Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The NWFG Festival; things I liked in the display gardens

If you've been online much this last week you probably know the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival took place in Seattle Feb 14-18—it was a fantastic gathering of plant people from near and far. The theme this year was...
Which got a big "thumbs up" from all who attended. I felt like the show had been struggling post-COVID and honestly was a little worried it was going to fold completely—or worse—turn into a hot tub, sock and Veg-O-Matic sales event. Thankfully this year it felt like a renaissance was underway. There were so many wonderful seminars and plants (actual plants!) everywhere you looked. 

Rhododendron 'Ebony Pearl' in the entry garden...

Which is where I also spotted a pot of plastic sarracenia and an accompanying plastic slug. Why plastic sarracenia? I have no idea. 

This fantastic metal roof was the first thing I saw when I wandered through the big display gardens, the garden was titled HERE COMES THE SUN and was the work of Devonshire Landscapes and Zenith Holland Nursery.

Their garden was also the location of this great woven wall.

I swooned over this simple water delivery device in the garden called BACKYARD BLISS by Wintergreen Landscapes and Nursery.

But was rather annoyed by this fellow who sat there working in their booth for longer than seemed appropriate. He wasn't there to say "pull up a chair, let's chat", cause you couldn't actually walk into the "garden", you just looked at it (and him), from the side.

Check out that fabulous structure! HOW MUCH SHE LOVES US by Jen Szabo Collaborative Landscapes.

Love the staggered deck, love the metal "rib cage"...

The show lighting, while overall much better this year—no dark theater feel—still made it hard to take some photos, like of the plants in the metal wall, a great detail.

I have to say it again, I love that house-shaped rib cage! White was a great color for this venue, but I would love to see it black in an actual landscape.


Next up, HARVESTING BEAUTY from HomeGrown Organics and NW Green Panels. I'm usually a sucker for a nice metal greenhouse, but this wooden frame was lovely, as was the metal water ring at the corner.

There were many planty things to admire inside the greenhouse.


I especially loved the suspended logs, covered in moss and plants. So well done!




Little Prince of Oregon (Mark Leichty) and Relish Gardens were responsible for EMERALD REVERIE: LIVING A PLANT-FILLED LIFE...

...and it truly was plant-filled! Such a refreshing change from many of the show gardens that were just about the hardscape. 

One side of the garden was done up "stumpery" style.



Complete with a table base that I would LOVE to have in my garden.

Vertical bark planters hung on the wall separating the outdoor and indoor spaces.


My one beef with this—and most of the show gardens—was the need to look at the garden from outside. Here at least you could walk through part of it, but why not all of it?

This cozy reading spot finished off the garden's corner.

PLUNGE INTO SPRING! from Method Hardscapes was (as you might imagine), a hardscape lovers dream come true, but I did love the paver pathway across the water feature. It was generous in size. If I had been able to walk across it, I wouldn't have feared falling into the water.

Finally, the most interesting garden I saw at the show was one of the small, City Living spaces, designed by Richard and Deborah Bloom of Obsidian Wind Chimes.

The balcony display itself was wonderful, but the screen that fronted it was beyond amazing. 

It was a curtain of Proboscidea lutea (aka Devil's Claw) seedpods.

I got to talk with Richard about their work, and should have asked how many interconnected seed pods there were.

They left a few at the base of the curtain wall, so people could pick them up and look at them without destroying the display.

The center section was made of strung together Trapa natans (water chestnut) seed pods alternated with Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) seeds.

I kept hearing people ask "are those real!?!", to nobody in particular.

On the floor of the "balcony" display was a pathway of obsidian.

And on the table a sphere of devil's claw seed pods, wow!

In talking with Richard about their work I learned he and Deborah live in Portland, not too far from me. I hope they know how many people were completely enchanted with what they created.

Up Friday will be a look at the plants and the people of the 2024 NWFG Fest...

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Monday, February 19, 2024

My twist on a Spring Planting Plan for the PNW

Fine Gardening magazine asked me to submit a Spring Planting Plan for their regional experts section which appears in the April 2024 issue. 

They also encouraged me to have fun with it, so I submitted a true "danger garden" style planting. No bulbs or spring ephemerals for me! The planting plan is based on a vignette in my front garden, which is also on the cover of my book.

I was eager to see what the "artists rendering" of the planting would look like, since I know it so well in my garden. I like the way she put one of the euphorbia in a container, I might have to do that!

Here's another view, photo taken last September, when the euphorbia were not in bloom...

The featured plants are: Yucca rostrata (photo taken at Argyle Winery).

Agave ovatifolia

Euphorbia rigida

And Mahonia gracilipes...

This is a really good issue of the magazine too (I'm in good company). There's an article from Dan Johnson, whose garden I was able to see in 2019 as part of the Fling in Denver (post here). He writes about vignettes and knitters—two things I also like to write about and lecture on.

And a story from Curtis Steiner, whose Instagram feed I enjoy. His Seattle garden is all about the foliage (sound familiar?).

I believe the issue is on newsstands now, check it out!

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To receive alerts of new danger garden posts by email, subscribe here. Please note; these are sent from a third party, you’ll want to click thru to read the post here on the blog to avoid their annoying ads. 

All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.