Vanessa Gardner Nagel chirps about garden design

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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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