Learning from Garden Shows, Part 3

Because I will be in Philadelphia during the course of Portland’s Yard, Garden, & Patio Show this year, I asked to come to the show the day before its opening. Yes, it’s a LOT hectic that day, with so much construction still going on. So I’m focusing this designer’s eye on what was in place during my visit and definitely before all gardens were complete and ready to face the public. Favorite components of these Designers’ Challenge Showcase Gardens were:

Come Alive Outside, Design and construction by Dennis’ 7 Dees
There were several features that I particularly liked in this garden: the constructed garden room with dining within, the use of metal watering troughs as raised planters, the funky water feature, and the decking pattern. The galvanized steel roof of the structure worked well with the galvanized planters.
1-7D

2-7D

3-7D

4-7D

Inside Out, A Family Portrait: Design by Elida Rivera/All Oregon Landscaping
A garden created for a family that likes to cook outdoors, as well as a fire place where they can gather are the components that define the layout of this garden. Beautiful outdoor kitchen counters and a table with colorful stools are exceptional details.5-Rivera

6-Rivera

7-Rivera

A Bountiful Feast, Design by Jenna Bauer with Showscapes
Although there was a LOT of activity within the center of this garden, components that were pretty evident are a water feature to welcome visitors, raised edible beds, a chicken coop, Belgian espaliered orchard/screen, entertainment bar, and sustainable greenhouse. When completed, this garden will also include a compost transfer station and a water collections system. I really liked the entire concept of having these all relate to one another.
8-Bayer

Abstract Reflections, Design by Matt Hammack, Autumn Leaf Landscaping
Goal to make small space look larger, elevation changes, angles, saturated soil/low spot area, reflective pond with fire elements, art backed by water screens with dripping water, covered patio structure which can double as a greenhouse; woven metal fence (from metal flashing).9-Hammack

10-Hammack

Small Lot, Big Entertainment, Design by Linda Meier with JP Stone Landscape Contractor
There were several clever highlights in this garden and they all involve circles: The repurposed metal disc used as a hanging lamp; the exceptional cut metal screens by artist, Patrick Gracewood; another round metal disc is used as a water fall. A partial circular pergola that supported the light fixture also supported hanging metal screens which could diffuse a view beyond in a real garden.11-Meier

12-Meier

13-Meier-Gracewood

The Art of Tranquility, Design by Treeline Designz with JSI Landscapes
A structural wall that encloses and divides this garden into two distinct areas defines the garden’s layout. Prayer wheels to be installed later in the day will welcome visitors into the space. While I was there they were working on the water feature area and paving. I loved the angular shade structure and guessed that the colored tubes might be what was going to go overhead to create shade or act as lighting. I’m also a sucker for those gorgeous ceramic prayer wheels which you can see in the “Learning from Garden Shows, Part 1”.14-JSI

Ifti (left) and Jeff (right) in the middle of the team near the water feature.
Ifti (left) and Jeff (right) in the middle of the team near the water feature.

16-JSI

Prayer Wheel artist, Chris Moench, busy getting the area ready for the prayer wheels.
Prayer Wheel artist, Chris Moench, busy getting the area ready for the prayer wheels.

Not part of the show gardens, but still a nice feature is an edible garden where designers have planted edibles that not only taste good, but look great together!18-EdibleGarden

The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon always has a spectacular display of winter-interest cuttings along with one of Linda Beutler’s amazing floral arrangements. This year is no different.20-HPSO

Now, off to packing for Philadelphia and the last garden show of this 4-part series.

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Learning from Garden Shows, Part 2

The same family-owned company that owns the Northwest Flower & Garden Show owns Portland’s Home & Garden Show. This year the gardens were the first visible parts of the show as we walked in, making it more evident that the owners want to refocus this show into something that will eventually look more like the Seattle show.

While the gardens are considerably smaller and overall less sophisticated than their Seattle counterparts I found some interesting elements. The backdrop of market stalls once again undermined getting any decent, overall shots of any garden. So I focused on details, which is really where the ‘rubber’ of any good design ‘meets the road’.

