Learning from Garden Shows, Part 4

The Philadelphia Flower Show (grand Poobah of American flower shows) is the first show I’ve attended where floral exhibition was integrated into the landscape rather than segregated as a separate area. This year’s theme, ‘ARTiculture’, found designs inspired by a selected piece of art, a range of paintings by a particular artist, or even a specific exhibit at a museum. 

An imaginative, enormous flight of floral imagination greeted us as we (with fellow APLD members) entered the show. Nearby was a large ‘wild’ garden that focused on native plants. We saw gardens inspired by painters, Mondrian, Matisse, Wyeth, and more, as well as one inspired by a Korean exhibit. Smaller student gardens emphasized sustainability. Here are the gardens or details that captured my attention: 

Lobby outside the entry: Spectacular paper flower creations such as this that made up a chandelier.
Lobby outside the entry: Spectacular paper flower creations such as this that made up a chandelier.
Also outside in the lobby was this sculpture that consisted of paper cut letters.
Also outside in the lobby was this sculpture that consisted of paper cut letters.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society/ARTiculture Entry Garden: A spectacular use of large-scale flowered mobiles and topiary made up the centerpiece for this over-the-top entry garden. Alexander Calder was their artistic muse.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society/ARTiculture Entry Garden: A spectacular use of large-scale flowered mobiles and topiary made up the centerpiece for this over-the-top entry garden. Alexander Calder was their artistic muse.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society/ARTiculture Entry Garden: An immediate dose of hyacinth fragrance hit my nose the minute we entered and saw all of the color provided a multi-sensory experience.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society/ARTiculture Entry Garden: An immediate dose of hyacinth fragrance hit my nose the minute we entered and saw all of the color provided a multi-sensory experience.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society/ARTiculture Entry Garden: Large balls shaped with chicken wire were covered in dried vine and twig, and then ornamented with flowers.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society/ARTiculture Entry Garden: Large balls shaped with chicken wire were covered in dried vine and twig, and then ornamented with flowers.
American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) + Philadelphia Museum of Art Painted bamboo created the structure for these floral + bamboo creations mimicking palm trees.
American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) + Philadelphia Museum of Art
Painted bamboo created the structure for these floral + bamboo creations mimicking palm trees.
American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) + Philadelphia Museum of Art An amazing chandelier made of plastic utensils and topped with plants.
American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) + Philadelphia Museum of Art
An amazing chandelier made of plastic spoons and topped with plants.
Stoney Bank Nurseries + Brandywine River Museum: This was a stunning garden of natives and not all in their green state. Intermingled were rusted signs of abandoned farm equipment. Inspired by the art of Andrew Wyeth.
Stoney Bank Nurseries + Brandywine River Museum: This was a stunning garden of natives and not all in their green state. Intermingled were rusted signs of abandoned farm equipment. Inspired by the art of Andrew Wyeth.
Stoney Bank Nurseries + Brandywine River Museum: Dried teasels create a dramatic accent among all of the spring green plants.
Stoney Bank Nurseries + Brandywine River Museum: Dried teasels create a dramatic accent among all of the spring green plants.
James Basson of Scape Design + Collection of the Prince’s Palace Monaco A shockingly different sort of garden than one usually finds at a garden show. Within the cob wall was a seat treated with shou sugi-ban, a Japanese form of flamed preservation. A large bowl offered a liquid contrast to all of the dry elements.
James Basson of Scape Design + Collection of the Prince’s Palace Monaco
A shockingly different sort of garden than one usually finds at a garden show. Within the cob wall was a seat treated with shou sugi-ban, a Japanese form of flamed wood preservation. A large bowl offered a liquid contrast to all of the dry elements.
James Basson of Scape Design + Collection of the Prince’s Palace Monaco Using all dried plants set against an arc cob wall created a strong textural contrast and celebrated the forms left for winter.
James Basson of Scape Design + Collection of the Prince’s Palace Monaco
Using all dried plants set against an arc cob wall created a strong textural contrast and celebrated the forms left for winter.
Waldor Orchids + Tyler School of Art While this display was abundantly decorated with a myriad of orchids, my eye went directly to this intriguing sculpture created with straight green twigs attached to a curvilinear form.
Waldor Orchids + Tyler School of Art
While this display was abundantly decorated with a myriad of orchids, my eye went directly to this intriguing sculpture created with straight green twigs attached to a curvilinear form.
Andy Sturgeon Landscape and Garden Design A quiet contemporary garden in Sturgeon’s typical restrained, but elegant, style.
Andy Sturgeon Landscape and Garden Design
A quiet contemporary garden in Sturgeon’s typical restrained, but elegant, style.
Andy Sturgeon Landscape and Garden Design Modern orange chairs added a color element to this otherwise naturalistically colored garden.
Andy Sturgeon Landscape and Garden Design
Modern orange chairs added a color element to this otherwise naturalistically colored garden.
Ever wondered what to do with that dead tree that has great form? Here ya go! Painted in Pantone’s color of the year: Radiant Orchid.
Ever wondered what to do with that dead tree that has great form? Here ya go! Painted in Pantone’s color of the year: Radiant Orchid.
Hunter Hayes Landscape Design + Penn Museum Adding blue glass to gabions filled with stone adds a little sparkle.
Hunter Hayes Landscape Design + Penn Museum
Adding blue glass to gabions filled with stone adds a little sparkle.
Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens + Barnes Foundation Inspired by Matisse, large colorfully painted shapes provide the art set against thousands of bulbs and spring blooming shrubs.
Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens + Barnes Foundation
Inspired by Matisse, large colorfully painted shapes provide the art set against thousands of bulbs and spring blooming shrubs.
Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens + Barnes Foundation Fragrant orange hyacinth were stiff competition for the colorful art forms.
Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens + Barnes Foundation
Fragrant orange hyacinth were stiff competition for the colorful art forms.
Schaffer Designs + Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum This was a very quirky floral display but I was fascinated by how the designer mingled all of these colorful forms. Inspired by the art of Wassily Kandinsky.
Schaffer Designs + Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
This was a very quirky floral display but I was fascinated by how the designer mingled all of these colorful forms. Inspired by the art of Wassily Kandinsky.
Robertson’s Flowers & Events + Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Inspired by “Dancing the Dream” this floral display was hard to miss with its rectilinear forms and bright colors.
Robertson’s Flowers & Events + Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Inspired by “Dancing the Dream” this floral display was hard to miss with its rectilinear forms and bright colors.
J. Downsend Landscaping Inc. + Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Inspired by Mondrian, an art student’s garden interpretation.
J. Downsend Landscaping Inc. + Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Inspired by Mondrian, an art student’s garden interpretation.
J. Downsend Landscaping Inc. + Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts A students interpreted version of Cristo’s Central Park display.
J. Downsend Landscaping Inc. + Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
A students interpreted version of Cristo’s Central Park display.
Temple University, Ambler School of Environmental Design An interesting intersection of round forms in the logs, inside the gabion, and inset into the path.
Temple University, Ambler School of Environmental Design
An interesting intersection of round forms in the logs, inside the gabion, and inset into the path.
Temple University, Ambler School of Environmental Design This should have been better developed as art, but I appreciated the noble attempt at creating art using recycled pipes.
Temple University, Ambler School of Environmental Design
This should have been better developed as art, but I appreciated the noble attempt at creating art using recycled pipes.
Mark Cook Landscape Contracting LLC + North Carolina Museum of Art There were some beautiful elements of this design, but I found the intermingled forms to be too much at the same scale and without a solid relationship to one another.
Mark Cook Landscape Contracting LLC + North Carolina Museum of Art
There were some beautiful elements of this design, but I found the intermingled forms to be too much at the same scale and without a solid relationship to one another.
Mark Cook Landscape Contracting LLC + North Carolina Museum of Art The back side of the first photo is lovely but has little relationship to the front.
Mark Cook Landscape Contracting LLC + North Carolina Museum of Art
The back side of the first photo is lovely but has little relationship to the front.
Suburu This exhibit almost looked as though it had been picked up out of Seattle and placed in Philadelphia. I loved the use of dried grasses and the round metal forms containing logs.
Suburu
This exhibit almost looked as though it had been picked up out of Seattle and placed in Philadelphia. I loved the use of dried grasses and the round metal forms containing logs.
I am not positive who should be credited with this design. I think it is the Delaware Valley College. If so, the garden focused on Nature Deficit Disorder. Considerable use of signage encourage visitors to experience some aspect of the garden. While the signs were helpful, this could have been a very elegant way to organize the entire garden, which felt a bit disorganized with too many different materials and design ideas.
I am not positive who should be credited with this design. I think it is the Delaware Valley College. If so, the garden focused on Nature Deficit Disorder. Considerable use of signage encourage visitors to experience some aspect of the garden. While the signs were helpful, this could have been a very elegant way to organize the entire garden, which felt a bit disorganized with too many different materials and design ideas.
Delaware Valley College? The use of bamboo at the exterior to mount various self-portraits was fun. I wondered to myself if there was a more water-proof way to incorporate something like this into a garden.
Delaware Valley College? The use of bamboo at the exterior to mount various self-portraits was fun. I wondered to myself if there was a more water-proof way to incorporate something like this into a garden.
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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 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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A Visit to Seattle’s Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Each year I faithfully travel to Seattle to attend the NW Flower & Garden Show. This year was no different, except that we did have some snow challenges. What’s been different for me these past 2 years is that I also speak at this show. But I can’t resist hearing other talks. Those I listened to were Dan Pearson, Matthew Levesque, Debra Prinzing, David Mizejewski, and Ivette Soler. Dan’s design ideas and photos were breathtaking, even if his speaking manner was underwhelming. Debra’s and Matthew’s photos and talks about repurposing found objects were terrific. David’s was informative and encouraging about backyard wildlife habitat. Since my garden already meets all of their criteria to be approved as a wildlife habitat, I’m going to fill out that form today and submit it! Ivette Soler is one exuberant, bubbly speaker when it comes to putting edibles in your front yard. I’ve just purchased her book and am in the process of reading it. Looks good!

