Showing posts with label Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Building A Show Garden: "The Lost Gardener"

In just a matter of weeks, I'll seemingly disappear (more so!) and hanging on for dear life as I coordinate the construction and installation of my very first show garden for the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

The show's overall theme "The Silver Screen: Gardens Go Hollywood" sparked an idea in my head shortly after the 2012 show and a meeting with the show's long time show designer Cyle Eldred. I never intended to ever do a full show garden, but he convinced me that it was a great opportunity to showcase the work I do, get different colleagues involved, and take advantage of the extensive resources the show provides.

So, I took the plunge, typed up a few emails and dropped the exciting news to friends and colleagues who may be interested in contributing. Here's what I came up with and proposed for the show:

Fatsia polycarpaThis garden was inspired by themes and elements from the motion pictures Jurassic Park, King Kong, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Rather than actually recreating these movies in a show garden, my aim is to capture various aspects from these films to depict a gardener's dilemma: the desire for the newest, rarest and most unusual and how man has stepped in to improve, protect, and alter plants to satisfy the ever changing environments we live in.       “The Lost Gardener” transitions from a wild and mysterious island jungle of assorted woody and herbaceous species and features a rope bridge that takes an explorer from the forest and into a clearing where he encounters the iconic “Skull Island” as a warning of the implications of what could happen to a wild species if removed from its habitat.

A dry river bed of assorted dryland, alpine, bulbous species, succulents and grasses transitions to a more rigid and confined landscape with paved surfaces and formally laid out planting schemes. It will also feature a fence like structure to represent the high-voltage barriers in Jurassic Park, but instead of dinosaurs being confined, it’s a rare and endangered plant species.

The garden will display the richest, most diverse plant palette representing a number of small specialty growers in the Pacific Northwest who have generously loaned their finest plants for this exhibit. Many of these growers often keep a low profile or simply don’t have the time or resources to have a display or presence at the flower show.  It’s my full intent to support the smaller, local growers who are a wealth of knowledge and expertise; this garden aims to bring our community of adventurous plant nerds and geeks together in a cohesive and sophisticated display that aims to encourage gardeners to seek out and grow something new and extraordinary.

This is a conceptual sketch I drew as a little preview. The skull rock will be done in a different fashion as the likelihood of finding stone close to that shape will be next to impossible.

This is the first draft of the schematic I submitted. Call it the base plan if you will. More detailed construction documents are underway so materials are sourced and we can build as much of it before to make move in and install go quickly.

The past few weeks have involved emails with nurseries, meetings with contractors, tweaking the design and making sure I'm on top of what needs to happen now until February rolls around, so there isn't much time.

I hope to have a blog post about each contributor for "Lost Gardener" so people can learn about the wonderful work they do.

I have a stash of plants being forced by a nursery in Sumner, WA called Windmill Gardens who have been hired by the show to force plant material for exhibitors. Here's what things looked like when I came by to check on them: still a ways to go...less than 2 months!!

It's a long way from a lush tropical jungle, but we'll get there!

More soon...I promise!  It's almost show time!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Where do I even begin to pick up where I left off...

bad garden blogger...BAD GARDEN BLOGGER!!!   Ugggggghhhhh....

I guess I could say, in my defense, that I was actually gardening and not sitting on my ass blogging about every event that's garden/plant/flower related. The problem is, just about every aspect of my life is related to plants, flowers and garden and I can't even begin to choose what to share.

Plus, I've also just been so overwhelmed with work. It is FALL after all! Clean up is endless and preparations for the winter, plus TEACHING; the weeks go by so fast and, olly crap, it's almost NOVEMBER!!!

So, here's are some events that took place over the past month. Why don't YOU choose which topic I should do a full blog post on:

-My cousin Jocelyn got married (yes, another wedding, but I didn't do the flowers this time, but there's still something plant related that's cheesy and hilarious)

-A wedding also means a little family reunion. I had cousins stay with me and see my garden which included grapes my grandfather planted that ripened just in time.

-Just got back from my first ever trip to the Northeast hitting up New York City, New Jersey, and the Philadelphia area to visit family, friends, and, of course, GARDENS! I'm sure there will be a post on this no matter what. was pretty incredible!

