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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The Ubiquitous Adirondack

Average Adirondack chairs on an urban patio.
Average Adirondack chairs on an urban patio.

For those of you expecting a gushing love affair with the Adirondack chair, this is a rant about the excessively-used and overly-beloved garden seat.

People use Adirondack chairs in nearly every style of garden imaginable. While a few locations are well-suited to this chair, many are not. Thomas Lee designed this chair in 1903 when he needed some chairs outdoors at his summer home in the Adirondack Mountains. I’m not saying that the only place that this chair should be used is in the mountains, but frankly that’s where it is best suited. Woodsy settings by a lake next to a rustic cabin are most appropriate where you can lay back a bit and daydream.

 This brings me to the ergonomic application of the Adirondack chair. Too often people use multiple Adirondack chairs around a campfire or an area clearly intended for conversation. Have you ever sat in this chair? If you haven’t, give it a try and just try looking at the person across from you who will (also) be straining their eyes to look back at you. The angle of this seat and back isn’t suited for conversation, reading, or much else except for staring out across a view. While its arms are handy for setting a drink, heaven help you if you actually try drinking, because you’ll end up wearing a glassful with your head leaning against the back of the chair.

There are more knockoffs of this chair than anyone could count, with square backed versions for modern gardens, heart cut-outs for cottage gardens, plastic versions for the budget-squeezed garden, ad infinitum. Many children have made one at school for unsuspecting parents because they are relatively simple to cut out and assemble. They are available in a rainbow of colors, too, but that doesn’t mean they are the best design for most gardens.

There is a very well-known garden in the USA with a large French mansion on the grounds where Adirondack chairs seem to multiply like rabbits out away from the house. The chair and the French house are about as disparate as you could imagine. Think Victorian chair with Japanese garden incongruence. The primary rub here is that gardeners, horticulturists, and many designers too, ignore the architectural detailing of the house and pretend as though it doesn’t matter. In fact it does, and substantially.

French chateau and Adirondack chair are a stylistic disconnect.
French chateau and Adirondack chair are a stylistic disconnect.

If I’ve sent you into a dither over outdoor seating styles or you are furious about the attack on your favorite chair, you are in luck. My newest book can help you remedy your garden furnishing dilemmas and mistakes. The Professional Designer’s Guide to Garden Furnishings serves up a history of furniture as seen through the evolution of a chair, a vast array of alternative seating styles, and a resource index at the back to contact vendors. Even though the title has the word ‘professional’ in it, the book will help any garden owner select appropriate furnishings for their own garden, too.

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Looking Back at the 2013 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

I’m in the throes of substantial anticipation of the 2014 Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Since that is two weeks away my best option is to look back at the 2013 show and what were my highlights.

As a member of the APLD’s international board, I must recognize my fellow members’ efforts in the following gardens:

This delightful, ‘Tuscanesque’ garden:

Audrey’s Roman Holiday (Gold Medal) Created by APLD WA chapter Designed by: Susie Thompson, APLD, Leanne Goulding, and Shelley Retchless
Audrey’s Roman Holiday (Gold Medal)
Created by APLD WA chapter
Designed by: Susie Thompson, APLD, Leanne Goulding, and Shelley Retchless

An irresistible Hobbit garden:

A Hobbit’s New Zealand Garden (Gold Medal) Created by Washington Park Arboretum; designed by Bob Lilly, Phil Wood, Roger Williams, & Rhonda Bush
A Hobbit’s New Zealand Garden (Gold Medal)
Created by Washington Park Arboretum; designed by Bob Lilly, Phil Wood, Roger Williams, & Rhonda Bush

A delightful black and white-themed garden:

Jardin Noir-Film Noir Style in a Modern Garden (Gold Medal) Created and Designed by: Barbara Lycett, APLD
Jardin Noir-Film Noir Style in a Modern Garden (Gold Medal)
Created and Designed by: Barbara Lycett, APLD

The best of show garden was designed by Riz Reyes, up and coming garden personality and all-around wonderful person:

The Lost Gardener-A Journey from the Wild to the Cultivated (Gold) Created by RHR Horticulture-Landwave Gardens, Orion Rockscapes, CEM Design, Inc. & Greencliff Landscape Co.
The Lost Gardener-A Journey from the Wild to the Cultivated (Gold)
Created by RHR Horticulture-Landwave Gardens, Orion Rockscapes, CEM Design, Inc. & Greencliff Landscape Co.

