Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Northwest Flower and Garden Show Sneak Preview

What a great day today was! Not just because it was sunny and in the 50s outside, but I got to see a media preview of the display gardens of the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, which opens to the public tomorrow and runs until Sunday, Feb. 24. Even when not dodging hundreds of people, it's still hard to get really good pictures that do justice to them.

There were two gardens in particular that I was really eager to see. And fortunately, they did not fail to thrill!

The first was the Arboretum Foundation's display, entitled "A Hobbit's New Zealand Garden -- Middle-Earth Meets the Arboretum's New Eco-Geographic Forest." Last year when most of the displays left me cold, the Arboretum didn't disappoint me with its contribution. I like this year's garden even more.

In this garden, according to the handout, "Middle-Earth comes to life in a garden featuring plants native to New Zealand -- where The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy were filmed. The cozy hobbit cottage is framed with granite boulders and plantings of sedge and ferns. An intimate inner garden greets visitors at the home's entry, and the landscape is splashed with colorful flowers, variegated foliage and a grove of tea trees! This garden pays homage to a feature coming soon to a garden near you: the new eco-geographic 'New Zealand Forest' to be planted in the Washington Park Arboretum.

I expect a hobbit to appear through the door any second!

A small pond wreathed in mist

Phormiums of every size and color (I bet Peter of The Outlaw Gardener will be happy to see this!)

These pots aren't baskets, they're built of small stones.
This garden was designed by Bob Lilly and Phil Wood of Phil Wood Garden Design. According to the Arboretum Foundation website, "The Arboretum Foundation, a non-profit membership organization, has provided stewardship for Washington Park Arboretum since 1935. The Foundation raises funds, advocates, and manages membership and volunteer programs for the Arboretum. Fundraising events and programs include the annual Preview Gala at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, the FlorAbundance Spring Plant Sale, the Arboretum Shop, and a volunteer-managed greenhouse."

The Florabundance Spring Plant Sale, which I have been to, is one of the best, if not the best, plant sale in the Seattle area. Maybe this spring I'll actually make it to the Washington Park Arboretum for a look around.

The second garden that I was looking forward to seeing was "The Lost Gardener -- A Journey From the Wild to the Cultivated." According to the handout "Several motion pictures serve as inspirations for this garden. A common theme in Jurassic Park, King Kong and Raiders of the Lost Ark is Man's desire for the newest, rarest and most unusual. Rare, wild and little-seen plant species are to be treasured and protected in this exotic garden setting -- with dire consequences for those seeking to remove them. Warnings are posted, and endangered plant species are protected from outsiders by a pseudo-electrified fence. Multiple micro-climates are depicted through a rich and diverse plant palette, with unusual plants provided by small specialty growers throughout the region."

Nolina (nelsonii, I think), it was enormous!

Schefflera macrophylla (there are three of these in the garden, all huge beautiful specimens!)

I can understand not allowing people to walk through the gardens, but I so wish we could!

This garden was a real gardener's garden! So many large, healthy, exotic plants to lust after. It was created by Rizanino Reyes of RHR Horticulture and Landwave Gardens.

So often, the display gardens seem like an afterthought to the patios, filled with large swathes of forced colorful bulbs. You can see above, Riz did indeed use forced Irises, but they are scattered amongst the stones in a semblance of wildness.

I hope you enjoyed this look at my two favorite gardens from the show. I'm planning to go back for more, and I'll be sure and share it all with you!