-Finished my design for my show garden for the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

-Filmed the second episode of the "Next Generation Gardener"  (currently being produced and edited!)

-Presented my first talk called "Travels of a Garden Foodie" to a local garden club.

-Started teaching a class on Nursery and Greenhouse Production at Edmonds Community College. 

-Landwave Gardens in the fall is always a treat as the landscape really lights up.

-It's that time of year where I'm preparing for the winter and digging, dividing, and transplanting all sorts of plants.

I'm sure this isn't all of it, but take your pick(s) and I'll get another post up.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 Northwest Flower and Garden Show: Part 3: Through the Eyes of a Non-Gardener

11 Hyejin photographs here comes the sun
My friend, Hyejin Yun, joined me again at this year's press tour for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. A far cry from her typical desk job working for Microsoft, but as an avid photographer, she's applying all the skills she's learned by taking photographs of landscapes, people, random artifacts, and comes to the show to treat her eyes with something far more compelling than codes and email complaints.

7 Hyejin photographs Orchid

It's always fun to share my world with someone who's not too familiar with it, yet has utmost respect for it. I fill her in on the technical aspects of the show, but I also have to turn off the "plant snob professional" mode  so I can let her explore and discover the beauty that is the Northwest Flower and Garden Show on her own and develop her own connection with plants and flowers. The subjects she chooses to photograph are intriguing to me because it lets me look into her eyes and what she sees.

Check out her webpage and fabulous work HERE

It's the last day of the show and I'm headed down to soak up the show and stir things up a bit. ;-)


Thursday, February 9, 2012

2012 Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Part 1: A critical eye

2 Marty shows insect hotelI've been trying to figure out all day how I could present this: I collected some notes and photographs during the press tour for the 2012 Northwest Flower and Garden Show and part of me feels the obligation to highlight all the wonderful things about it, but then another part of me goes into work mode and wants to just be overly critical. After years of attending and being a part of this show (and yes, having also visited the famous Chelsea Flower Show last May in England), I know a lot of the challenges both attendees and exhibitors face when it comes to putting together award winning gardens and displays that people will admire. After talking to friends and colleagues, both amateur gardeners and professionals in the field, I summed up some of their thoughts and my own as I walked the show floor. I won't name names, but they were observations that struck a chord somehow and this is just beginning to scratch the surface.

*IT'S A LOT OF HARD WORK that takes a team of dedicated and organized people to put exhibits like this together. Always remind yourself of that no matter how hideous and poorly built some of the gardens are, they took months of planning and just a short amount of time to put all together. 

*DO away with the theatrical lighting for the show gardens. Light those that want/need to be lighted, but let people see what they're going during move-in and let the plants and ornaments stand out so they can be fully admired and photographed.

*ENOUGH white birches. Love them white stems and peeling bark, but THERE ARE OTHER TREES you can use!!!

*IT'S THE SAME PLANTS EACH YEAR. You'd think that growers know what's been done before, but they seem too reliant on the same plants each time and it's totally understandable. It's winter and the palette can be very limited, but even a friend who's a non-gardener attended last year felt that everything was very "romanticized".

6 Birdsong

Orchid tuxedo

*EVERYONE'S INTERPRETATION OF THE "FLORAL SYMPHONY" KINDA SUCKED with the exception of the orchid folks with their cleverly interpreted music stand signs and tuxedo pots. Others just tried to pull off a music theme and it all seemed pretty half-ass.

*MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A MATURE LANDSCAPE! Yes, you put it together in just a few days or even under 24 hours. This is a show to inspire gardeners what they can do with their landscapes and, yes, you want to demonstrate how to plant and do things, but THIS IS A SHOW! Make it look like it's been growing that way FOR-EV-ER!!.

*EXHIBITORS TRYING TOO HARD TO BE SUSTAINABLE. They're trying to get a message across and demonstrate how to be more "green", so they display the concept and embellish it with plants and garden art to make it look good to the point where it looks gaudy and unrealistic.


*IF YOU'RE GONNA INCLUDE EDIBLES, MAKE US WANT TO EAT IT! Not something we should tear out because it's not doing anything. Yes, it's a tough time of year to even have veggies looking good, but down to the Pike Place Market and throw some great produce on your display garden or something!

