Idea Tour: Photos from Portland

Comfy benches warm up a cold stone wall. A beehive gets circus-colorful. A wiry orange table makes friends perk up, and rusty steel grounds a garden scene.

These were many of the ideas I found when wandering through Portland’s Yard, Garden & Patio Show with my camera last weekend. I always like this show for its I-can-do-that vibe, and this year did not disappoint.

Here are some shots from my tour.

Purple mustard greens

A stand of giant purple mustard among lettuce wowed visitors to the edible garden display. The greenhouse is from NW Green Panels.

Colorful beehive

Why not paint your beehive with a colorful scene and top it with stunning copper!

Edible Garden juniper beds

The edible garden creators used juniper for some raised beds. They promote it as being longer-lasting than other woods.

Coreten steel raised beds

Coreten steel raised beds make a bold statement in the garden. The pricy steel rusts to a wonderful bronze color, then stops and is very long-lasting.

Marty and Mary Kate

Friends and fellow speakers Marty Wingate and Mary Kate Mackey were clearly in a cheery mood while chatting at a colorful outdoor table set.

Pots in water

The Dennis’ 7 Dees display garden featured a series of planted pots sitting in a water feature.

Galvanized planters

The 7 Dees display also showed galvanized steel planters tightly packed with edibles and flowers.

seeds in jars

Seeds saved in canning jars were part of the greenhouse exhibit in the edible garden display.

Seed heads

Why save seeds in jars, when you can just prop up the seed heads?

Nice benches

These benches, set into a standard wall of stacking concrete blocks, break up the monotony and must be much more comfortable.

Thanks to everyone who helped make the Portland show another rousing success, including Lucy Hardiman and Nancy Goldman, who do great work presenting a wide variety of seminars.

Grow & Build Ideas, Steampunk: Garden Show Images

Crowds will pack the convention center in downtown Seattle this weekend for the final two days of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

I spent the day there yesterday, and was inspired by reuse of old stuff, some interesting new ways to grow plants, a “steampunk” inspired show garden, and seeing old friends.

Here are some images from my visit.

Very nice design for a key season extension device from the local builders at Cedar Cold Frames.

Very nice design for a key season extension device from the local builders at Cedar Cold Frames.

Edible Seattle

The Edible Seattle folks are handing out scads of free magazines. And it happens to be the Nov/Dec issue, which has my article on seed saving!

GPP Wild Ginger

One of the Great Plant Picks, um, picks this year is Splendid Wild Ginger. Get it.

Reuse Bench

Got a shipping pallet sitting around? Ballard Reuse could show you how to turn it into a cool bench.

Blue bike

An old bike painted a bright color with plants added in strategic places would make a whimsical piece of garden art.

White Bike

And another bike/planter.

Foody

This is the Foody Garden Tower, which is how we will all grow veggies in the garden of the future.

David Hutchison in his element, at the Flora & Fauna Books booth. Lots of unusual finds there.

David Hutchison in his element, at the Flora & Fauna Books booth. Lots of unusual finds there.

Steampunk garden

The “Romance of Steampunk” show garden evoked another era.

Windows

Old windows repurposed into a shed — probably the easiest way to build a cold frame.

Reuse Ladder

This herb ladder from Ballard Reuse demonstrates an easy project with some old wood.

 

Inside the Garden Show: Helping With a Show Garden

It was loud when we arrived with our ladders and buckets. Back-up beeping echoed through the cavernous concrete hall. They let us drop off our painting supplies inside, so I drove our old Subaru right up onto the show floor, among the giant trucks and front-end loaders.

My wife and I were at the Washington State Convention Center to help build the Arboretum Foundation’s display garden for the big Northwest Flower & Garden Show, which opened Wednesday and runs through Sunday. I’d never really helped before, but this year they asked Susie to design and paint the backdrop for the plantings, so I signed on to assist.

The build started on Saturday, and as soon as the raw plywood wall was up, we popped the lids on the paint. Through Saturday and Sunday, we rolled and brushed, standing back and eyeing the results, fending off the garden creators who wanted to get those ladders out of the way so they could shovel in the sawdust and move in the plants. I didn’t blame them. But our part needed its time.

A Seattle Times videographer, Lauren Frohne, “embedded” herself with the team who was designing and building the garden. See her results in the linked video.

Led by Bob Lilly and Phil Wood, the team was building platforms and bringing in plants large and small, from cedar and cherry trees to trays of tiny succulents. They placed the potted treasures carefully, fussing over the angles, teasing the blooms out of the leaves, poking tiny flowers up through rolled-out sod.

I love the design for its realness. Titled “Picture Yourself on Azalea Way,” it evokes the Washington Park Arboretum’s most famous strolling path. Although it’s clearly a fantasy, put together and bloom-forced for a five-day show, it is a showcase of many of the plants that you would see if you actually took that stroll.

As they always do, the Arboretum Foundation designers have inserted a subtle teaching message into their beautiful creation: here’s a garden you could have at home. Kudos, Bob and Phil.

You won’t see us in that video, because the garden is all about the plants, as it should be. But look beyond the plants to the backdrop, a green-and-black canvas upon which the flowering palette is spread. I’m proud of the effect, which is especially effective if you see it in person, under the dramatic, subdued lighting.

The garden has been awarded a bronze medal, but I’m still seeing green. And scraping a little of it from under my fingertips.

Garden Show Images

Got some old stuff sitting around? How about repurposing! The toolbox could be a planter, and the old door might make a great chair back. Much more at the ReStore booth.

ReStore

Rustic garden archway with Ginny Ruffner’s organic glass sculptures.

Ginny Ruffner's art on trellis

Look out for zombies!

Zombie defense tools

Orchids.

Orchids

Darwin’s muse, on a grand scale.

Darwin's muse

Vertical gardens, framed.

vertical gardens

On “rusty lane,” handmade

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Edibles, Fresh, Cultured and Preserved at Garden Show

Had a quick look at the display gardens at this year’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show, which opens today, and here is an instant star, and an award-winner.

Nature's Studio

I love the tower of mushrooms being cultured in logs, and the bench filled with preserved veggies. In the foreground, asparagus spears poke through compost, surrounded by salad greens.

Called Nature’s Studio, this garden was created by the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals – King

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County Chapter and the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association, designed by Gardens ALIVE Design and installed by Avid Landscape Design & Development.

Congratulations on a great creation.

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