Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 Yard, Garden & Patio Show, the Showcase Gardens...


Since I missed out on Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show earlier in the month I had a heightened level of excitement about this year’s YGP. As always there were things I liked, things I loathed and the best part was the people. Peter (the Outlaw) and Alison (Bonney Lassie) came down from Tacoma to see the show; it was the first time for both of them. Hearing their take on it reminded me that indeed our show is the less glamorous of the two; the NWFG Show is run by O'Loughlin Trade Shows, “The West's Largest Promoter of Consumer Trade Shows.” While ours is run by the Oregon Association of Nurseries, “a non-profit trade association representing nursery stock producers, retailers, landscapers and related companies.” Go OAN!

I’m going to start my review of this year's show with the showcase gardens, and instead of just going garden by garden I’m going to mix them up, sharing the highlights, things that made me cringe and other observations. Let’s start with the good stuff!

I loved loved loved these short orange walls...

Made me think all over again about painting the wall around our patio the same orange as our shade pavilion...

Loved this structure (there are more structures to come) but mainly the metal chain curtain that surrounds the back and side.

These two ladies sat here talking forever. I walked by, came back around later and they were still there. I guess this garden must work because even in the middle of the convention center they were perfectly comfortable hanging out and chatting. I almost wanted to bring them coffee.

I loved this wall and key-hole cut out entry.

And the wire bench, oh and of course the Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle tree)

As you know I'm not a fan of garden art, nor the idea that you need a "Water Feature" in your garden. This one I liked however.

I also loved the wide open spaces of some of the showcase gardens. At the NWFG Show you can't even step into most of the gardens, those that you can have you following a strict path. Many of these gardens allowed you to walk through in any manner you saw fit.

Talk about interactive, the floor of this garden was crunchy and aromatic. Loved it!

The moss covered hideway (I really don't want to call it a hobbit home) was also pretty fun. I could almost overlook the tires. Almost.

The hand-carved door had many admirers...

And almost all had to open it to see what was inside...

There is an idea here. I use grey bricks laid flush end-to-end to edge our small patch of lawn, I'm envisioning a raised section with bricks along the edges, wedding cake style. An agave tower! (okay no not really, but there is an idea here, somewhere...)

I despise fairy gardens, as a friend recently said it's just an excuse to sell small "made in china tchotchkes." Well this little scene was dangerously close (in proximity) to a fairy garden and may well have been part of it but it still caught my eye and had me smiling. I don't know why exactly except I do love the concrete pipes and architectural fragments in the background. There were lots of details to absorb.

Okay, that's the good. Time for the bad. The very very bad....

A huge topped tree? Why? Why not bring in a tree that's big, but can actually fit inside the the hall without being whacked back?

And more bad right around the corner...

Pseudopanax x 'Sabre', half dead and unceremoniously chopped. Why would you include these in your display garden? Honestly when I first saw the tree and these I thought the garden was some sort of parody, "what not to do"...

This pile of crisp white towels also had me asking why. Turns out they were laying on a massage table, of course everyone needs a massage table right above their waterfall!

Tags on plants in the garden...just say no. Signs yes, in a display garden people what to know what things are, but take off the nursery tags!

My issue with this image isn't it alone. It's that this garden seemed designed to check off all the clichés. Artwork, check.

Meditation garden, check. Raised wood deck, check.

Wall fountain, check. Within a small space they included everything but the fire...

Which brings me to the next section, a few observations about trends in the gardens. There were many instances of fire and water combined.

This was the most successful (in my opinion, of course everything here is just my opinion)...I love the simplicity and repetition...

This one, oh my! Was this fireplace removed from a home and re-purposed as a water feature? And look at the water, murky, muddy...kind gives me the creeps.



Structures, there were a lot of structures in the gardens. I liked this one, it's walls made of old windows with a corrugated roof...

This one didn't do much for me as-is, but did get my mind thinking about a suggestion a friend made to hide the ugly two-color backside of our neighbors garage, "build a corner structure" he said. Could be cool.

This little greenhouse was pretty sweet.

As was this chicken coup.

Just a couple more things I need to share, this lengthy post is almost over! Moss on tables, it might freak out some people but I loved it.

A wonderful green tableau...

In another garden there were moss place-mats! Oh and can you imagine giving your guests their salad still planted? This made me chuckle.

On the same table is our first sighting of pipes and plumbing parts. Here they were used to make candlesticks...

In another garden they combine with a stock tank to make a hybrid water feature.

