The Show has announced the line-up of top regional landscape design professionals creating the show’s spectacular display gardens for the 28th annual event, February 17-21, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.
Embracing the upcoming show’s theme, “America the Beautiful,” the designers will incorporate elements of the theme into big, blooming gardens as the show celebrates the National Parks Service Centennial and famous American landmarks.
The Garden Creators will be weaving the show’s theme into their garden designs, and the results should be inspirational, educational and fun for showgoers. In addition to entries by landscape designers, the show is planning a major garden of its own to further spotlight the show’s theme.
The show’s amazing collection of 20 marquee display gardens will feature upwards of 50% more flowers in glorious bloom, thanks to the show’s commitment to an expanded “forcing” program in collaboration with Cascade Cuts (Bellingham) and Windmill Gardens (Sumner).
We also owe a “thank you” to the Students at Lake Washington Institute of Technology Environmental Horticulture Program for their many hours of volunteer time helping construct the gardens.
These crowd-pleasing gardens reflect the expertise, planning and hard work of their Garden Creators — blending flowers, shrubs, trees, hardscape materials and artwork into jewel-like settings accented by theatrical lighting.
These gems are not only stunning to admire, but they’re full of inspirational features you can incorporate into your own garden.
Every year for 25 years they have been right there with us helping create these beautiful gardens. Marenakos Rock Center provides the stone and big boulders you see throughout the gardens. Sawdust Supply provides the foundation of any healthy garden, mulch. Without good soil, we would not have beautiful gardens.
Scroll down or click on a Garden Creator below to go directly to their information.
Though 500-plus air miles separates the show from the great state of Alaska, this Designer has minimized the distance with a skillful depiction of a lowland meadow within Denali National Park.
Like the massive park—surrounding North America’s tallest peak, Mount Denali—this garden incorporates bold elements: big boulders and a large natural water feature. It’s an idyllic setting where two hikers have set up camp among the natural wonders of the area.
A variety of plant material, including some plants native to Alaska, surrounds the picturesque setting. As you would expect in the wild, you’ll see an antler shed—and perhaps a likeness of one of that region’s furry residents!
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Use of native plants to bring “natural wonders” to a small yard space
Our National Parks and their natural splendor have connected generations of Americans…a common experience many of us can share. This garden extends sharing to the neighborhood level, creating new ways for people to connect through edible gardening.
Harkening back to the days when you shared seedlings and cuttings during “over the fence” conversations with neighbors, this garden spotlights how growing edible gardens provide a catalyst for community connectivity. Here you’ll find a small scale food system that includes not only veggie gardening, but mini orchards, berry patches, fruiting vines and medicinal plants.
Shared gardens, utilizing spaces in a coordinated way—and sometimes across property lines—create new, carbon-free ways to grow quality food while connecting us through community self-sufficiency.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Cooperative gardening; examples of edible gardening components including mini orchards and fruiting vines
This garden is a tribute to the “grand-daddy” of all National Parks: Yellowstone.
The rich variety of flora and fauna within the nation’s oldest National Park is conveyed, with naturally shed elk and deer antlers reflecting the large native wildlife populations within the park. And a waterfall and environmentally-friendly pond system are surrounded by placements of natural stone and plantings to create a tranquil “meadow” and inviting outdoor living space.
Though this backyard sanctuary is a place to reflect and relax, it wouldn’t be complete without a representation of “Old Faithful,” the towering natural geyser that erupts predictably every 35 to 120 minutes. Here the Garden Creator has incorporated a fountain to symbolize one of the park’s most popular natural wonders.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Landscape lighting accenting water features and natural hardscapes
There’s a great natural park less than 90 minutes from downtown Seattle…one that we may take a tad for granted.
Mount Rainier National Park was founded in 1899, and though we may visit the spectacular park itself, the towering visage of Mount Rainier on a clear day is a reminder of its visual impact on our lives: “The Mountain is out today!”