I could go on and on; and I probably will later on, but this gets us started. For the seasoned professional, they can be pretty critical, but for the casual show attendee, it's simple something spectacular! Both, however, will acknowledge the time and effort it takes to create these displays and marvel at the fact that such a show like this exists for all of us who enjoy gardens, plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables and also bear in mind: THE SHOW ISN'T JUST ABOUT THE GARDENS and that's probably the reason why I love this show.

More soon...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Almost showtime!

Just a few days remain until the biggest event in Pacific Northwest gardening takes place at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center here in Seattle.

I'm getting sick and tired of this show NOT GETTING ENOUGH ATTENTION no matter how hard the staff work to promote it! I speak from a perspective of someone who's been both a spectator and an exhibitor behind the scenes and as an active member of the gardening community here, I really wish this show could be like the OSCARS of Northwest Horticulture. The glitz, the glamor, the paparazzi, the celebrities and everyone in Seattle knowing that this show is taking place and they have to see it and experience it no matter what! Yes, there are complaints about crowds (come during the morning or later in the evening), parking (get dropped off and picked up or take the bus), but there's so much to see and experience.

A display garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

HRH Queen Elizabeth II at Chelsea
Queen Elizabeth II greeting garden designers

 Perhaps I'm venting a bit as I finally had the opportunity to visit the Chelsea Flower Show last spring (see blog post here) and my article comparing it to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show that just came out in Pacific Horticulture Magazine. There are many similarities and each show definitely has its own strengths and weaknesses, but it's the press and publicity about Chelsea that just blows me away. Big names like Ringo Starr, Helen Miren, Gweneth Paltrow, and Vanessa Redgrave made appearances and, each year, the friggin' QUEEN OF ENGLAND comes to take in the displays, the scents and all the wonderful pleasures of seeing the show before it's open to the public.

Celebrity with Rose 1
Vanessa Redgrave
I'm sure there's a lot of issues why our show can't garner the big names: security, liability, "over the top" demands and I guess our famous people just aren't all that interested in plants, but one never knows! Part of me feels like they're just not being invited nor encouraged to attend the preview gala. Yes, celebrities have tight schedules and are exceedingly picky about how they're portrayed and where they can and can't be seen, but it's PLANTS AND FLOWERS, of course you're gonna look damn good amongst beautiful things. Also, having celebrities come in an instant draw for people. Some could care less about plants, but if they knew that Bill Gates or Kenny G would make an appearance or performance, heck, why not go with a chance to see a "big name"!

In all honesty, part of this rant is stemming from a personal struggling I've been dealing with for quite some time. I often feel like I'm emersed in an industry that stuck in the dark ages and trying to venture out is frowned upon. While I feel very strongly about maintaining traditions and the common ways we nurture our plants and gardens, making it accessible and readily available to anyone has been the ongoing challenge.

What it has turned into are "trend-setting attempts at marketing crap" that are suppose to make gardening "easier" for people. Yes, it's a luxury to garden, to have a garden, but it takes work no matter what! Those getting into gardening need to be educated, inspired and motivated to  put in the work to grow plants or else they shouldn't be reluctant to hire proper help if they want a garden, plants and flowers in their life. Essentially what I'm trying to say is: gardeners and those working in the horticultural industry don't get enough credit where it's truly due!

I like to think that the Northwest Flower and Garden Show is a place where we in the gardening community can truly take centerstage and shine. It's our chance to show off our ingenuity, our skills and deep knowledge and set us up for new jobs, new ideas, and new opportunities in the coming gardening season. All of us need to continue to believe that our industry has a bright future ahead and we need to stop whining about the economy and scrambling to find where all the trends are going. Yes, we're all broke and losing money, so then keep your objectives simple. It's really a matter of re-instilling the value of nurturing the earth and the satisfaction one feels for growing a plant in a landscape. There are different paths and directions towards those values, but that's what makes our field so exciting and unique; not everyone is going to be doing the same thing the same way. Instill in them the sciences of how plants grow and develop and let the art-form evolve by responsibly bringing it all together in a garden.