This garden with its white garden furnishings glowed as though in moonlight:

Living Amongst the Stars Created by WSNLA, Designed by Sublime Garden Design LLC
Living Amongst the Stars
Created by WSNLA, Designed by Sublime Garden Design LLC

I especially liked the glass finial and steel rod fence in this design:

Renewal: Enchanted April in the Northwest (Gold) Created by Home & Garden Art, Designed by Jim Honold, Plant Selection and consultation: Pamela Richards Garden Design
Renewal: Enchanted April in the Northwest (Gold)
Created by Home & Garden Art, Designed by Jim Honold, Plant Selection and consultation: Pamela Richards Garden Design

And while this garden didn’t show me anything new, I liked the elements of its design and how they were arranged:

California Dreaming (Silver Medal) Created and Designed by: Kristy Ditmore, Jamie McAuliffe, and Rick Perry
California Dreaming (Silver Medal)
Created and Designed by: Kristy Ditmore, Jamie McAuliffe, and Rick Perry

The humor and consistent theme of this garden was delightful:

It’s All in The Movies (Gold Medal) Created by WALP Designed by Jefferson Landscaping and Looking Glass Designs
It’s All in The Movies (Gold Medal)
Created by WALP
Designed by Jefferson Landscaping and Looking Glass Designs

Other bits and pieces I noticed at the show (apologies for lack of credits):

Using glass with lighting in lieu of flames
Using glass with lighting in lieu of flames
Clever outdoor lighting
Clever outdoor lighting
A small garden on the Bridge had many fun elements.
A small garden on the Bridge had many fun elements.
Floral arrangements and pots were everywhere. Great place to get ideas for containers!
Floral arrangements and pots were everywhere. Great place to get ideas for containers!

If you want more:

http://www.gardenshow.com/the-gardens/garden-archives/2013-photo-album/

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Sharpen the Pruning Shears; I’m Ready for Spring.

It’s late January in case you hadn’t noticed. The days are getting a little longer and there’s a wee bit more sun. Time to prune!

It's no mystery why grasses need to be cut back this time of year. They've been hammered by wind, rain, a little snow and ice.
It’s no mystery why grasses need to be cut back this time of year. They’ve been hammered by wind, rain, a little snow and ice.

I’ve already begun with hellebores, which if I don’t clip off the old leaves, the new flowers will have a rather dismal looking skirt. Once I’ve finished with the hellebores (they are in multiple locations in my garden and I probably have at least 40 of them), I’ll begin to cut back the grasses. There are many of those, too. I’ll probably cut back the evergreen ferns…especially the sword ferns…as I cut back the grasses. Then there is always the issue of clearing all of the piles of clippings during the process. Clean up as you go if you can.

Worn leaves on hellebores detract from their flowers. So cut them off now. You'll be rewarded with a fresh flush of new growth after flowering.
Worn leaves on hellebores detract from their flowers. So cut them off now. You’ll be rewarded with a fresh flush of new growth after flowering.

I will also prune or even remove the Betula youngii that I’ve had in place for so many years. When I planted it I didn’t look up how big it would get. That would be de rigueur for me today. I recall seeing a mature specimen at the Blodel Reserve, further north in WA State. It was quite large. This is when I knew that eventually I’d be in trouble. So several years ago I planted a Viburnum which will get to around 8′ tall and have been allowing it to get larger every year at the edge and a little beneath the tree. Now it’s large enough that if I remove the tree, the Viburnum will shade the plants that the tree has shaded. It will also not shade the Puritan rose a little farther away which means it will perform better, too.

Yes, it’s mid-winter and the livin’ ain’t easy. But summer will come and there will be those magical days that I so enjoy outdoors. And maybe I’ll have a little more time to sit in the garden and enjoy it.

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Intentional Serendipity

Serendipity is one of my favorite words. According to Google, “ser·en·dip·i·ty is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”. Due to the nature of chance as it applies to gardens, I often think of it as a design principle in landscape design. In a quote from my book,

Understanding Garden Design: “While not officially a design principle, serendipity, or good luck, cannot be ignored as a factor that has the potential to impact the design of a garden. One year I planted several highly attractive and unusually colored violas in my garden. Serendipitously, they seeded around, expanding their realm, and created quite a beautiful massed planting. Then serendipity turned sour. The adjacent gravel path offered a charmed life for the violas. A few were delightful, few more a bit cheeky, and the eventual flood became the curse of my path. Serendipity does not necessarily stand the test of time, but there is always a chance it might provide more than an ephemeral effect for which you will be grateful.”

