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

Monday, February 12, 2018

City Living Displays

I've commented before in my blog that I like the smaller, more intimate displays of the City Living patio gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden (ok, sigh) Festival. Here are a few that appealed the most to me.

30th Anniversary Pearls
GH Horticulture
Designer: Grace Hensley

You may be surprised to find that I liked this display. I don't have the ability to edit or restrict myself in my own garden, but I can recognize the appeal of elegance and simplicity. I sometimes wish I could stick with a restricted color palette, or a limited list of plants. I'm not sure what it is within me that makes me want to add more, more, more. Acquisitional greed? An unbalanced mind? The desire to just be chaotic?

My own house is gray, although a less bluey-gray than this

I really like those black containers

The display includes a little mouse door, a la Spielberg's film An American Tail, as well as an unclaimed Amazon package

Set The Mood
Designer: Chance Justbe

This is more my style, right? I overheard the designer describing to someone how he found the child's jungle gym and knew he could turn it into something. Doesn't it make a great gargantuan Papasan chair? As I was eavesdropping on Chance, a woman next to me said, "The only thing I like here is the little rug." I turned to her and said, "Oh? I like everything else!" To her credit, she then said, "Well, I guess between us, we've got this one covered."

It's pretty cool to repurpose a piece of play equipment like this -- I love the idea of repurposing, but I often lack the creativity required

I have a feeling if this were in my garden it would have fewer cushions and more vines crawling all over it -- but I adore it!

Chance made all the Kokedama adorning the display and salvaged the mossy branches that he weaved into the chair

More Kokedama -- Chance taught a class on making them on the DIY stage on Friday afternoon

Love the mossy mushroom!

Not sure what those caterpillar-looking things are, but I love this trio of containers too

The hand holding a severed finger is after my own heart -- which could get messy

He invited me into the display to try to take a shot that showed the Pike Place Market sign through the hands, but I couldn't get my iPhone camera to focus

Plenty of Room
Sky Nursery
Designers: Ashley Bougie, Gina Jones, Kathryn Neumann, Jill Nunemaker

This whimsical display had an Alice in Wonderland theme, which also appealed to me. My first name is Alison, and more than once, ok, many, many times in my life, people have mistaken it for Alice, and immediately called me "Alice in Wonderland" -- to my extreme annoyance. The older I get, the less annoyed I get -- it's not worth it. From now on, I'm just going to own it. Yes, I'm Alison Wonderland.

I've been on the hunt lately for a big old vintage birdcage with a stand

Nice collage

The dormouse is a sweet touch

Blooming Edgeworthia chrysantha

Love the curly branches with teacups hanging

Shouldn't that rabbit be wearing a waistcoat?

Are there butterflies in Alice in Wonderland? I've never read it.

I know they used flamingos to play croquet

Bohemian Rhapsody
Nature's Tapestry Landscapes
Designer: Tracey Kosenski

There were elements here that I liked, although -- and I can't explain why -- it kind of screams retirement home to me. I don't know any retirement homes that serve gin and tonic to their inmates, though. Perhaps it's that I associate drinking alcohol with adults -- I still refuse to become one.

Maybe it's the macrame plant hanger and the stair stepped plant holder

Old planted suitcases are fun, I have one made of wicker on my own back porch, full of little treasures

I want that blue bottle -- you can keep the contents though

Did anything in these City Living displays strike your fancy?


  1. You know, I think I like the last one best.I think the cocktail tray is the element that sucked me in. I tried to get the retirement home vibe that you did , but the only real negative was the 70's esque stair step planter-I'm with you on that one.I keep hearing rumors that macrame is back and I am hoping it's not the case. Can guys wearing Angel Flights and polyester shirts with sunset scenes be next ?

  2. I admire the creativity that's packed into these displays but have never tried to decorate any area of my garden to this degree. Maybe I need to find a theme and get to it! I do have a couple of areas that could do with a little cozying-up, not that I ever spend much time in the garden sitting down to just enjoy the space.

  3. I confess I forgot to even pay attention to them this year, as we hurried from one place to another.

    In the last few years, they seem to lack the pizazz they used to have.They just seem to have stuff stuck here and there and there and here.

  4. I never get to see things like that show, so I appreciate that you take us along. None of them jumped out I just liked little things here and there. I liked the bench, gym, and suitcases. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I enjoyed talking with Chance too, his “Set The Mood“ was a fun display and I think I may have gotten the Pike Place sign in focus! Haven’t looked at my photos yet. Love your convo with the rug-liking lady!

  6. I admire the restraint of the first garden but could never pull it off. Also found it a little irritating because it reminds me of what flippers and others are doing to old houses - gutting them and making open concept Jetsonesque modern interiors with very little color. Yes, it seems to be what's selling so it's understandable but it seems to me that they're robbing old homes of their charm. I much prefer to live in a collage of color and stuff, sort of like the displays at the vintage market. What magpie could live in such sterile environs? Chance's garden was as cool as he is and I loved the Alison Wonderland garden as well. I do agree with Linda though that the city living gardens used to have a little more pizazz. Maybe you and I should do a Bohemian city living garden next year.

  7. Oh my gosh! Chance had that Thumb in is display because of a joke between us (I lost the top of my thumb in an accident) and as he was making his concrete hands, the thumb broke off and I begged him for it joking that it would replace my missing one! He thought it would be funny to add one to his display! He's such a great guy!

  8. Alison in Wonderland, I like that. I join Linda and Peter in thinking the City Living spaces were less then inspiring. Have I seen too many? Am I harder to impress? Each space had things to love though, such as the gnarly branches with orange flowers and tea cups, and that big old vintage birdcage. I almost grabbed it and ran off.

  9. Nice mix of color and whimsy. I especially like the third photo down, and not just cuz it has tulips.


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