30 Jan Awards Bestowed Throughout Garden Show
Most people know about the awards (Gold, Silver, Bronze or Crystal) awarded to the show gardens by our main Show Judges – Stephen Orr, Rosalind Creasy and Steve Aitken this year – along with the coveted Founder’s Cup Award (the Oscar of the garden show) and the American Horticulture Society’s Environmental Award, which goes to the garden that best demonstrates skillful design that incorporates environmental stewardship in the garden. But volunteer judges also give many awards throughout the show the day before we open, and these mean a lot to the creative people who have worked months and months to put together their displays throughout the garden show.
The show gardens also receive awards from media sources. These are usually judged by garden writers and editors, and have specific set criteria which the award is based on. The Sunset Western Living Award goes to garden most filled with fresh, useful, achievable ideas that enhance outdoor living in the West. It will be judged by Sunset editor Julie Chai and local writer Jim McCausland.
Regional magazines judging the show gardens include 425 Magazine, seeking the garden that dazzles thanks to smart design, creativity and originality, and judged by publisher Josh Dunn. A new award this year is the Gray Design of Choice, from Gray Media, judged by creative director and publisher Shawn Williams. She will be looking for the garden with the most creative, forward-thinking design – considering use of materials, spatial composition, uniqueness, functionality, a fresh aesthetic, and overall visual appeal.
The Pacific Horticulture Magazine Award looks for the garden that best demonstrates the regional nature of garden design. Seattle Times’ garden writer Val Easton judges this award along with designers Keith Geller and Ray Larson.
Of course, you can get in the act too! The Ethel Moss People’s Choice Award goes to the favorite garden as voted by the public. The winner receives a permanent plaque, and a rotating trophy which must be relinquished prior to the following year’s show. Look for the voting stations. The award is given out on Saturday afternoon, so be sure to vote for your favorite garden when you come to the show.
Finally, the Fred Palmer Exhibitor Award is a very meaningful award to all the hard-working garden creators. It goes to the garden voted the most accomplished by fellow garden creators. Since these people have been working tirelessly for over six months, and then exhausting themselves working side-by-side in the cacophony of noise and chaos to build their show gardens, receiving this award from their peers is a gratifying achievement.
The “Living it Up” gardens will be nestled on the garden floor along with the show gardens this year. These are three 12 ft. x 10 ft gardens designed to show how you can pack style and panache into a balcony, lanai or patio space. Their award will be judged by Sunset’s Julie Chai and Jim McCausland as well.
And the local and out-of-state artists submitting works for our “Garden Gallery” exhibit, which runs the width of the North Hall and includes 12 artist-designed chairs, benches and birdbaths made of metal, wood and recycled materials, will also be eligible for first, second and third-place awards.
The Container Garden exhibitors lining the sky bridge also vie for awards. They are judged in four categories – Best Design, Best Plant Material, Best ‘Re-Characterization’ of Recycled Material and The People’s Choice Award. It will be judged again this year by container designer Tina Dixon, owner of Plants à la Cart in Bothell and Marsha Davis-Thomsen.
Funky Junk is a special show section designed to encourage students who might be considering horticulture careers to get involved with the show. The goal is to demonstrate ways to reuse, recycle and repurpose materials in the garden. These too are judged by two masters of the repurposing craze – Matthew Levesque, show speaker and author of The Revolutionary Yardscape: Repurposing Local Materials to Create Containers, Pathways, Lighting and More, and Beth Evans-Ramos, author of The Salvage Studio: Sustainable Home Comforts to Organize, Entertain and Inspire.
Not to be outdone, the Floral Competition is also judged. These extravagant artistic floral creations are assembled by some of the cutting-edge designers in the local floral industry. Look for them as you first enter the show through the South Lobby. The judging team for 2012 is floral designer Lee Holcomb and Gary Waller.
The show itself also judges the 350+ exhibitors, giving a number of awards to those that create beautiful displays in keeping with our high standards. Last year we had 14 award-winning exhibits in the following categories: Best Overall Display, Outstanding Visual Presentation, Outstanding Marketing Display Awards; in the Nursery category, we have Outstanding Marketing and Outstanding Visual awards, and finally we also have an Outstanding Educational Display award.
The Northwest Flower & Garden Show is truly a partnership with many different garden designers, landscapers, nurseries, artists, craftsmen, florists and retailers in the horticulture industry. We applaud those that take such pride in their work and help us maintain the high level of visual beauty our attendees eagerly expect. And if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you can print them at home or buy them at the door. We have moved our ticket sales location from the freezing cold street level location to a new, spacious 4th floor North Lobby location. Head on up the escalators, get your tickets, and enjoy the show! – Janet