Saturday, March 16, 2013

Building a show garden: MOVE-IN

It was exactly a month ago on this date that my team and I tackled the ever-daunting and carefully choreographed task of garden show move-in. It's utter organized chaos, but the staff of the convention center and the Flower and Garden Show were so tremendous and very helpful throughout the whole process. It was such a treat and an honor to work alongside such people during such a stressful and tension-filled event.

The teams of contractors I asked to help were absolutely great to work with and the hardscape they installed impressed not only show-goers, but the show managers as well which lead to comments like, "Do they know they're only building for a five day show". heheh

NWFGS 2013 Move-In Prep

This was the scene when I came in and started scoping out the site as I waited for the first of several trucks to drive in during our allotted time.

NWFGS 2013 Move-In Construction 1

It all went so quickly. It was frantic, tension filled, overwhelming, fun and I did my best to keep my cool and made sure to just trust that everything would fall into place. And slowly, it did. It was my very first time placing the rocks Clayton and I selected from Maranakos. Alejandro and his crew at Orion Rockscapes brought in the donated stone to build a striking wall...

NWFGS 2013 Construction of Gabion Wall

...and a very well executed gabion wall at the base of the dry river bed.

NWFGS 2013 Plant Delivery

One of the funnest aspects of move-in was to get the delivery of plant materials!

NWFGS 2013 Windmill Gardens deliveries

The plants brought to Windmill Gardens were absolutely spectacular and so very well grown and cared for. I was overjoyed when they arrived at the Convention Center. My many thanks to their excellent staff!.

NWFGS 2013 Lost Gardener Nurse log placement

With rocks the the most awesome logs from Carter Evans Wood Concepts in place, we stacked recycled pallets, lined them with cardboard and brought in several yards of sawdust fill until we reached the correct level for the plant material to be placed. "Skull Island" was being installed complete with stunning nurse logs Jade let me borrow to give just the right effect.

NWFGS 2013 Lost Gardener Plant Install

The carts of plants were wheeled in close by, forced bulbs from Cascade Cuts were delivered and the magic of the Flower and Garden Show begins to unfold as my team and I began placing where plants would go. Student volunteers were so much fun to work with as their enthusiasm for the selection of plants I brought together showed!

NWFGS 2013 Terry and Jade install

We worked well into the evening hours, even past midnight and, to be honest, it was actually a really nice time to actually GARDEN! The awesome lighting guys from Moon Shadow Landscape Lighting were fun to chat with as we all worked at a calm and pleasant pace and, again, the convention center staff were so very kind and understanding.

NWFGS 2013 Patty Install 1

 During the day, it was mostly smiles during a tension filled move-in, but flowers and plants have a way of making people happy!

NWFGS 2013 Scott Wu

Even at night (or when they turn the house lights off to test the theatrical lighting, we easily get lost in what we're doing. Volunteers played such an important role in creating this garden and it wouldn't have happened without each and every one of them.

It all started to come together and the result was what we had aimed for: A wild jungle with rare and unusual species of plants represented that transitioned into a more confined and rigid environment.

NWFGS 2013 Path from Wild

NWFGS 2013 View from cage 

 The rock that was suppose to look "sort of" like a skull became a skull with the help of Orion Rockscapes who practiced at home and fully went for it! Complete with a dry river bed and an exquisite array of wild alpine flowers, grasses ad succulents.

NWFGS 2013 Skull Rock plantings

 The final product.....coming soon


  1. This stresses me out just reading about it. Thank god for hard working volunteers!

  2. Beautiful job Riz. I wasn't so sure about the skull rock when I first read about it, but you made it work wonderfully. I hope you picked up lots of business from the show.

  3. Riz, if you do decide to do another show, sign me up to help! I promise not to go on vacation . :-D