Arboretum Foundation Heads Down Under

Arboretum Foundation Heads Down Under


 Garden pays homage to New Zealand splendor 

The design team at the Arboretum Foundation is taking its cue for their 2013 show garden from J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel, The Hobbit, for their 2013 garden at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

“A Hobbit’s New Zealand Garden” recreates an imaginary small, lush world of hobbits as envisioned by the award-winning design team of Phil Wood, Robert Williams and Bob Lilly. They are the co-creators of the past two Arboretum Foundation gardens at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, both of which won Gold Medals and the Pacific Horticulture Award.

The garden will be composed of plants native to New Zealand that generally do well in our region. It celebrates the new eco-geographic forest to be planted in the Arboretum’s Pacific Connection’s Garden next year.

A serene woodland Spring garden created by the Arboretum Foundation for the 2010 garden show.

You’ll find yourself transported ‘down under’ when you see the house tucked into a hillside covered with sedges and ferns. A stone pathway leads to a round hobbit-sized door. An aged picket fence borders a small inner garden, with a tree fern standing sentry nearby.

Next to the house is a bog filled with colorful New Zealand flax (Phormium) and surrounded by drifts of sedges (Carex), for a wind-swept feel. Fog seeps in, lending an air of mystery. Color pops from the flowers of Libertia and foliage of Coprosma, and on top of the hill a small grove of tea trees (Leptospermum) forms a backdrop to the garden.

Children of all ages will want to take a peek inside the diminutive hobbit house.  But parents will appreciate how most of the plants in the garden are drought tolerant, and, once established, are also low maintenance. The garden will showcase how these plants can compliment any typical Northwest home garden.

Award-winning bird habitat garden designed by the Arboretum Foundation and the Seattle Audubon Society.

The Arboretum Foundation is a nonprofit organization supporting the renowned 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle. They hope to raise $5.5 million to complete construction of the 2.25 acre New Zealand Forest in 2013 as part of Phase II of the Pacific Connections Garden.

Tickets are on sale now for the 25th annual show, to be held February 20 – 24, 2013 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. For a sneak preview of the Arboretum Foundation’s New Zealand garden and all the inspirational show gardens, join them for the Opening Night Party, with proceeds supporting the Arboretum Foundation. ~ Janet

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