3½ Days

3½ Days

This 2009 garden created by Shapiro Ryan Design won the coveted Founder's Cup Award for their garden titled "Click."

It all begins on Friday, February 18th at 6:00 pm. The production team and garden creators take possession of the Washington State Convention Center. Hall 4AB, as it is known, is 80,000 square feet of cavernous, virgin space. It will be transformed into a wonderland of garden delight that will amaze over 55,000 garden show attendees with a springtime fantasyland. Disneyland doesn’t have anything on the Northwest Flower & Garden Show! This year’s show theme, “Once Upon a Time…Spectacular Gardens with Stories to Tell” has inspired the garden creators to design some of their most inventive work ever. And the new forcing program at Windmill Gardens means there will be more blossoms than ever before to lift our spirits and get our gardening juices flowing.


Over 415,000 pounds of rock will be skillfully placed in the elaborate show gardens by Maranakos Rock Center – some boulders weighing as much as 2 tons each. Sixty dump trucks will bring in dirt and mulch provided by Sawdust Supply to form the foundation of the display gardens. And garden creators have a mere 3½ days – 90 hours – to turn their flat empty spaces into the garden paradise that they have envisioned for the past ten months, with production support of over 300 people who work day and night to make it all happen.


In 2008 the NWFGS team created a very entertaining time-lapsed video, filmed in Hall 4AB at the Washington State Convention Center and showing the Northwest Flower & Garden Show garden floor as it was being built – all compressed into seven minutes. This will jazz you up for the show! http://nwf.gs/gM8t1U


Le Jardin Home & Garden captured the Founder's Cup Award in 2010 with "Ahead of the Curve."

Many people are surprised to learn that the companies and organizations creating the show gardens do not pay the show to create a garden, rather the show pays them a substantial cash subsidy plus provides other support including lighting, electricity, water, heavy equipment, labor rocks and mulch. The total direct cost to create the landscaped gardens is well over one million dollars. Our ardent audiences have come to expect very high production values for the second largest show in the country. People who come to the show for the first time are often heard to exclaim “Wow! I had no idea it was this incredible!”


But the deadline looms. All of the gardens must be completed, cleaned up, and vacated by 12:00 pm on Tuesday, February 22nd – not a moment later. Then the judges arrive. This year the judging will be done by three preeminent designers and authors – Dan Pearson, Nancy Goslee Power and Panayoti Kelaidis. To judge the gardens, they will spend over four hours carefully scrutinizing each of the 22 gardens, discussing their impressions, and awarding a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Crystal Medal to each garden. They also select the Founder’s Cup Award (the ‘Best in Show’ award) and the American Horticulture Society Environmental Award. Two parameters are used for the judging: the garden creators’ Statement of Intent (what the garden creator was trying to achieve) as well as general design principles, including use of space, construction details, plant selections and overall aesthetics.


The Show Judges headline a stellar lineup of 94 seminar speakers presenting 123 seminars, and will each be speaking Wednesday and Thursday at the show and signing their books following their seminars.



Dan Pearson, Great Britain

Dan Pearson is a landscape and garden designer with an international reputation for design and planting excellence. He trained at the RHS Gardens’ Wisley and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  Dan began his design career in 1987 and in 2002 he opened Dan Pearson Studio in London. He is a weekly gardening columnist for The Observer, and prior to that he was a columnist for The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times. His latest book is Spirit: Garden Inspiration (FUEL, 2009). He has designed five award-winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show. Website: http://nwf.gs/hMh3cH

Private Places
Creating a ‘Sense of Place’ Through Design & Plants
Wednesday, February 23 at 10:00 am in the Rainier Room
London-based garden designer Dan Pearson always begins a project with a ‘sense of place,’ capturing the mood of atmosphere created by geography, history, architecture and the existing flora. He shares a selection of domestic garden projects for private clients of varying scales and styles, including a romantic Italian garden in the ruins of a mediaeval hill village, a traditional design for a Georgian Rectory in the Cotswolds and his own London garden. 

