Seminar Spotlight: Designing Minds Share Knowledge & Insights

Seminar Spotlight: Designing Minds Share Knowledge & Insights

You need both planning and plants to get your garden started. Find out how from our garden design seminars.

It’s the age-old question: Which comes first, the plants, or the garden? So many of us begin our gardening journey by putting a few plants into our outdoor spaces and thinking we’re done. Then, faster than the spread of Euphorbia Robbiae, our plant lust addiction grabs a hold of our senses, and we find ourselves trying to stuff plants into every corner. It’s a case of too many plants, not enough plan.  Well-seasoned gardeners (most learning the hard way) know to start with a PLAN, and carefully consider the needs of their family, their lifestyle, and their outdoor spaces before embarking on a plant shopping spree.


Fortunately the Garden Show has a wealth of great speakers who can help you discover how to get your garden started with a plan that will meet your needs, both immediate and long-term. You can learn how to take advantage of all your garden spaces. So whether your garden is new or established or large or small, these seminars will surely provide valuable insights in garden design, and tips on the plants you’ll want to include.


No matter what prompts a new garden, Lucy Hardiman shows you how to re-envision your garden. Photo by Lucy Hardiman

Lucy Hardiman, Garden designer, writer and author, Intimate Gardens
Lucy Hardiman was to the garden born. As a fifth generation Oregon gardener, most of her childhood memories revolve around the cycles and seasons of the garden.  She is the principal of Perennial Partners, a garden design collaborative, distinguished by their innovative hardscapes, playful planting designs and creative approach to problem solving. She is a past president of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, is vice president of the Friends of the Rogerson Clematis Collection and is on the Great Plant Picks perennials committee. She co-authored Intimate Gardens (Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2005) and is currently working on a new book. A popular lecturer, teacher and author, Hardiman is a contributing editor for Horticulture Magazine and shares her opinionated perspective on gardening on her blog, ‘Perennial Patter.’ Website:

Designer Lucy Hardiman shows you how to have Wow! garden spaces. Photo by Lucy Hardiman

Inside the Designer’s Studio
The Art of Transforming Your Garden
Friday, February 25 at 10:00 am in the Rainier Room
Time marches on in every garden. Some gardens wear their age better than others, and all gardens need “a little work” now and then. Is it time to restore, renovate or re-envision your garden? Designer, author and garden show favorite Lucy Hardiman takes you inside the mind and studio of a garden designer, and shows you fresh approaches for renewing your own garden. 



Designers Susan Morrison & Rebecca Sweet love to garden UP, like this vertical strawberry tower. Photo by Susan Morrison & Rebecca Sweet

Susan Morrison – Co-author, Garden Up!
Susan Morrison is a landscape designer, garden writer, and Master Gardener based in Northern California. Her design philosophy is simple: To create beautiful, sustainable, functional gardens. Susan is the co-author of Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces (Cool Springs Press, 2011) and a contributing editor at Fine Gardening Magazine. An early convert to the value of social media, she connects with gardeners from all over the world via Twitter, Facebook and her blogs  To see Susan’s design portfolio, visit her company website:    

Rebecca Sweet – Co-author, Garden Up!
Rebecca Sweet is a garden designer and the owner of Harmony In The Garden, located in Northern California. Rebecca’s signature ‘Garden Fusion’ style blends her clients’ personal desires with regionally appropriate plants. Her gardens have been featured in Fine Gardening Magazine, Fine Homebuilding Magazine and Beds & Borders as well as regional newspapers and publications.  She is the co-author of Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces (Cool Springs Press, 2011).  In addition to designing gardens, Rebecca also writes the ‘Design Perspectives’ column for Horticulture Magazine and is a contributing editor for Fine Gardening Magazine.  She blogs at ‘Gossip in the Garden’ at   

A beautiful succulent wall is living art and takes little water. Photo by Susan Morrison & Rebecca Sweet

Garden Up!
Smart Vertical Gardening for Small & Large Spaces
Friday, February 25 at 4:00 pm in the Rainier Room
Saturday, February 26 at 12:15 pm in the Hood Room
Vertical gardening is the latest, most talked about garden trend. Whether you’re interested in edibles, ornamentals or a little of both, taking advantage of vertical spaces is an easy way to take your garden to the next level. Filled with inspiring photos and innovative approaches, Susan and Rebecca’s presentation will highlight a range of vertical gardening ideas, from vegetable towers made of recycled PVC pipes to stunning succulent walls. 



Marianne Binetti – Syndicated columnist & author, Edible Gardens for Washington & Oregon
Known for her light-hearted and fun approach to garden writing, Marianne has a B.A. in horticulture from Washington State University and writes a syndicated column that runs in over a dozen newspapers. She also writes weekly for the Tacoma News Tribune garden page. You may recognize Marianne from her many appearances on HGTV. The Seattle native is the author of ten gardening books.  Her most recent book is Edible Gardens for Washington & Oregon, and she is also the author of Container Gardening for Washington and Oregon (Lonepine Press, January 2008) and Herbs for Washington & Oregon (Lonepine Press, January 2008). Her latest project includes taking gardeners around the globe to see beautiful gardens.  Website:    

A Tale of Two Gardens
Good vs. Evil in Garden Design and Plant Choices
Sunday, February 27 at 12:45 pm in the Rainier Room
Avoid garden headaches and hassles! Marianne Binetti shows you how to use smart garden design and make great plant choices and combinations, vs. poor design and problem plants. With just a few good decisions in design and plants, you’ll have a tale of your own garden that will have a happy ending.    