The setting of this garden is in the foothills near the mountain (with a large scale mural of Mount Rainier serving as backdrop). An active household will enjoy spending time together in this cozy patio area sheltered by a pagoda with a natural rock waterfall nearby. Natural wonders meet up with the man-made variety in the driveway: a new Subaru stands ready to take its owners on a scenic drive to one of the world’s most majestic peaks.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: A rich variety of plant material grown here in the Pacific Northwest
This garden is inspired by:
Dakara Landscape Design
With its climbing wall for play and training (…perhaps prepping for an adventure in Utah’s Zion National Park?), this is a place where friends and family can congregate to plan their next adventure.
For those who love the outdoors, try new things and play as hard as they work, this garden is designed as an outdoor extension of their home. Clean lines and modern elements are used to make the best use of space, and glass components are incorporated to generate splashes of color and light. Unusual plant pairings in containers are used throughout the garden to soften the areas.
Whether it’s a place to play, train or just chill, this garden aims to match the lure of Zion, one of our most spectacular national parks.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Interesting container designs with unusual plant pairings
A regional gem, Smith Rock State Park in Oregon is a magnificent representation of the high desert beauty in Eastern Oregon. This garden is in keeping with a homeowner who is intent on fitting into his environment, and is resplendent with gnarly Junipers, arid plants, rounded stones and seasonal streams capturing the essence of this arid landscape.
The seasonal stream is refreshing, yet remains an interesting focal point during periods of drought. The stone table and stools complement the natural setting and focus of the owner’s commitment to leaving a small footprint on our environment.
The natural beauty of this garden is just one attractive attribute–the plants don’t require fertilizer or pesticides. It simply melds into its environment.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Reorganize nature to create artistic, naturalistic, inspired spaces
The garden is a reflection of many gardens that can be found here–it could be located on an island or a West Seattle waterfront locale. It encompasses views of Seattle’s sparkling skyline, Cascade peaks and snow-clad Mt. Rainier in the background.
The view from the home’s “conservatory room” is stunning, with the beautiful waterfront garden leading to the shore. There’s an attractive and functional pergola (constructed using only wooden pegs!) that provides shelter for socializing or savoring a quiet moment year around. And after an afternoon of saltwater fun, a stop at the “Octo – Shower” is a must—the octopus tentacle sculpture serves as an artistic “canopy” for this handy outdoor shower.
Paving ties elements of the garden together; from close-jointed to widely-spaced, pavers are placed to denote formal and informal pathways. And for the adventurous, a rustic mountain trail beckons for a forest adventure.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Utilizing the long distance view to frame elements
America’s symbols aren’t limited to towering peaks, grand parks or famous structures. In this garden, the Garden Creator’s imagination has been inspired by the iconic, long-running Broadway show, “CATS.”
The scene is a high-rise terrace garden in the heart of bustling New York City and this cat-friendly “catio” includes whimsical cat-scale representations of Big Apple geographic landmarks. These are activity areas where the felines play, strut, bat, lounge and drink from the “East River” as they circumnavigate the terrace.
It’s truly a cat-friendly haven, incorporating ornamentals and perennials that are non-toxic to cats. Instead you’ll find plants that fuel their enjoyment: catnip, catmint, and ornamental and edible grasses. Roses, abutilons, mints, cat-safe palms and ferns add beauty and structure.
Humans are welcome, of course, though these cats may be too preoccupied to care!
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Use of non-toxic, cat-friendly plantings
Right in our own backyard, Whidbey Island is home to Coupeville, the second oldest town in our state. Its charm is celebrated here, and it is also the “left coast” complement to the display garden celebrating Nantucket, Massachusetts, on America’s eastern shore.
Colorful and slightly quirky, travelers make their way to this seaside town to enjoy the spectacular natural saltwater setting. A destination for many for generations, Coupeville’s historic Blue Goose Inn Bed & Breakfast is depicted here—including its eye-catching pink-with-blue-trim exterior! Oysters, crabs and a kayak—symbolizing the ties this town has to Puget Sound—are found throughout the landscape.