So that's a wrap, the showcase gardens at the 2014 YGP Show. What were your favorites? Hates? Ideas to steal? I'll share more from the show later in the week...

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

32 comments:

  1. Love the structure made of old windows. The plumbing pipe fountain in a stock tank is an idea worth stealing.

    As for the dead plants and topped tree...If they didn't think about bloggers showing with their cameras they should have.

    Enjoyed the tour. Your garden show may not be the NWFGS but it is way better than ours.

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    1. "Bloggers with cameras"...sounds like a new reality show!

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  2. I loved a lot of the same things you did, and scratched my head over some of the same too. Loved the orange wall, and the moss tablescape in that structure with the repurposed windows. I wasn't taken with the salad still planted in dirt. I just don't want dirt on my plates. I LOVED that they gave the people so much freedom to walk through all the gardens. I wondered if that was a feature of the YGP show? Also all the fire. They sometimes include firepits at the NWFGS, but I've never seen one lit. My first thought is safety. I guess they don't worry about the liability, and it must be ok with the fire marshal as well. Did you have to wait long to get a picture of that keyhole entry? It was packed with people when we were there. (Whoa, long comment. Sorry)

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    1. The walk-through-ness seems to be a constant at the YGP, I wonder why it's not so prevalent at the NWFG Show? I didn't even think about safety with the fire, kinda makes me happy they (the fire marshal) could be so open minded! And the ability to walk through display gardens without crowds is a big BIG part of why I've always gone on Fridays. I used to take a half day off from work so that I could avoid the crowds.

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  3. Oooh--I like the wire mesh bench and the structure with the old windows and corrugated roof. Nice!

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    1. You should come down for the show next year Emily!

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  4. I love that last water feature, looks industrial chic, simple yet effective. Some nice ideas to steal, an element here and there. The garden that had so many tick off the list elements on it, I wonder if their purpose is for the viewer see each section as an individual element rather than look at the entire thing as a whole?

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    1. I kind of wondered if that might be the case, as though that (the check off garden) was a sort of resume. You want that, we can do it. That? Oh ya got that covered. But it didn't make for a cohesive whole.

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  5. I'm so glad I didn't go. I hate to be a Debbie-Downer but the majority of these displays are ridiculous fantasies that even those who have the money would probably eschew. What's with the fire? The only time that would get used is to impress visitors. And the Zen Garden? Can't you just see the neighbor's cat making itself at home there? ... However, I do like the round brick herb bed and the pipes and rusty tools.These are designs that the average Joe can accomplish by going to the Habitat ReStore or Goodwill. Which would leave more money in the budget for plants. And the plants are what it's all about, right? But I'm with you, lose the tags! Thanks for sharing, Loree.

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    1. No worries Debbie, and even as fantasies they leave me cold. I can dream up something so much more fabulous! (and I'm sure you could to) Of course it all comes down to the people who are able to spend the money to hire a designer and what they way, right?

      You had me laughing with the cat comment, yes! My neighbor's cats would have some serious fun there.

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  6. My first time to attend. I'm with Grace on the display gardens. It was fun, but mostly because I could enjoy walking and chatting with a friend I hadn't seen in a while. And because I came home with hard-to-find Canna musifolia -- thank you, Rare Plant Research!

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    1. Yay for a plant purchase! You're going to head out to RPR for their open garden event in May (17,18) right?

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  7. I like the moss on the tables a lot! I´m from a dry mediterranean zone so I like moss whenever I see it. And some of the things made with pipes are interesting! The things you hate I hate too...that tree is horrible...

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    1. You should be in Portland right now, there is moss on everything!

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  8. I loved the Portland show! The best part of the day was seeing you, Ricki, Alison, and Ann but the show was pretty spectacular too! The massive convention center itself was pretty impressive. Everything about the YGP show seemed more expansive than the NWFGS. Gardens rambled a little more, we could walk through them in many directions, great fun. The whole feeling of the Portland show was different in a good way. I also noticed the fire and water theme. Loved the feature with orange walls but until I saw your pictures, didn't notice the walls at all as I was so drawn to that dark and mysterious water reflecting the carex and fire. How do they get water to look so dark? The bottom and sides of the feature were not visible through the water - way cool. Looking forward to coming back next year!

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    1. I think the sides and bottom of the "pond" are black and the water is dyed too...pretty fun! Glad to hear you want to return next year.