Attached to a wonderful metal gazebo, designed and fabricated by Dana Doken, were draperies which could render the interior private, as desired. The fabric may not have been an outdoor fabric but, if not, Sunbrella has new sheer fabrics ready for outdoor use. The gazebo would have been even better with a grand finial at the very top.
Attached to a wonderful metal gazebo, designed and fabricated by Dana Doken, were draperies which could render the interior private, as desired. The fabric may not have been an outdoor fabric but, if not, Sunbrella has new sheer fabrics ready for outdoor use. The gazebo would have been even better with a grand finial at the very top.
This little shower nook with its old-fashioned tub and Victorian style glass screen was charming. I would like to have seen a nod from the contemporary fence to these other two elements, though, to improve design cohesiveness. Garden design by Debbie Brooks Snyder
This little shower nook with its old-fashioned tub and Victorian style glass screen was charming. I would like to have seen a nod from the contemporary fence to these other two elements, though, to improve design cohesiveness. Garden design by Debbie Brooks Snyder
This was my favorite garden due in no small part to its design consistency. It had a very zen quality to it and was believable as the beach garden it was described as being. The detail of the stone steps to the DG paving above was a nice touch. Garden design by Marina Wynton
This was my favorite garden due in no small part to its design consistency. It had a very zen quality to it and was believable as the beach garden it was described as being. The detail of the stone steps to the DG paving above was a nice touch. Garden design by Marina Wynton
A quirky steel screen like this wouldn’t cut it in just any garden. This makes a statement so other details in the garden would have to work, as well. Garden design by Carolyn Gregg and Christine Ellis.
A quirky steel screen like this wouldn’t cut it in just any garden. This makes a statement so other details in the garden would have to work, as well. Garden design by Carolyn Gregg and Christine Ellis.
Two details from the show: note that the steel adjacent to the stone (on the left) is a straight edge next to a curved edge. This detail would have been more refined had the steel been cut to work with the stone in the same manner as the bricks adjacent to the pot in the detail on the right.
Two details from the show: note that the steel adjacent to the stone (on the left) is a straight edge next to a curved edge. This detail would have been more refined had the steel been cut to work with the stone in the same manner as the bricks adjacent to the pot in the detail on the right.
The work of a local metal fabricator, this addition to what is normally an ugly downspout would add a touch of whimsy to just the right garden.
The work of a local metal fabricator, this addition to what is normally an ugly downspout would add a touch of whimsy to just the right garden.

I’ll be visiting Portland’s Yard, Garden, and Patio Show next. I’m anxious to see what those designers have cooked up!

 

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Learning from Garden Shows-Part 1

At this time of year, garden shows are in abundance. The Northwest Flower and Garden Show has already been tucked away until next year, with two Portland shows about to happen over the next two weeks. The granddaddy, The Philadelphia Flower Show, begins Feb. 28. 

Seeing something new is what I yearn to see as a landscape designer, but I also enjoy things I have seen if they are done superbly. As for the awards, I think the judges were spot on in their judgment this year. Also, I found this year’s gardens more difficult to photograph than ever before and I think it was because many designers didn’t consider backdrop (as in protecting the viewer from the marketplace beyond or ugly walls) and reflections (particularly of the overhead show lights in the adjacent marketplace); so my profuse apologies for out-of-focus photographs. Here’s what was most interesting to me at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show:

ART-itecture for Urban Wildlife, design by Susie Thompson and Lisa Bauer for APLD WA chapter Lisa Bauer’s highly creative birdhouses were the focus of this garden. The rhythm of red posts unified both the garden and the distinctly different architecture of each birdhouse. The sculpture of a bird sitting atop an egg pyramid entitled ‘Over-Achiever’, also tickled my funny bone.
ART-itecture for Urban Wildlife, design by Susie Thompson and Lisa Bauer for APLD WA chapter
Lisa Bauer’s highly creative birdhouses were the focus of this garden. The rhythm of red posts unified both the garden and the distinctly different architecture of each birdhouse. The sculpture of a bird sitting atop an egg pyramid entitled ‘Over-Achiever’, also tickled my funny bone.
The Art of Upcycling, design by Vanca Lumsden and Judith Jones Vanca Lumsden’s handcrafted prayer flags were the most notable element in this garden because of their strong repetition of form and color. It’s too bad the backdrop did not show them to better advantage.
The Art of Upcycling, design by Vanca Lumsden and Judith Jones
Vanca Lumsden’s handcrafted prayer flags were the most notable element in this garden because of their strong repetition of form and color. It’s too bad the backdrop did not show them to better advantage.
Peace in Motion – Sanctuary of Peace, design by Iftikar Ahmed Because of the repetition of form, this garden’s most notable elements were the prayer wheels, designed and fabricated by Axis of Hope, that marched us towards the key focal point, a large Buddha sculpture.
Peace in Motion – Sanctuary of Peace, design by Iftikar Ahmed
Because of the repetition of form, this garden’s most notable elements were the prayer wheels, designed and fabricated by Axis of Hope, that marched us towards the key focal point, a large Buddha sculpture.
In Our Hands, design by Anthony Fajarillo Very clever idea: fingerprints represented with recycled plastic bag-wrapped wire.
In Our Hands, design by Anthony Fajarillo
Very clever idea: fingerprints represented with recycled plastic bag-wrapped wire.
In Our Hands, design by Anthony Fajarillo Also in this garden two pieces of noteworthy art that I think went well together, even if other components in the garden was a bit dissonant (particularly the gates): PNW Native American sculpture and an intriguing trompe-l’oeil on the floor.
In Our Hands, design by Anthony Fajarillo
Also in this garden two pieces of noteworthy art that I think went well together, even if other components in the garden was a bit dissonant (particularly the gates): PNW Native American sculpture and an intriguing trompe-l’oeil on the floor.
Terra Cadence, design by Susan Calhoun Photographing this garden as a whole was ridiculously difficult so here are two components: The rill that lead down to the small water fall through an all-white flower garden which kept the garden calm and simple and allowed us to appreciate the spectacular focal point centered above the rill at the back of the garden: an original glass chandelier.
Terra Cadence, design by Susan Calhoun
Photographing this garden as a whole was ridiculously difficult so here is the best overall shot I could get. The rill that lead down to the small water fall through an all-white flower garden which kept the garden calm and simple and allowed us to appreciate the spectacular focal point centered above the rill at the back of the garden: an original glass chandelier.
Closeup of the glass chandelier.
Closeup of the glass chandelier.
Darwin’s Muse - Art Imitating Life, design by Karen Stefonick Wisely simple in concept, with strong repetition of color and form kept this garden very cohesive. The gorgeous glass pitcher ‘plants’ echoed Sarracenia plants incorporated into the garden.
Darwin’s Muse – Art Imitating Life, design by Karen Stefonick
Wisely simple in concept, with strong repetition of color and form kept this garden very cohesive. The gorgeous glass pitcher ‘plants’ echoed Sarracenia plants incorporated into the garden. One note: In a real garden, these would need to be put under cover in some fashion.
Darwin’s Muse - Art Imitating Life, design by Karen Stefonick A glass greenhouse provided a focal point orchid above.
Darwin’s Muse – Art Imitating Life, design by Karen Stefonick
A glass greenhouse provided a focal point orchid above.
Bridge Garden, design by Pot Incorporated One of the tiny gardens on the bridge, this designer featured creative pots and dynamite-looking succulents surrounding a simple ‘deck’ chair.
Bridge Garden, design by Pot Incorporated
One of the tiny gardens on the bridge, this designer featured creative pots and dynamite-looking succulents surrounding a simple ‘deck’ chair.

Stay tuned for part 2 of 4 garden shows.

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