I once tried to remove the asters from this composition until this happened in the fall.
I once tried to remove the asters from this composition until this happened in the fall.

I bring it up now because someone recently reminded me of a talk that I gave several years ago during January entitled Intentional Serendipity which has a slightly altered meaning. The presentation was specifically for a group of people learning more about creating sustainable gardens.

Gardens are by definition a contrived space in which man bends Nature to his will. But Nature has a good deal more perspicacity than man. Don’t we gardeners often unconsciously concoct situations in our gardens where Nature says, “Aha! Opportunity!”? Perhaps as we go about gardening, we should consider living with less expectation and more anticipation.

I thought this Tetrapanax had disappeared with a hard winter, but voila! It's back and perhaps in a slightly better location. We'll see.
I thought this Tetrapanax had disappeared with a hard winter, but voila! It’s back and perhaps in a slightly better location. We’ll see.

I’ve begun interspersing some plants with not just the notion that I will like them together, but also with the inkling that I am setting up a contest to see which will plant will become the ‘dominatrix’ and which will become the ‘submissives’. What better time to plan a Fifty Shades of Grey approach to planting design than in January? This year I anticipate some results from some intentional intermingling of the many newly planted areas of last year. So stay tuned.

Persicaria 'Painter's Palette' originally planted itself beneath my Forest Pansy Redbud. It's been such a nice marriage that I have allowed it to spread beneath the tree - only. I pull it from another location.
Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’ originally planted itself beneath my Forest Pansy Redbud. It’s been such a nice marriage that I have allowed it to spread beneath the tree – only. I pull it from another location.
Originally conceived to scramble around as a skirt, Geranium 'Ann Folkard, is vine-like in its ability to also scramble into adjacent shrubs. It gives the appearance of a shrub blooming all summer, though. Serendipitous.
Originally conceived to scramble around as a skirt, Geranium ‘Ann Folkard, is vine-like in its ability to also scramble into adjacent shrubs. It gives the appearance of a shrub blooming all summer, though. Serendipitous.

For 2014, however, I know there are a number of things that I should do to improve my intentions. I intend to:

  • irrigate plants adequately
  • create healthy soil with plenty of proper drainage and mycorrhizae
  • assure that plants have the correct amount of light,
  • use organic methods of maintenance
  • select healthy plants based on their ability to thrive in my climate without being invasive

These are must-have intentions that enhance serendipity. While there are a few more things I might do, I have to acknowledge that the rest is up to Mother Nature.

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Taking Stock of My 2013 Garden

Following the example of some fellow bloggers, I decided that looking through one’s garden experiences from the past year is a great way to begin 2014. So here is a look at my garden through the year. Click on each photo for a larger view.

1-Yucca-Glass-Flower
Glass flowers in the Yucca at a little color in mid-winter.
2-Agapanthus-Seedheads
Seedheads left on an Agapanthus in January.
Viburnum bodnantense 'Charles Lamont' in bloom
February finds Viburnum bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’ in bloom

 

11-Trillium-kurabayashi
Trillium kurabayashi in March.
12-Euphorbia-Tasmanian-Tiger
March: Euphorbia ‘Tasmanian Tiger’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painted red, the Chinese bell hanger near the rock garden and parking area.
July: Painted red, the Chinese bell hanger near the rock garden and parking area.
14.1-tadpoles-in-pot
July: Tadpoles in our water pot kept us intrigued for weeks!
14-Rooster-Sunflower-Garden-Art
July: Garden art in our herb garden.
15-Dark-Foliage
July: Dark foliage accents.
16-Garden-Pot-Banana
July: An exhuberant terra cotta pot with red banana.
17-Red-stained-wicker-chairs
May through August: Sprayed with red-orange stain, these IKEA rattan chairs will last much longer.
18-Lutyens-Bench-View
July: Stained with the same color as the rattan chairs, this Lutyens bench at the back of the garden gets a grand view, especially of lavender.
18-Patio-View
August: A large banana anchors a corner of the patio.
19-Blue-Oat-Grass-Pot
August: A succulent pot sits amidst a sea of blue oat grass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The glorious Gunnera's last year. It's too thirsty and too vigorous, so it must leave.
August: The glorious Gunnera’s last year. It’s too thirsty and too vigorous, so it must leave.