Browsing the gardens is the highlight and it’s difficult to come away empty-handed from the marketplace.“Wish ‘Shoe’ Were Here” garden was created by the APLD, Washington Chapter. An enormous shoe, the likes of Sex and the City gals, occupied front stage. An intriguing garden layout and some delightful art were its highlights, along with a few choice plants, like Fuchsia ‘Lechlade Gordon’.

Some of my fellow APLD WA members, d4collective, created the signature garden, “The Garden in Verse”. I loved their use of fabric outdoors to create a cocooned, soft, moon garden.

“Next Stop, Hotel Babylon” was a very contemporary garden with vertical and roof-top planting – one of my favorites.

“A Day Well Spent” by Christianson’s Nursery had some interesting edible highlights in their garden. “Paradise (to be) Regained” was a cute, sustainable garden designed by seventeen-year-old, Courtney Goetz.Karen Stefonick’s “A Wrinkle in Time’ had a ‘crystal ball’ and an attractive patio design.“Run Little Pigs, Run!”, a garden designed by Susan Browne, was full of humor and design interest.

Another favorite garden was “The Japanese Garden: Bridging History”. Beautifully designed by Phil Wood (another APLD member), this garden was simply stunning. Well considered details and it included cherry trees in full bloom (about 2 months ahead of schedule). No small feat!!

A few highlights in the market place for me were Abraxas Crow (one is now happily residing in my garden), a ceramic artist’s colorful totems and many of the glass blowers. A new artist I have not seen before had exquisite ceramic prayer wheels. And who could stay away from seeds and plants? Not me!

Abraxas Crow

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