Some people will be in awe and many will say, "it's just like every other year...bleh". IT DOESN'T MATTER, IT'S THERE AND DESERVES TO BE THERE!

I just wish everyone knew how much work goes into putting in a display garden at the Flower and Garden Show. It takes a incredible leader with a bold and clear vision and a team to plan, design, grow, transport, arrange, install, maintain, and finally dismantle. All in an effort to say, "We love what we do and we'd like to share it with everyone in the hopes that you'll support us and our community."

I'm slowly visualizing my presentation in my head and I'm praying that it's well attended. It think it's going to be pretty awesome. Yes, my topic is very....plain and traditional, but this is a 29 year old talking about it! There's bound to be something obviously different about it and, perhaps, exciting.  =)

So there is a preview party that's put on by the Arboretum Foundation. I can't promise any celebrities such as Bill Gates, Dave Matthews, Amanda Knox,  or any of these other celebrity Seattleites! but you should check it out.



Friday, June 10, 2011

CHELSEA 2011 REPORT - Part Two: Press Day Show Garden Highlights

I honestly didn't have time to stop and say "OMG, OMG, I'm at the Chelsea Flower Show". My mindset was more like, "OK, what's the game plan? Where do I start? Do I just start taking photos??". So I did:

First, I strolled through the outdoor gardens and, boy, talk about diversity in styles and function! There were about 17 show gardens and numerous smaller "urban gardens" that were aimed to demonstrate what could be done in a small amount of space.

There were several highlights and with garden design being so subjective, I'm going to highlight a few personal favorites (or photos that turned out well) and why I liked them. I don't want to be overly critical, these are just my casual observations:

B & Q Garden 5
Amazing what great shots you can get without the hoards of people around. This garden drew so much attention as it featured the tallest structure ever built for the Chelsea Flower Show. This was the B&O Garden featuring a modern style that utilizes all edible plants and sustainable building features such as a potting shed that harvests excess water for its own integrated irrigation system, solar panels, a vertical garden of vegetables and herbs also built with its own irrigation system, etc. etc. The only thing that doesn't really come across as sustainable was the perfectly clipped mulberry trees to create this rigid framework that makes the design futuristically chic, but to maintain this look is going to take a lot more work than one might realize.

Malaysia Garden
Chelsea is known for its efforts to draw an international repertoire of designs and designers and this extravagant garden was sponsored by Tourism Malaysia. It might look spectacular from someone who's never been to the tropics and, don't get me wrong; it's truly awesome, but the overall design and palette of plant materials is comparable to that of a trendy shopping mall interiorscape that seems to be installed in every large shopping center in Southeast Asia.

Potted Edibles in courtyard
One of my favorite gardens, I will say had to be this highly overplanted and dense design by Bunny Guinness, who I hear a lot about. I guess what I like about it is the plant palette: it's all so familiar and it's so dense that you feel like you're one with the plantings and they're there for you to savor and enjoy. The lighting captures the essence of this garden to make it feel like a morning stroll through an abundance of fruits and vegetables. It is quite overdone from a design standpoint and certain spaces weren't very well defined as the original sketch submitted made it look more formal than it really turned out to be.

I could go on and on about all the other gardens, but that would just be ridiculous! Hahah.

Looking at these gardens, I look at our own Northwest Flower and Garden Show and I feel like our displays are fairly comparable in terms of execution. The biggest difference is the plant palette since our winter show tend to utilize winter blooming plants with very few things forced to grow out of season and the fact that our show takes place indoors makes it really hard to compare as there are strength and weaknesses with having both kinds of shows.

Both shows are certainly both over-the-top with some practical application to home gardeners and take an extraordinary amount of planning and time to put together.

The timing of Chelsea really maximizes on the availability of so many different plants and many traditional plants that people are very familiar with, so instantly, they're able to relate and marvel at the extravagant displays. Compared to the NW Flower and Garden Show, we have to work a little harder to educate the public who may not know what Sarcoccoca and Helleborus are or why twigs of Cornus sericea, the silk tassels of Garrya or the bark of Betula utilis v. jacquemontii are so attractive and interesting.