 

 

 

 

 

Fall leaves cover the now vacant deck.
October leaves cover the now vacant deck.
Temple bells and other fun elements dangle from a copper pipe at the entry to my zen garden.
Temple bells and other fun elements dangle from a copper pipe at the entry to my zen garden.
The tiki sculpture along the driveway in fall glory.
The tiki sculpture along the driveway in fall glory.

 

 

 

 

 
 

A Little and Lewis raven overlooks the fall "It's for the birds" garden.
A Little and Lewis raven overlooks the fall “It’s For the Birds” garden.

            

A view of the garden in fall.
A view of the garden in fall.
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Seeing Genius Loci

 

SedonaTrip1

This October Michael and I travelled to Sedona, AZ. and national parks in Arizona and Utah. It was a journey through geology and I found myself wishing I knew more about geology the farther we travelled.

Driving east from the Las Vegas airport, we turned south towards Sedona from the main highway. The terrain began to change dramatically. Cinnamon, ginger, and eggnog-colored rocky cliffs climbed steeply on either side of the road. At road level, we followed a sparkling, verdant creek. The contrast of colors and the sheer, natural beauty of our surroundings were stunning.

hiking views
hiking views

Imagine my surprise when we arrived at the spa resort where we were to stay for two nights and saw what could have been the front garden of far too many homes in America. Lawn, boxwood borders, hydrangeas and other familiar garden plants surrounded the spa. It was so out of character to the area! It was almost as though there was an abrasive line where their garden ended and the natural environment started. I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Why didn’t they just work with what they have?” Our local excursions presented an amazing array of native plants. Manzanita’s deep crimson bark and pale gray-green leaves combined with brassy yellow flowers of surrounding groundcovers were gorgeous. Prickly, paddle-shaped cacti were abundant. Blue-gray leaves of Agaves against rusty-nail colored soil took my breath away.

abundant Agave, manzanita, and cacti
abundant Agave, manzanita, and cacti

Seeing the genius loci of a site isn’t difficult. It’s usually rather obvious. So why is it ignored all too often? We owe it to ourselves to pay attention to this critical clue to the design of a garden. It doesn’t mean plants need to be entirely native, but it does mean respecting available resources and character of place.

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Fluffy Cottage Gardens

 

Cottage-1Okay, it has been quite a long time since I’ve created a new post here. I got sidetracked by a couple of other blogs to which I was contributing. I expect to blog much more regularly from now on!!

Sometimes a rant is in order and as a designer I certainly take issue with some aspects of design. After browsing a very popular home and garden magazine, I just have to speak up about all of those cute, fluffy cottage gardens with their little picket fences and the requisite matching arbor. I know that many people find this style of garden charming, but I’m not one of them UNLESS they are done really well. Usually, I find them ubiquitous and boring.

Cottage-2My major problem with these gardens is that they are usually a muddle of plants. Managing textures takes forethought (read: design) so that you can actually see different plants. There are more shades of green than plain green, too. And flowers are so ephemeral that if you’re going for that really think of when each of them blooms if you want to see them together. Tulips and Echinacea don’t bloom at the same time, so why bother trying to match those two? There are usually too many onesy-twosy’s too. Many designers will tell you to create “sweeps” and “drifts”. Well, I agree, but here’s my definition of sweeps or drifts: varied sizes of elongated triangles that interweave with one another. No drift should be fewer than 5 plants, otherwise it’s a clump.

Cottage-3 Plants aren’t the only issue. If you thought I was going to ignore the picket fence, reconsider. I have seen some interesting picket fences that I would actually consider good design, so it’s not the idea of the picket fence. It’s that so many are identical as though no one could think of anything else to do. Really? Then there’s the matching arbor with the romantic rose arching over intertwined with Clematis. Okay, so I do like the roses and clematis, but I also like something more original that the expected arbor, too. Reconsider materials. Think about how it sympathizes stylistically with the house (or should). What about the color? Is it the major focus of getting to the front door? Perhaps it should be the same color as the front door to improve subtle way-finding.

In short, if you’re going for the cottage garden style, don’t copy the gardens you see in the magazines. One that works with who YOU are will be the very best.

Vanessa Gardner Nagel, APLD, NCIDQ

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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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