Building an Award-Winning Show Garden, Part 4

Building an Award-Winning Show Garden, Part 4

New LeafAs you know, we have been following Steve Haizlip from New Leaf Creations as he builds his Show Garden for this year’s show. Here is his email that I just received:

Dear Flora and Readers:

Well things are moving slowly here in Issaquah as the cold weather and snow has really dictated what we can complete. I am trying to use the time to get caught up and make sure I am heading in the right direction and making sure I am planning for the flower show. It’s a challenge right now for companies to donate the goods for the garden due to the economy.

I dropped off my rhododendrons, ferns, azaleas and some additional plants to Lake Washington Technical Horticulture College at the end of November to start the forcing process.  Most of my plants will actually stay outside until probably the beginning of January – the ferns are already in the warm house to encourage new growth. In January, the rhododendrons will be moved into the warm house to start the process of tricking them that it is spring/summer. This is very tricky and requires that the students pay close attention to the plants. If you force too quickly the flowers obviously bloom too soon and will be gone by the time the show arrives. I will stop by every two weeks to meet with the students who are forcing my plants to check up and discuss how things are looking.

Also in January, I will give a presentation to the students about the landscape industry, our business, the flower show process, etc. I will also speak with Bill Hyde of Marenakos to start selecting boulders, flagstone, etc for the show.  I actually don’t select every boulder for the design – I meet with Bill and show him the size of boulders I like and let him pick out the boulders for us.  This is much easier than trying to select every boulder and remember where you wanted it placed.

Come mid-January, I will start building the structure. We probably will just frame the base and get all of the lumber prepped so when we arrive we will have all of the pieces cut and will just have to put together. At this time we will also build the three living walls so they will be ready to install and won’t have to build on site. This will save us lots of time.

I also have a trip towards the end of January to pick up Noble firs (our evergreen backdrop) in Arlington. I will also go to Blaine Washington to pick up Mountain Hemlocks that are used throughout the display. They are absolutely beautiful hemlocks and this is why I travel so far to pick them up.

After we get everything picked up we will end up loading a Penske truck the day before the show with all of the trees, plants, logs, etc so this way we are ready to go on the day of the move-in.

As you can see, there is a plan to all of this but I have learned you have to be very flexible because things always change once the set up starts.

Steve Haizlip, New Leaf

Building a Show Garden, Part 1, 2 and 3

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