Another big difference to are SPONSORS!!! Chelsea is such an iconic name and to even get to be an exhibitor at this show is BIG TIME! What really struck me were the sponsorships that gave money to these gardens. Yes, it's totally advertising for them as well, but for big corporations to just even give a damn about gardens was mindblowing!!

Then I ask, "Why can't Microsoft, Starbucks, Macy's, Amazon, etc. take a very small portion of their vast advertisement budgets and provide support for a garden?? Have they even been approached about such an endeavor?"

I think the problem with these American companies is they're so insistent on having their name and image everywhere they put their money into and for garden designers, they refuse to just "sell out" and cater to their sponsors when they need to sell themselves as well.

Chelsea seems to find a good balance of actually sticking to the principles of the show, yet still gaining the sponsorships and support necessary to make it as successful as it has been.

As always there are more photos on my Flickr page, but there are more stories to come from press day. Stay tuned...


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So the story begins...2011 Flower and Garden Show opens!

Early Spring Color

Check out my photos from the press tour. This will be an exciting show that promises to have something for the avid gardener both beginner and professional, but the target are the little ones as famous stories come to life in gardens that aim to entertain, educate and inspire!

Photos first. Praises and trash talk

Click here for photos!

My friend Hyejin Yun joined me in photographing plants and gardens and her camera work is on display with some beautiful shots during the tour. I guess one must befriend her on Facebook to see it, but I might coax her into posting it for more people to see.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gearing up for the NW Flower and Garden Show

OK, I'm here. Sorry for the lack of updates to those who actually take the time to check up on me and my blogs. It's taken two or so years to realize it, but blogging takes up SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much time. Some people have the financial stability to blog regularly and engage their readers each day, but I can't afford to do that. So, pardon the lack of posts and if you've contacted me before to feature a special event, product, or tropic, I'm sorry I just can't share everything that falls on my lap.

OK...that's to the fun stuff.

It's only a matter of weeks until the start of the NW Flower and Garden Show and it's time to build the hype, garner the support and interest and hope that MANY MANY MANY people will come and soak in the upcoming season.

"Once Upon a Time" is the theme to draw in a younger crowd and the older generation to be able to walk through memories lane and marvel at the displays and take home some ideas and inspirations for their home garden, small plot, patio, deck, or container.

The show always aims to have something for everyone. Aside from my usual plant shopping, presentation speaking, schmoozing, and catching up with old friends and happy plant people, I'm also looking forward to these gardens and events:

A friend's 17 y/o daughter will design a show garden!!!!

Paradise (to be) Regained – …borrowing Thoreau
I'm seventeen years old and my generation is looking for paradise in a shrinking world. There is so much clutter and it continues to grow exponentially every day. While no universal remedy exists, it could start with simple changes that every person can contribute. This is my idea– I want to share a garden that seeks sustainability; including plants that don't beg for water and a container that is repurposed for a unique shelter. This garden uses the power to reclaim and "recharacterize" what is left behind. So when Father Industry comes to battle with Mother Nature, who wins?

Courtney Goetz
Creative Gardener

A former student of mine re-telling "Alice in Wonderland" through her ecologically driven design and potentially using plants I'm lending her!! (can you guess which plant? I've mentioned it before on this blog!)

Alice In Wonderland
"The first Thing I've got to do is to grow to my right size again and the second Thing is to find my way to that lovely garden." – Lewis Carroll – Today we face many unpredictable personal and environmental challenges and a garden can be a sanctuary for contemplation and enjoyment. We need to think "outside the rabbit hole" and in our garden you will see creative and unique ways to do this. So will you think BIG… or small? Relax, enjoy the garden, and consider which paths you will choose going forward in the world.

Zsofia Pasztor
Innovative Landscape Technologies

Then, of course, there's the crazy Judith Jones of Fancy Fronds Nursery who's teaming up with ALBE Rustics to do:

Wind in the Willows - A River Odyssey

Come enjoy the enchantment of a beloved English children's classic, "Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of life along the river. Plants suitable for Northwest gardens range from the dappled shade of Badger's wild woods, on down to the marshy verge of "Portley Otter's" rain garden swale, over to the open meadow gracing the ancestral Toad Hall Your garden can tell a story which will provide a unifying theme to help guide your choice of plants and accessories. Join "Ratty", "Mole", and "Badger" as they rein in the mischievous "Mr. Toad" on the river and the road. You too may discover that there is nothing quite so fine as messing about in the garden.
Judith I. Jones
Fancy Fronds

Vanca Lumsden
ALBE Rustics

There are so many other gardens to see and, I'm sure will look spectacular, while some will just simply say, "WTF is that?!" Totally normal. Totally normal. Show gardens are as subjective as any other art form. We just have to admire the process and the marvel at the overall magic a show like this can possess!

