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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Longer Look at The NWFGS Display Gardens

Well, after a short pause to show my Hellebores blooming for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, as well as what's new in the way of foliage in the greenhouse, it's back to posting about the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. I thought I'd share some of my shots of the display gardens, which were pretty and quite colorful this year, with lots of flowering bulbs. Although I'm a fairly experienced gardener, even I had to keep in mind that these often do not all flower at the same time. Many gardens had large swaths of blooming Hyacinths as well, which scented the air beautifully.

You may notice some differences in the lighting quality in my photos. Some of these were taken during the Media Preview on Tuesday morning, which I attended with Peter The Outlaw Gardener, and for that they kept the theatrical lighting, which makes picture-taking difficult. Others were taken during the Thursday morning Tweetup, and they put the convention center's full fluorescent lighting on for those.

"Over The Moon" by the Washington chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers

Interestingly, this moon garden benefited from the dramatic, dark lighting. The garden had an enormous fake full moon hanging overhead, which with the theatrical lights looked, well maybe not real, but at least not like a big moon made of paper. The fluorescents definitely detracted from its drama. It was a moon garden designed to be enjoyed in the dark.

"Romantic Folly" by Pamela Richards Garden Design

This garden was bordered by a variety of rusty metal containers in various sizes and shapes, and had an overall color scheme of pink flowers and accents of dark foliage -- a very feminine garden. There was a water feature (there's almost always a water feature), and a bench made of an old metal bed frame, as well as a picnic lunch set out on a circle of grass. Also set into some of the containers were glass flowers with centers made from jewelry.

"Birds Do It...Bees Do It..." by West Seattle Nursery

Wildlife was the focus of this garden, in the form of bugs, bees and birds. Bug hotels of various kinds made up the border, and surrounded the central focus of the garden, a shed with a couple of enormous towers of colorful beehives. This was one of the very few show gardens whose theatrical lighting was bright enough to get a good look and take pictures. And there were lots and lots of flowers.

"Lettre d'Amorchid" by the Northwest Orchid Society

In the past the display of orchids at the show has left me cold. It's usually nothing but row after row of blooming orchids lined up. I realize that the point of orchids is their flowers, but they do grow somewhere in the world in a natural setting, right? This garden recreated that natural setting. Although I know enough to realize that these would not all grow in the same woodland (and most are probably hybrids that wouldn't grow in nature at all), this year's naturalistic orchid garden made an impression on me. Some were growing along a woodland path, some were set into niches on a sheer rock cliff, and others were hanging from the trees.

"Love the Space You're In" Susan Browne Landscape Design

I did love this space, the color scheme of pure blue, chartreuse and bright orange really appealed to me. Unfortunately, I know I'm not disciplined enough to stick with a color scheme that simple in my own garden, as visually stunning as it is.

"Three Phases of Love...Young, Passionate, Forever" by the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals

The metal columns with cutouts lit from within (I thought at first the scroll designs were mirrored tiles) were for me the most striking element of this garden.

"A Moment to Remember" by Nature Perfect Landscape & Design

For me, the most interesting part of this garden was its backside. That tall waterfall needed something at its back to support it, and in this case, it was a nicely arranged pile of stone planted with conifers.

Hope you enjoyed my impressions of the display gardens at this year's Northwest Flower and Garden Show.