Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Review of 2014 and the close of "The Next Generation Gardener"

It’s a new year already and I’m just now getting around to writing an update for you all. It was a busy and overwhelming holiday season, like it always is, and I haven’t had an opportunity to do a whole “Year In Review” until now. Scroll down below to see what a tremendous year it's been!

Now, after some careful though, I've decided to discontinue this blog as “A Next Generation Gardener”. 

 I feel terrible that it's been badly neglected over these past few months and with more elaborate and more active and prominent blogs out there, I simply don't have the time to really boost the level it should be and as much as I love sharing information and stories about my plant adventures and experiences, it hasn't really support my business endeavors nor gained much of a following since I didn't really push and promote it nor offered a real consistent update. Someone even called the title a bit pretentious and overly ambitious.

Maybe I’ll just let it sit and have it just be a reference or consider a different blog/different name and sign a contract with myself to commit to one blog post each week at a bare minimum. I could also ask for contributions to the blog, but again, it's very time consuming and I just plain-hate bothering people for something that might just sit there. I'll figure something out.

With many other aspects of social media that makes it much easier to update and stay connected, I'll still be on my Facebook page for RHR Horticulture & Landwave Gardens and I’m quite active on Instagram and sometimes through Twitter (thanks to Instagram). So, if you’re interested in following my work, those are the places to visit and check.

As my last post on here (for the time being) I'd like to review and share the past year with you all:


I kicked off the beginning of the year launching a piece referred to as the "Man Bouquet" that was unveiled at the Love Sick Wedding Expo in Seattle.


 With Nicole Cordier Walhquist heading out to the Washington State Convention Center to build our design for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show Floral Competition where we took the "People's Choice" Award!


With Sandra Laubenthal, one of the owners of Peterkort Roses in Hillboro, OR, sampling the scent of one of my most favorite cut old-fashioned garden roses called 'Helga Piaget'. Peterkort suffered from a devastating fire last month and is slowly recovering. The Valentine's Day crop was lost and they're hoping to have Mother's Day on schedule. 
 I was exceedingly thrilled and honored to be mentioned in the New York Times on an article about plant selections in garden design. This was so amazing to be a part of this!


A major project for me working with Fine Gardening magazine that featured some of my container designs for a Container Gardening supplement!

 A trip down to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit friends, family, and numerous gardens, flower markets and nurseries including the amazing Flora Grubb. I was lucky enough to meet her briefly in person and compliment her on her wonderful work and the great team she's assembled to run the most innovative and beautiful retail spaces I've ever seen!

Each April always brings me down to visit with friends in Portland, OR to take part in the Hardy Plant Society's Spring Plant Sale dubbed "Hortlandia"!  


The beautiful month of May took me down to Oregon to fulfill a goal of mine since I was very young. I stayed with my friends at Sebright Gardens in Salem and then visits to nearby Adelman's Peony Gardens and the infamous Schreiner's Iris Gardens.  Later on I also ventured to Heirloom Roses in St. Paul to see a most amazing collection of roses I've even seen in full bloom the USA.

 I had to just chill out, relax and be silly at one of my most favorite gardens in the world: Northwest Garden Nursery in Eugene, OR.


June was full of celebrations including my sister, Gretchen, finishing her nursing degree from the University of Washington. Yes, I made her floral crown and later learned that I had to spend more time processing them so it wouldn't weigh so much. 

 June was the perfect time to get away, head east to the U-Pick farms of Western Washington and pick sun-ripened strawberries early in the morning. It's back-breaking work for those who have to do it to earn a living, but not having a personal garden to really grow them on, I felt like I could have stayed there the whole day.


 I found myself in the Midwestern USA for the first time ever for Cultivate 2014 . Formally known as the OFA (Ohio Floral Association) Short Course, it was the largest gathering of nursery industry professionals I've ever attended and it's the largest horticultural expo and convention in North America. Not only was it a wealth of horticultural industry knowledge and new plant introductions, it was so amazing to connect and re-connect with some of the most wonderful people.

 Speaking of wonderful people, these two ladies have brought me a lot of personal success and fulfillment by supporting my major floral endeavors during the summer wedding season. Of course there's Nicole again to the right and then there's Lacey Leinbaugh of Blue Lace Design. Lacey is also a horticulturist who does exquisite floral work and the three of us spent our time working together exploring the possibilities of our skills and aspirations in the floral industry. Not only are they some of the most talented designers I know, they're also the most modest and kindest.

 Late summer meant taking a break and reconnecting with friends I haven't seen in a long long time! This is Sophia and we knew each other in high school for one year since I was already a senior when she was a freshman, but we were in play production together and continued to perform in dance after I graduated and it's pretty remarkable how we can just pick up where we left off. She's as bubbly and fun as I remember her to be! Here we played tourist following a Michael Jackson flash mob we both took part in!

I reconnected with my friends and colleagues once again for the Farwest Show in Portland, OR where a new gardening app was launched called "GrowIt" (sort of like a Yelp for buying and choosing plants to grow) and I tried my hand in designing a floral beard for the great Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm in Kintnersville, PA.