Then there's the attempt at catering to the urban gardener and, most likely, us Gen Y folks who want to venture into gardening, but don't quite have the space or time, they've got "Living It Up":

LIVING IT UP ~ Small Space Patio Gardens

Living It Up City-dwellers, this is for you! Now you can enjoy the excitement of an urban abode with a view of the city and make the most of your terrace, deck or patio. We'll show you how at "Living It Up," in the South Lobby.

This attraction features 3 unique designs that combine stunning outdoor environments. Combining elements of nature and urban living, you'll find inspiration drawing from the best of both worlds.

Explore distinctive designs using outdoor décor, planters, containers and more. know what song's stuck in my head now:

Imagine this happening at the Flower and Garden Show. LOL!! Perhaps a DJ could keep things hoppin' and interesting.

So the FEATURED SPEAKERS should be quite fun.

I'm friends with Kelly and Sue of Far Reaches Farm who will share their stories of plant hunting and collecting. Sue is recovering from a injured ankle from a recent expedition to China this fall and, I hear, is recovering very well. Can't wait to see their finds and see what they hope to share with avid gardeners here!!

One interesting talk I would definitely like to sit in and pay close attention to is a panel that's composed of friends and colleagues I've gotten to know over the years. It takes some pretty big credentials to speak on a topic such as "The Future of Gardening", but it will be VERY interesting to see where things are going and where they think it'll go:

THE GARDEN SHOW – The Future of Gardening
What's In & What's Out in Gardening Trends
Wednesday, February 23 at 2:30 pm in the Rainier Room
Join us for something completely new on the seminar stages as four gardening luminaries get together to talk about what's in store for gardeners and the future trends. This conversation, hosted by Lucy Hardiman, popular lecturer, teacher and author, will explore the what's in, what's out, what should be in, and what should be out, and more. Guest starring Val Easton, Seattle Times columnist and author of four books, including The New Low Maintenance Garden; Richard Turner, editor of Pacific Horticulture, the magazine for West Coast gardeners; and Cole Burrell, designer, photographer and author of 12 books, including Perennial Combinations. This is sure to be a thought-provoking hour of conversation.

Yikes, I just realized that that's the same day I give my DIY talk. It's not until the evening, but I should just be well prepared and set up well in advanced. PLEASE COME so it doesn't look like THIS:

DIY stage poor attendance

The Year-Round Container Gardener
Simple Solutions for Maximum Impact
Rizaniño "Riz" Reyes
Wednesday, February 23 at 7:00 PM in the Smith & Hawken DIY Stage
Everyone deserves to have and be around a COOL PLANT in their busy lives. Find simple solutions to a creative endeavor by learning to plant a container throughout the seasons for maximum impact and minimal maintenance. The talk will cover topics such as selecting containers, potting mediums, plant materials, composition, and maintenance.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Media Day: Garden Show Preview

So, I took part in a pre-show tour of the gardens prior to the judging of this year's display gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

I ran into some familiar faces and fellow garden writer, Marty Wingate, was asked to lead the tour and I was informally asked to keep the group together so we made use of our short time.

Tension was high with some exhibitors getting the final touches together, while there were several veterans just soaking up the media attention they were getting for their completed designs.

Marty talks about Arboretum Display
Here’s Marty in action talking about the fine aspects of winter gardening at the Arboretum Foundation’s surprisingly small, but really well executed Winter Garden.

Arboretum Garden


Veggies are at an all time high as growers meticulously grew edibles out of season just for this show.

