Showing posts with label show gardens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label show gardens. Show all posts

Sunday, March 31, 2013

San Fran Flower and Garden Show: Show Garden highlights

Ok, so it's not the Northwest, it's "different" my colleagues say....

First of all, I want to mention the positives: GEORGE HULL is the man! Hooking us up with comp tickets to the show! He's a horticulturist and plant breeder from Arizona and he was there with his students who built a wonderful show garden display and through the perks of social media, we got in for free!

Having attended the NW Flower and Garden Show for almost 17 years, I couldn't help but have a bit of an expectation when I heard of the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. I've always associated the city as multicultural, cutting edge in terms of design, trendy and would pave the way with the latest in lifestyle.

So, I walked in the halls and saw this:


So yeah....

It had an interesting, almost COUNTY FAIR feel to it; a large exhibition hall minus the livestock. Then the photo below just needed a clown and maybe a few rides in the background.


Not gonna lie, this was awesome to see!

The show gardens represented a country with the overall theme of "Gardens Make the World Go Round". Let's see which countries you can identify with just the photos I took.

What I tried to look for in the show were interesting and eye-catching compositions and, of course, wonderful plants!

This composition and walk-through garden has these interesting panels and cone-shaped containers. I like the effect the grasses at the base create to make it seem like the pots are hovering just above them. The lighting and the shadows created on the panels were unique. The plant palette....meh.

Now this garden had some wonderful plants! Diverse selection of what appear to be primarily grasses, California natives and, basically, a drought tolerant landscape. It just lacks a little definition and no one plant really stands out. The stone work all around the garden was pretty cool though:




Kudos to George Hull and the students at Arizona State University who put together a display that pretty much swept all the awards!!!  Of all the gardens, it was the most complete and the different rooms show goers were able to experience was pretty well done. Their use of materials, mostly (if not all) recycled, was fantastic. They wanted to demonstrate simple vignettes that the home owner can easily build and replicate in their warm/arid landscape. More photos of their garden and how it was built in this LINK.

These faux stone walls lit from the base were very effective and done to scale very well.

And the architectural plantings of mostly desert Southwest plants were in fine display and wonderfully contrasted with the intensely colored walls.

So this was suppose to be the Philippines.

I can't remember what country they were trying to represent here, but it was both interesting and odd at the same time:


One of my favorite gardens was this simply planted space that was both comfortable and sophisticated at the same time. Wonderful specimen olives with excellent form and the paving materials were very nice. Great use of gabion walls as well.




The true centerpiece of the entire show was this phenomenal globe planted up with succulents! A mighty impressive feat!!


Then there was this:



I'm sorry I didn't have time to read the description of this garden. It was simply a "WTF??" moment.


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...


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!