Lacey and I checking out the vast fields of blooming dahlias at Swan Island Dahlias in Canby, OR.

A beautiful. moonlit, summer evening at a concert in Marymoor Park in Bellevue, WA. 


 Fellow horticulturist Preston Pew with botanical taxonomist Dr. Ross Bayton, and flower grower Agnes Cwalina during our late summer visit to Heronswood. The famous garden is slowly being renovated in the hopes that it regains its full glory as a horticultural mecca once again and it might take us, the next generation of passionate plantspeople, to make it happen.

In between all the plant and flower activities, I made time to learn some choreography and take part in the final GLEE Flash Mob performed here in Seattle! Here's a link to our performance. See if you can spot me!

 One of the joys of doing flowers for events is contributing to a cause that helps so many people in need. Each year for the past 3 years, I've done floral work for the Rose International Fund for Children. This was a lovely moment sharing a bouquet of greens and flowers to Nirmala Gyawali, a project coordinator for the foundation's efforts in Nepal. Born blind, she has a most inspiring story of perserverance and dedication and I was honored that she still noticed my work through the texture and scent of the flowers and foliage.

Some personal time off camping up in the cascades on the Mountain Loop Trail with my friend, Reid. It was sort of nice not having cell phone reception.

 My brother, Karl, sharing his fruits of his labor with this bumper crop of wine and table grapes in his garden.


 A trip up to Vancouver, BC is always greeted with fine company: friends and loved ones and great gardens and food! I attended and did flowers for a benefit dinner and I took some time to meet up with UBC Botanical Garden curator. Brent Hine.

We said "Farewell" to one of my mentors when I was a student and volunteer at the UW Botany Greenhouse. Doug Ewing retired as greenhouse manager for over 30 years and wish him all the best! He's one of the most resourceful and encouraging people you'll ever know and was always so committed to his work, his staff and the students he supported.

 Back in the studio, this time as a guest instructor to a group of lovely young ladies at a small ballet school in Lake Forest Park, WA. 

So I actually went out for Halloween and made some new friends!


My first attempt at a European bouquet turned out surprisingly well and people seemed to really like it and it lasted for several weeks!

I went to three concerts this year and this was the last one I attended and it freakin' rocked! This is the UK Band, Bastille, performing at Key Arena in Seattle.


BUSTED: Late night floral shenanigans... create this....

.....for this. Visiting my friends, the Edwards family, with their youngest son, Chance!

It was really a fulfilling year with so many wonderful adventures, achievements, and many events I won't soon forget. It makes me look at the coming year with more confidence and an eagerness to excel and accomplish even more.

Thank you to everyone who's kept up with this blog. I hope you've enjoyed my posts and all that I've shared on here.

Warm regards,

Monday, September 15, 2014

Growing a Goddess: A look at Bearded Irises

Last May, I took a trip down to the Willamette Valley to visit several nurseries that, since I was a little kid, have always DREAMED of visiting! One of those places is Schreiner's Iris in Salem, OR.

Quite possibly the largest growers IN THE WORLD, the variety is outstanding and the quality of plants one gets from Schreiner's is simply top of the class.While it's nearing the end of shipping season for them, there's still time to get a few plants in if you're a Pacific Northwest gardener!

Bearded Iris grow from rhizomes. They are modified stems similar looking to a ginger root you find in the produce department (also a type of rhizome) that sit just above the soil surface with the fleshy roots in the ground.

They have sword-like gray-green foliage and from the center of the fan of foliage will emerge a stalk bearing the buds and eventual flowers.

The trip to Schreiners was absolutely amazing even thought it was past peak bloom. But wow, the incredible show they still put on!

The exquisite display gardens!

Buy a big bundle of fresh cut Irises home with you!

An assortment of cut blooms always on display, always labelled..... you can order exactly which varieties you want to be shipped at the proper planting time for your area!

Rows and rows of phenomenal color out in the fields!

A future introduction??

New stars waiting in the wings

I had a wonderful honor of meeting Ray Schreiner, who leads the breeding work they're famous for!

There are many Iris growers across the country including the infamously young Kelly Norris who owns Rainbow Iris Farm in Iowa. He also wrote an excellent book that covers the wide spectrum of these types of Irises:

Also from the Willamette Valley, actually not far from the Schreiner's fields are my friends, Thomas Johnson, who along with his partner Kurt Hansen, run the wonderful Sebright Gardens specializing in Hostas and shade plants. But also, Thomas runs Mid-America Gardens that feature many of his own Iris breeding work!!

Just passed peak, but the views from his fields are breathtaking especially at sunrise!

Still loads of dramatic color out in the field

Stunning with the Willamette Valley view in the background. I could really live here!

From breeder Paul Black, a fairly new introduction called 'Men are from Mars'  =)

It was a treat to walk with Thomas in his fields and get a first hand lesson in the basics of bearded Iris breeding!

Check out your local nursery or better yet, purchase direct from these sources and have these bountiful blooms in the widest range of colors possible gracing your gardens next spring and every spring after!!