Public Spaces
Imagining a Better Environment
Thursday, February 24 at 4:00 pm in the Rainier Room
Working with the fundamental belief that it is better to work with nature than to dominate it, London-based garden designer Dan Pearson will present three of his public projects. These range from a contemporary re-imagining of a Victorian walled garden for a business estate in Yorkshire, the landscaping for the award-winning London Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre, designed by Sir Richard Rogers and visited by Michelle Obama in 2009, and the 400-hectare Millennium Forest public park in Hokkaido, Northern Japan.


Nancy Goslee Power, Santa Monica

Nancy Goslee Power’s ability to integrate cultural and landscape palettes, as well as her keen awareness of how people use space, enables her to create unique, visually striking and well received environments that place her as one of the great landscape designers working today. Based in Santa Monica, she is the author of the classic book, The Gardens of California: Four Centuries of Design from Mission to Modern (Hennessey and Ingalls, 2001) and her new monograph, Power of Gardens, was published in 2009 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang.  Website: http://nwf.gs/fexumS

The Power of Gardens
Designing Private Sanctuaries, Parklands & Playgrounds
Wednesday, February 23 at 11:30 am in the Rainier Room
From residential gardens in Beverly Hills and Malibu to street planning for downtown Los Angeles and play zones for the Pasadena Children’s Museum, Nancy Goslee Power’s body of work reveals her multidimensional aesthetic. Her approach can range from the lavishly leafy to the meditatively restrained, from the comfortably homey to the superlatively (though always quirkily) formal. But no matter what the look, no matter who the client, each of her projects reminds us of the power that gardens have to refresh the body, center the mind, and liberate the spirit.

Convergence of Design
Connecting Art, Science and Garden Design
Thursday, February 24 at 1:00 pm in the Rainier Room
Landscape designer Nancy Goslee Power has designed over 150 residential gardens, institutional gardens, museum campuses, roof gardens, public spaces, recreational parks, and children’s gardens. Throughout them all she weaves the principles of art and science, melding them to create beautiful, healthy and functional environments that enable people to live well. She will share some of these principles that can be adapted to residential gardens, large or small, to help you create an enduring garden that provides sanctuary for everyday life.


Panayoti Kelaidis, Denver

Panayoti Kelaidis is a plant explorer, gardener and public garden administrator at Denver Botanic Gardens where he is the senior curator and director of outreach, where he designed the renowned the Rock Alpine Garden. He travels widely to research and collect plant species, including to South Africa, the Andes, the Himalayas, Europe and Turkey, introducing plants of those areas to North American gardens. He has received the prestigious Scott Medal from the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College.  He is the author of Flourish: A Visionary Garden in the American West (3D Press, 2009).

Rocky Mountain High
How the Mossy NW Can Use Arid Mountain Plants
Wednesday, February 23 at 1:00 pm in the Rainier Room
What can you learn from a horticulturist from Colorado? Surprisingly, the dry arid Rocky Mountains are more similar to the mossy Northwest than you might think. Panayoti Kelaidis thinks “clouds have a silver lining.” Find out why and discover how you can use mountain plants in your Northwest garden.

Bringing Them Back Alive
An Anthology of Plants from 5 Continents
Thursday, February 24 at 10:00 am in the Rainier Room
Panayoti Kelaidis is a an unsung hero for garden lovers everywhere – he’s a horticulturist and plant hunter. He travels to distant places in search of plants that might increase the biodiversity on Colorado’s gardens and adapt well to the Mediterranean climate. He shares his most memorable plant finds, those stellar performers that he thinks should be in use in gardens everywhere.

THE GARDEN SHOW – Plant Explorers
Outrageous Tales from Truly Obsessed Plant Geeks
Friday, February 25 at 2:30 pm in the Rainier Room
And now for something really different!  Four horticulturists and plant hunters get together to talk about what it takes to discover new plants in the wild and collect precious seed from promising new plant varieties. This is a totally spontaneous and ad-libbed conversation hosted by Richie Steffen, Curator of the Miller Botanical Garden, with guest stars Panayoti Kelaidis, 2011 Show Judge, senior curator and director of outreach at the Denver Botanic Garden; and Kelly Dodson and Sue Milliken, the team behind Far Reaches Farm, who recently returned from another seed collecting and plant hunting expedition to China last fall with a lot of stories to tell!


To view the entire seminar schedule, go to http://nwf.gs/cPkzdq. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the show! – Janet

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