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  9. I wish we had more display gardens for better competition. I'd like to see more plant-based designs too. As for the sculpture in the meditation garden, I enjoyed it a lot but I hated the garden. That metal bench makes my skin hurt. My swelling condition is deeply annoyed by sitting on anything with mesh. If I sat on that, oh! It makes my skin crawl to think of how long that mesh would be pressed onto me. Ugh. No metal mesh for me. I'd rather sit on the ground. Lastly, the highlight for me was the fire and Carex fountain. I could have starred at it for hours. Can't wait to go back next year too. Overall the entire show was a lot of fun.

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    1. Plant based designs? What are you crazy, who needs plants in a garden? Seriously we all know the plants are an after thought...it's the hardscape that really matters, right? Hahaha...

      That's why the garden that Cistus did a few years back at YGP and the one that Riz did last year in Seattle were so much fun. The plants mattered.

      (if I were lucky enough to have that mesh bench in my garden I would have several pillows on hand for you to use when you come over)

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  10. I especially like the way the plants spilled over that orange wall. The Quirk & Neill garden has several painted concrete walls too. Will we be seeing something like this in the Danger Garden? I realized once I started seeing photos on FB that I somehow missed seeing the first place winner, but my eyes were drawn to many of the same features you show here. What did you think of #1, and will you show some photos of it?

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    1. I've always loved the painted walls in the Larry and Craig's garden, and have thought off and on about painting ours since we first put it in, oh...6 years ago. The problem now is the wall has aged so we'd probably need to power wash it in order to paint, and I'm not sure the skim coat could hold up to that.

      Aren't the fireplace scene (with the ladies chatting) and the massage table at the top of the waterfall both from the top award winning garden? I think they are, and those are the only photos I have of it. (in other words I guess it didn't do much for me).

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  11. Don't even get me started on the tree and the Pseudopanax. I just... I can't. Moving on. I think I'm allergic to most anything trendy or chic. I've never gotten the outdoor living thing that has infected the Northwest from California, either. If it's cold enough outside for a fire in the PNW it's probably pouring down rain. Why would we want to emulate Californians, anyway? (No offense to any Californians. I have friends there and give them a hard time, too. It's just because I'm jealous.) I dislike modern design, though the orange wall does have a certain a-peel, and I loathe industrial. If I'm out in the garden I want nature, not plumbing and concrete. Ok, enough carping. I loved the wooden structures and adore the trillium door! Ha, that last pun was an accident.

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    1. I am a big fan of the outdoor living thing, but I don't need a fireplace, outdoor kitchen, or waterfall to experience it. Give me a blue sky and plants and I'm happy. I was going to say a chair but I guess that's not ever really needed.

      So no modern, no industrial...what is your style?

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  12. Well I liked the shed made from old windows the best. I hope some of them read this so they know next year what not to do! LOL

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    1. Somehow I doubt they look to me for guidance, fun thought though, thanks Candice.

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  13. I only ever get tidbits from these displays -- little details that I like, or something that gives me a (better) idea. I don't think there's ever been a display garden that really liked as a whole. (Maybe I should have had some coffee before writing this...)

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    1. I'm with you, there have only bee a few I could see myself really enjoying living in as-is. The thing is the plants aren't the focus for most.

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  14. I wasn't sure what to expect this year at YGP, but I came away with more ideas here than at the Seattle show. Yes, these garden show displays are for "rich people", but there were alot of ideas that could be incorporated right away into your own garden. Like the hobbit house...just kidding! Seriously though, lots of fun ideas: the decorative use of lettuces, tying the tree branches together for a mock espalier effect, a structure made using old windows to name a few, using an old greenhouse table for a planting. Of course, this is a show for the public, but many garden center retailers will be soaking up those inspirations for displays this spring. Ok, long enough comment!

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    1. Indeed the ideas, or the spark of an idea, are the best part. The "take-away" that makes the event really fun (and it was fun to run into you at the show!).

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  15. Good and bad, this garden show at least indicates that the exhibitors were making a real effort (well, except for the one with the topped tree and half-dead plants). My favorite was the moss-covered table with the potted salad. I'm wondering how I can put a spin on that when my book club visits my house/garden in June - maybe, glass bowls of chocolate pudding with "planted" mint leaves.

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    1. I love your pudding and mint leaves idea!

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  16. Hm..I had some similar thoughts regarding the no-no's at the show. teehee. You got some great shots of the display gardens. I nearly forgot about the 'salad in soil' and forest floor of those respective gardens. Great catch!

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