Urban Farm
Check out what probably is the smallest garden entry on the show floor this year, but one that certainly drew a lot of attention. I met these guys a few years back when they did a fabulous display of edibles and the whole concept of urban farming really began to take root! Seattle Urban Farm Co. creation they’ve dubbed “Crops for Clunkers”!
Urban Farm 2

And I've never attended a show with so many animals like these chickens here and 2 annoying goats that will certainly be the talk of the show.
One of many chickens on display here at the ambitious display by WSNLA called “There’s No Place Like Home”.

Just about every roof was green at this year's show and many walls were just LIVIN'.
Interior Living Walls
A unique approach to sustainability and real green living.

And, of course, the showpieces and dramatic landscapes that no one besides the disgustingly wealthy can ever own, but the everyday gardener can look at with inspiration and walk away with a fresh idea for their humble yard.

A clean cut and, probably one of the “brightest” displays was this creation by Pacific Stone Company called “Meditation From Within”

Curly Willow Garden
Absolutely dramatic willows in this stunning design by Karen Stefonick and Brent Bissell called “Ahead of the Curve”.

WALP display
A modern design approach to a beautifully composed garden by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers called “Your Hidden Garden Discovered: Collaborate with a Landscape Designer.”

WALP ktichen
Designed by Phil Wood, this display by WALP (Washington Association of Landscape Professionals) called “Simply Entertaining” is simply outstanding and way beyond what my savings could afford.

Marty with Elandan Gardens
These naturalistic landscapes by Elandan Gardens are truly stunning.

Then there's a board game!! Created in part by my wacky good friend Judith Jones.
Worm Garden

Outside the show gardens were these masterpieces in the works. Being able to work with and be around such beautiful things really brings out the joy that is the annual flower and garden show!

Floral Design 1 Floral Design

As for new and exciting plants, here's my pick:

Daphne odora 'Rebecca'.

A much wider gold edge than the standard 'Aureo-Marginata' cultivar, it looked quite handsome and looks to be a promising introduction by PlantHaven. You can find it in the display just as you enter the 4th floor entrance created by the Flower Growers of Puget Sound.

Daphne Rebecca

Oh, and there’s a butterfly exhibit I’m looking forward to seeing once the show officially opens!
More highlights and, hopefully, another cheesy video!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Making an Impression: Getting ready for the BIG show!

So I've been plugging away at this talk on Summer Flowering Bulbs and I'm pretty confident that it'll go very well, but being that this is only my second time speaking at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, the nerves are sure to accumulate as Friday, 6:30PM nears. I'm adding some final touches, making sure the Powerpoint slides flow well, and going through the motions and gestures, I might as well be in a studio choreographing a piece.

In some ways, I wonder if it would be easier if I just had to dance rather than having to open my mouth to speak and make people believe what I was saying. Either way, people will be watching. I always ask myself, "Will people listen to what I have to share and say? Are they going to take me seriously? Will I blank out like I did during a plant propagation workshop I taught last spring? Are people even going to come and hear me speak?"

Last year was absolutely tremendous. I had television cameras following me around the show, wonderful people helping me out each step of the way and I was greeted by a packed D.I.Y. audience with a few people standing in the back to hear me speak. Now, I'm not expecting the same kind of audience or response or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

I guess these days I need more of a validation that all the time, work and effort to be this "Next Generation Gardener" is worth it. As much as I enjoy what I do, this thing called reality sort of sets in and then doubt begins to inundate my thoughts.

As Wednesday, the opening day of the show, approaches, I'm more looking forward to reconnecting with friends and colleagues and being amongst a crowd of excited gardeners ready and eager to get out and work outside in the yard. I guess there's also a part of me that feels great pride in being "someone" in the industry by being somewhat of a veteran of a show I've been involved with for almost 14 years.

The best feeling, I think, is relief: relief that the show will continue on through its new owners, the O'Loughlin Trade Show, Inc.

I'm attending a media day preview tomorrow to have a sneak peak and learn more about the new owners and their future plans for the show.

I better get back to my talk. Even if it's just my aunt, my friend and a handful of little old ladies who come, I look forward to sharing my experience, my photos, my bulbs and plants (yes, I intend to bribe my guests to stay to win some door prizes), and my time with the same level of energy and enthusiasm as if it were a packed house.

Hope to see you at the show!