Friday, March 3, 2023

Display gardens at the 2023 NWFG Festival

I've got just one more part of the recent NWFG Festival to share, and that is the large display gardens. I won't be chronicling them all, just the bits that caught my eye. First up is "Me Encanta Orquídeas" (I love orchids) from the NW Orchid Society...

Orchids are fun, ya? Honestly I took one look at the garden and thought it was a golf course, with orchids.

I mean it would be a great golf course, but it doesn't feel like a garden meant to share the love of orchids—for that I need to get close to the plants.

On the other hand at least it was interesting enough to cause me to stop and look and take photos. There were many gardens that didn't even manage that.

Oh! Golf course! Well, okay no, just a putting green. (Alpine Greens from Adam Gorski Landscapes Inc). Not my thing.

"Evoke Your Inner Yellowstone" from Method Hardscapes, LLC. I wouldn't mind glamping like this, but I don't need "tastefully appointed comfort" in my own backyard, that's what my house is for! My garden is for plants, all the cool plants. Hmmm, still wouldn't mind camping here though.

"Honey Pot Garden" from the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals. How did that name make it through the layers of approval (people who actually said "yes!") to be used? I kept looking for the honey bucket but never did spot it.

"Falling Water Greenhouse" from Nature Perfect Landscaping & Design and Northwest Green Panels. I did not manage to get decent photos from this one, but loved how they'd designed the water to start behind the greenhouse and flow into and through it. Well done!

Here it is coming out the other side. There was a line to walk through the greenhouse and inside looked a little COVID-claustrophobic, so I didn't venture in. I would have love to see what they'd done inside though, and now I'm dreaming of a greenhouse with water flowing through it.

This was my very favorite display garden, it felt like a garden and it was inspiring! "Shaded from Reality" by West Seattle Nursery.

To the right of the scene above...

So many details to take in! There is a page on the nursery's website dedicated to the garden, complete with photos and a plant list—find that here.

I loved the edging material of stumps and logs.

And the reclaimed windows are fabulous.

Moss and seedpod details!

Also included (I think) are sansevieria leaves, fern fronds, and maybe boxwood branches?

Another fabulous detail; the way the plants continued under the structure.

Excellent fern wall.

I loved everything about this display! Well done West Seattle Nursery!

Just one more garden to share, "Branching Out. Living with History" from Elandan Gardens, LTD. Nice chunky stone...

...and the limited plant palette that complimented the stone so well.

I also really wanted to plant this up. So bad!

And I would love this trunk scoop too...

That's a wrap on my NWFG Fest coverage, see you back at the Seattle Convention Center in February of 2024!

To get danger garden posts by email, subscribe here. All material © 2009-2023 by Loree L Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. I developed thick skin when it comes to those fancy outdoor rooms: I focus on the plans surrounding them, ignoring the furniture and grill. So much so that I don't even see them. I notice multiple displays used Japanese stewartia with its beautiful trunk in full winter glory.
    The West Seattle Nursery always have an imaginative and well executed display. They've been away from the show for several years, even before covid, and I'm very happy they are back. I love the use of logs and the weaved 'rug' from natural garden material. Yay for the home team!

    1. I remember West Seattle Nursery's excellent "desert garden", then there was the year with the bromeliads. Plant focused display gardens will always win my heart!

  2. What do you think of the light in the display area? I think it is kept that low to let displays do their own highlighting, but for me it is too dark.

    1. The lighting has been an on going issue. There used to be a "tweet-up" early one morning where bloggers and other social media users were able to get photos of the gardens with the big lights on, before they dimmed them at opening. While part of the issue is allowing the displays to have their own dramatic lighting, I think the lower light levels also allow the gardens to be a little less inspected. Bright lights allow a closer look at construction details.

  3. The 'Honey Pot Garden' reminded me of the kind of displays offered by our local spring garden show, a perfunctory effort to sell something other than plants or real gardens. (And I agree with you on the name!) While I'm enamored with virtually every greenhouse I've ever seen, 'Shaded from Reality' is definitely my favorite. Much as I love the mix of plants, many of which I probably couldn't grow, I'm also very fond of the light fixture in the shed with its surround of branches.

    1. I'm glad you also enjoyed 'Shaded from Reality', I forgot to mention the shed was for sale post-show. Isn't that fabulous?

  4. Yes, the light was low. The Theme was Spring Vibes Only, so not sure that may have limited the creativity, but other then 1 or 2 gardens, nothing was jaw dropping (and my expectations aren't high) but WSNursery did a fabulous job. The others were nice Maybe it was because I was a bit bored by the same old plant varieties and color combinations and would like something more creative ...I cannot imagine how much it cost to design, source, and build a who am I to give my opinion. But literally the brightest spot in the whole show was the Spring Vibes Only Neon Pink signs and fake moss greenery photo booth / sitting area, which to me is odd. I would have wanted the brightest spot to be in the real gardens. But maybe the dark light is a mood thing. I appreciated the small urban garden spaces but outside of pottery and paint colors, those too could have brought a more incredible WOW factor...but again, its February, so I imagine it greatly affects sourcing and cost. Probably didn't help that it was a dreary Friday when I attended and walking through the sad dark, wet concrete areas to get there...I was hoping for a little more light to brighten me up. In my dreams, I think it would be fun and inspiring to build a display with a Piet Oudolf or Native Prairie garden and post photo ops with actual enlarged photos taken from that native display garden as a way of inspiring showing show attendees of great places to stop and take photos of individual flowers and vignettes. Kind of like a photo scavenger hunt. Also, I think it would be fun to have a challenge of putting on a display advertised as "DIY" of mostly grasses, perennials, and annuals that would inspire people to turn ditches into pollinator gardens in their neighborhoods for less than $500 and a little sweat equity. Not everyone can afford the $90,000 gardens. But again growing and sourcing would be the challenge. My favorite show was from 2018, 2019 and 2020....I left with so many take home ideas.

    1. I think it sounds like you should be part of a show garden design and planning committee!

  5. Wowza! This is a beautiful post with beautiful pics of the show. Love the rock formations and the mosses. I need to get to a garden/flower show again one of these days. :)

  6. Ooh, I like that Shaded from Reality display too. Looks very dark in the show though. Do you know what the organizers hope to achieve with that decision? Better photography? A sense of intimacy and mystery?

    1. All of the above...and I've always suspected the lowered light helped to hide imperfections.

  7. Even the worst of these is better than anything that appears at our local garden event.

  8. The two near the very end are very nice and they obviously put a lot of effort into them. It shows.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!