Metal sculptures–herons, a moose and more—accentuate the Northwest flavor of Coupeville in the unusual “From Sea to Shining Sea” pairing of two gardens—the result of a collaboration between two Designers.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Enticing paver walkway, and hardy low maintenance plantings
This year’s show theme, “America the Beautiful” embraces not only our natural wonders but also iconic elements of our rich history. Perhaps there is no greater symbol of our nation than the massive obelisk standing tall in Washington, D.C., the Washington Monument.
The collective efforts of the Flower Growers Team focus on creating a spectacular accent to the monument with extensive use of blooming perennials, shrubs, bulbs and grasses. And with over 3,500 Japanese flowering cherry trees planted around the actual monument and Tidal Basin in Washington D.C., the show’s version includes its own flowering cherry gems right down the center of the garden.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Seasonal plants available for purchase at area nurseries and other retail outlets during February
If you’ve ever fantasized about living amidst Washington’s rugged North Cascades, sometimes called “America’s Alps,” this garden may be the catalyst for making it a reality. It’s a tranquil, sub-alpine valley setting visually punctuated by firs, red osier dogwoods, native rhodies; sword, dear, and maidenhair ferns; iris, daffodils, fritillary, tulips, carex, bog rosemary and other plantings.
A visual focus is a former fire lookout tower, offering the resident or visitor a respite from the cold nights. It’s an inspiring place to relax, write or meditate while taking in the views of the picturesque valley. Leaving that man-made perch, a trail takes you past a vertical wall of lush ferns with an occasional fallen tree or overhanging native shrub to navigate around. In the distance you see a warm camp fire, nestled on the bank of a dry riverbed, with a natural log bench. You feel like you are home.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Using reclaimed materials (for tower); “bog” as a mini-watershed collecting runoff
This garden is inspired by:
Holloway Habitats Garden Design and Installation
Jumanji Oliana, Sarah Wallace, and Jesse Jennings
The National Park Service calls these “mountains of the imagination,” and the majestic beauty of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park is the inspiration for this garden’s rugged “mountainscape” and meadows.
The Garden Creator has placed emphasis on generating a strong sense of depth in the design. The not-so-tiny “Tetons” here are created by massing hulking Huckleberry rock columns together to form an eye-catching backdrop. As visitors peer over boulders and specimen trees fronting the garden, they will survey a meadow-like setting spotlighting a large number of easy-to-maintain, drought resistant plants.
Though the origin of the name remains up for debate—named for the Teton Sioux tribe or by lonely French-Canadian trappers—the Grand Tetons continue to fuel our sense of adventure and imagination to this day.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Varying elevations within the garden creating visual depth
From tropical settings to mighty volcanoes, this theatrical garden showcases the delicate beauty of its stars–large beautiful orchid specimens, all arranged to be admired individually.
You’ll be taking a journey—passing through a fissure in an “active” volcano to see thriving orchids clinging to nooks and cracks in the walls. The short path leads to a lush setting where you’re surrounded by beautiful flowers, then winding amidst large tropical foliage plants to the outside world. And you don’t have to worry about dodging lava flows–a water feature simulates lava flowing from the volcano crest!
The collaborative efforts of the Orchid Society Team have focused on displaying orchids in an outward direction for an intimate look at these beauties of nature.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Orchid varieties to grow in your home or greenhouse
This garden is inspired by:
Northwest Orchid Society
Joe Grienauer and Joff Morgan
Prepare to be transported to our 50th state and the tropical paradise of the Na Pali coast. Located on the island of Kauai, Hawaii’s “Garden Isle,” this wilderness is a wild and wonderful rainforest.
The lush, tropical setting is a true retreat, with its lovely “live edge” deck constructed using sustainable cedar. Need more incentive to relax? Step into the inviting Japanese Soaking Tub (minus intrusive jets, bubbles and chlorine) and enjoy the fragrant vines, ferns, and colocasia that surround you. A fountain created from native (natural) rock is both polished by man and rough-hewn by nature. The bamboo forest in the back of the garden reveals fresh viewpoints that encourage further exploration of this tropical gem.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Live edge deck, using sustainable cedar boards cut from whole logs with the bark still attached
Creating a delightful counterpoint to Coupeville, Washington—the West Coast destination in a two garden collaboration by two Designers—the spirit of Nantucket Island is brought to life here.
