It pushes the envelope on Pacific Northwest planting zones, incorporating tropical touches along with hardy plant varieties." (source) I trust they were not referring to the Sansevieria or Croton as "hardy plant varieties" because they most definitely are not.
I like the metal privacy panels and the framework used to hang them.
But my favorite element was the repeated mossy panels...
They were so wonderful...
Each a little different...
I wonder how such a thing would hold up outdoors?
Finally my favorite garden of all, "Patterns of Peace on Earth" from West Seattle Nursery; "Set your GPS for West Central Africa, with the picturesque nation of Ghana as the garden destination! Though this part of the world may not be represented often in a garden shows, Ghana is known for its lush forests, miles of sandy beaches and beautiful architecture.
The “indoors goes outdoors” in this garden, with houseplants (found in the Northwest) used extensively to represent tropical varieties found outdoors in Ghana. Patterns are used widely in the African culture, and this garden makes liberal use of this design element. Visual patterns are created though the arrangement of plantings, and a kick plate (painted in Ghana’s unique Frafra-patterned style) frames the garden. A distinctive waterfall adds a visual focal point that creates further ambiance and a feeling of peace."
Isn't it fabulous?
I heard plenty of criticism regarding the use of houseplants in a "garden" setting but I thought it was genius. After all aren't houseplants the gateway drug for a new generation of gardeners?
And who cares that you can't really grow these outdoors here, it's not like they were trying to pass them off as hardy, it was obviously a fantasy..."The “indoors goes outdoors” in this garden, with houseplants (found in the Northwest) used extensively to represent tropical varieties found outdoors in Ghana."...
A very well executed fantasy.
Plus every time I walked by the garden people were engaged with nursery staff asking about the plants, and from what I overheard the staff was dispensing great advice.
The Bromeliads weren't super rare, but still not your run-of-the-mill big box store varieties.
This garden just made me happy!
There were some 20+ display gardens at the show, so this is obviously a highly personal take on it all. If you're wondering what the other gardens were like, the show website has descriptions of the gardens up now, and promises photos soon—here. I'll have more show coverage coming up later this week...
Weather Diary, Feb 24: Hi 41, Low 35/ Precip .14"
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