Tuesday, March 3, 2020

City Living, at the 2020 NWFG Festival

Long time readers may remember that I have a special love for the small, "City Living" gardens at the NWFG Festival. They tend to feature containers, and more plants (less hardscape) than the big display gardens. The idea is they represent an urban garden, on a balcony or small patio. Here's a look at my favorites from the 2020 show...

First up is "What's Your Cure for Spring Fever?" from Zenith Holland Nursery, they won "Best Plant Material". I do like my gardens cramscaped but this may be a little much for even me, although I guess I shouldn't complain about plant overload...

And there was an agave...

A big agave!

Next door was "Blue Bayou" from Ma Petite Gardens. I love the short wooden wall across the back of her display, it hides a series of white railings which would have been jarring here.

Naturally I love the metal panels too.

The plant combinations in the containers are unusual, which has me liking them.

The large green urn had a bubbling fountain in it. I liked it's understated "ness".

This was my favorite City Living display, "Midnight Jungalow" from Urban Soule. In the interest of full disclosure it's creator, Kim, is a friend. I wrote about her private garden last summer (here).

The pink starry lights had me wanting to track down a lite-brite and be a kid again.

Kim made the leaf sculptures.

And the tall tubes that support them along with several plants...

...including the blooming orchid.

Her use of the barrel ring reminded me of my "wreath" design from last November (here). I've been working on a few ideas on how to plant up a couple rings for my pop-up in May at Xera Plants. I'll share photos if I'm successful.

Kim hid the white railing with black military camo-netting. While I heard there were some folks who thought it looked like raccoons tore up the backdrop I thought it was rather inspired. Who knew you could order it in a "rainbow" of colors on Amazon?

I didn't tell Kim but I really covet those green pillows.

And that fabulous nepenthes in the back corner.

The details, it's all about the details.

The fritillaria and dark cordyline combo is also inspired.

Just a couple more images...

And we move on to "Alice's Wonderland" from Urban Earth Nursery. While I was rooting for "Midnight Jungalow" to get the "People's Choice Award" it went to this display. Not without reason has it had a lot of interesting things going on.

Alice would be proud to stop for tea here, don't you think?

And the large metal leaf was the ending point for a stream of water that ran up through the vine near the wall and cascaded down through the moss balls. Very creative...

As was the mossy garden below.

Next up are a few close-ups from "Grungelow" from happenstantials. The fern "table" was a sexy mossy focal point.

The turquoise planters were a nice use of color.

And this mossy business topped with saxifrage, well, I wanted to grab it and run.

Last, but not least, we have "Rock the Casbah" from Portland's JJ de Sousa and Digs Inside & Out. JJ won "Best Design" from the show judges.

I love how enclosed and private this display garden feels.

And the plants are splendid...

Don't you just want to climb in there and take a nap?

Well done to all my favorites!

Weather Diary, Mar 2: Hi 50, Low 41/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. I listened to the creator of "Grungelow" from happenstantials, telling (someone else) how he put together the fern table; it's sitting atop an uprooted Rhododendron. The roots were trimmed, painted, burnt and painted again. Fascinating. Years ago, I moved a huge Rhodi root directly to the compost bin, never seeing the potential.

  2. Love those two radically different ways of covering the fence. The camo one goes so perfectly with the overall design that I am amazed at the comments you mentioned. Some people have no poetry in their soul.

  3. Honestly, I loved pieces of all of these displays and they have me thinking about what I can do to jazz up everything from the small patio on my south side to my lath house to the bromeliad/succulent "enclave" sitting at my northwest property line. I need some mirrors, which is something I've been considering for awhile. I love the orchid attached to the ceramic piece (photo 13); I "need" that snail sculpture (photo 17); and I adore that mossy pot thing (photo 32).

    1. Yay! Glad you enjoyed these photos Kris, and I insist you come to the show next year!

  4. So many inspiring and creative ideas to be gleaned here. My favorite was 'Alice's Wonderland' with its mossy-ferny vibe. 'Rocking the Casbah' made me think of your pavilion. Must be the use of orange... I could see you creating the nap space!

    1. Yes the only person I know whose Portland garden has more orange in it than mine is the creator of that display.

  5. I always love these little spaces as they are a lot more 'personal' and affordable for the average person. My top favourites were the Rock the Casbah, and yes could have climbed right in. The winner for most creative would be the kokodama water feature. Loved it!

    1. I'm so glad this part of the show remains so popular.


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