Like Coupeville, Nantucket shares strong ties to the sea. Fishing, lobstering and whaling were economic mainstays for centuries, and today historical elements have been preserved for visitors and seasonal residents who flock to this island.
In keeping with the “Sea to Shining Sea” tandem of gardens, this garden salutes and celebrates the attributes of the town: a cottage with its weather-worn greyed shingles and white trim is surrounded by a very traditional garden. Its patriotic red, white and blue color theme is strikingly executed in repeated pattern plantings of boxwood, hydrangeas and yews. A Sperm Whale—in the form of a large wooden wall hanging—is an ode to the rich whaling tradition of yesteryear.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Locally hardy, low maintenance plant material; patterned brick walkway creates courtyard
This garden is inspired by:
Susan Browne Landscape Design
From Florida to California, the influence of early Spanish settlers and clergy is evident to this day in architecture styles and garden design. The welcoming ambience of a Spanish Mission courtyard garden is on display here, beckoning family and loved ones to enjoy its elegance.
Our El Patio Fuente is a very elegant courtyard garden that serves as a beautiful transition between the indoor and outdoor rooms. Open to the sky, but enclosed for privacy, this courtyard garden provides a peaceful, secluded outdoor room for quiet relaxation, intimate conversation, and private dining.
Perfectly spaced, domestically grown plant species and dramatic lighting set the stage for the stunning and welcoming outdoor room. In collaboration with a specialty vendor, the Garden Creator spotlights unique antique doors, windows, and furniture into this vignette.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Garden creates transition between home and outdoor living areas
One of the best examples of a temperate rain forest in the world is only a four hour drive from Seattle. It’s the Hoh Rain Forest on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
Throughout the winter season, rain falls frequently in the Hoh Rain Forest, contributing to the yearly total of 140 to 170 inches (or 12 to 14 feet!) of precipitation each year. Within the confines of the Convention Center, a misty “rain” falls continuously to create an 800-square-foot microclimate inside this diorama.
You’ll view a likeness of this ancient, temperate rain forest with giant trees draped with licorice ferns and club moss, while vine maples’ jewel-tone chartreuse leaves “pop” against the deep greens of the rain forest.
All of the plants will be native and are a true representation of what can be found in the Hoh.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: “Nurse logs” serve as ‘nurseries’ for seedlings, moss, fungus and other organisms
This garden is inspired by:
Washington Park Arboretum
The Arboretum Foundation
Phil Wood and Bob Lilly
Inspired by the many National Parks in the Southwest, “Southwest Serenity” conveys the warmth and natural beauty of that region in a welcoming, desert-like backyard setting
The Design Team invites you to view a canyon landscape with a striking waterfall feature. The extensive use of lighter, “high plains” stone is partnered with drought-tolerant plants including yuccas, pines, succulents and cacti. The outdoor fireplace is a welcoming and functional focal point: this is a place to entertain and relax, and the warmth of the fireplace extends the season of outdoor enjoyment.
Art? You’ll see various and unusual cacti and Echeveria providing natural sculptures, and pottery filled with lush desert plants. Behind the beauty, there’s a time-saving, environmentally-friendly focus: the plant material here reduces the need to tap into our water resources.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Stone features in a variety of hues and textures; plantings as sculptural accents
This garden is inspired by:
West Seattle Nursery
West Seattle, WA
West Seattle Nursery staff
While sampling expanded offerings of Northwest wines at this year’s show, enjoy this salute to the Olympic National Park, including its remote beach areas and other ecosystems spanning more than one million acres.
Though the garden is sprinkled with numerous features—original art work, lightweight container planters, vintage post cards and unique wine bottle plantings—the underlying theme is the value of gardens big and small for our environment and personal enjoyment.
Just plant something!
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Did you know that planting greenery and enjoying its beauty may lower your blood pressure and heart rate?
This garden is inspired by:
Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association
Federal Way, WA
Lucinda McMahan, CPH