Marianne will also be appearing on Thursday’s episode of THE GARDEN SHOW:    

THE GARDEN SHOW: Our Most Unforgettable Characters
Guest Stars: Marianne Binetti, Cass Turnbull & Steve Lorton
Thursday, February 24 at 2:30 pm in the Rainier Room
Join us for something completely new on the seminar stages as four gardening luminaries get together to talk about the unforgettable obsessed gardeners they have met during their careers. This is a totally spontaneous and ad-libbed conversation hosted by Ciscoe Morris, popular radio and TV host and author of Ask Ciscoe!, along with guest stars Marianne Binetti, columnist and author; Cass Turnbull, founder of Plant Amnesty; and Steve Lorton, former editor of Sunset magazine.  Put these four storytellers in a room together and turn them loose with microphones and it’s sure to be an hour of wild stories!  


Vanessa Gardener Nagle talks about how to have an irresistable garden - start with good design. Photo by Vanessa Gardener Nagle

Vanessa Gardner Nagel, APLD- Garden designer & author, Understanding Garden Design
Vanessa Gardner Nagel, APLD, is the author of Understanding Garden Design: The Complete Handbook for Aspiring Designers (Timber Press, 2010). Sunset Magazine awarded her an Award of Excellence in the 2004 Landscape Design Competition. After a formal education in design, she worked as a commercial interior designer for over 22 years with architectural firms in the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland, Oregon. As the owner of Seasons Garden Design LLC in Vancouver, WA since 2002, Vanessa promotes sustainability while designing innovative, practical, and client-specific gardens. Follow her blog at  or visit her website at    

Designing the Irresistible Garden
Create Your Own Using Basic Design Principles
Friday, February 25 at 9:30 am in the Hood Room
Many people waste a lot of time, effort and money in their garden because they don’t start with a design plan. Turn your garden into an enticing siren that lures you in any season. With a good understanding of the basic principles of garden design, such as the effective use of color, line, form, texture, variety, unity, balance, rhythm, repetition, scale and proportion, you’ll be off to a good start to your dream garden. Back by popular demand, Vanessa describes basic design principles in an relaxed and lighthearted manner that makes designing a garden easy to understand!  


Nicholas Staddon has already traveled the world to find the best plants for the Northwest, so you don't have to.

Nicholas Staddon – Director of New Plant Introductions, Monrovia
Nicholas Staddon, Director of New Plants for Monrovia, has been a Monrovia Craftsman for over 20 years. Working with breeders, hybridizers, and professional plant explorers, he scours the globe for new creations and discoveries in the plant world. Nicholas is also sought out as a resource and guest for television and radio gardening shows across the US. Nicholas works closely with professional garden writers and Monrovia’s customers, providing information on plants – both old and new – sharing his views on garden trends. He has created a series of informative ‘Plant Savvy’ videos that can be found online. Visit the Monrovia exhibit at booth # 406. Website:    

Small Garden, Big Ideas
Create a Year-Round Tapestry of Plants
Saturday, February 26 at 7:00 pm in the Hood Room
It’s not time we want on our hands, it’s dirt! For those gardeners that have a smaller garden, this is a must-see presentation. Nicholas will navigate through a selection of shrubs, perennials and vines, both ornamental and fruit bearing, hardy and exotic, that can be woven into a year-round tapestry taking the smaller space to a grand garden experience. He will not forget the patio area, taking into account his own personal passion of “sitting among your plants.” We will also be introduced to an array of brand new plant introductions just perfect for growing in the Pacific Northwest. 


Greg Butler – Garden designer & EdCC Instructor
In spite of the fact that he is a graduate of the Horticulture Program at Edmonds Community College and the Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Washington, Greg prefers to think of himself as just another overeducated gardener.  Since 1994 he has been the owner of Design of the Times, a garden & landscape design & consultation firm.  Greg was instrumental in the creation of the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden, leading the team that created the Master Plan and acting as Project Manager in the relocation of both the Elda Behm Paradise Garden and the historic Seike Japanese Garden. He teaches the Landscape Renovation class at EdCC, and is a speaker in the King and Pierce County Natural Yard Care programs. Website:    


Designer Greg Butler helps you avoid basic mistakes like this one, with style and humor.

The Green Side Goes Up!
Save Time, Money & Stress with Garden Renovation
Saturday, February 26 at 10:00 am in the Rainier Room
A practical and philosophical look at 10 simple things gardeners can do to save time, money, and the planet, delivered with more than a touch of humor. Recede from the dominant paradigm and have a garden that costs less money, requires less work, and is a healthier place for you, your family, and the rest of us. Learn how to manage your own soil and storm water issues, free yourself from chemical dependency and lawnmower drudgery, and work with nature to build a beautiful garden packed with foliage, flowers, food, and wildlife.


Paths and a patio add strong structure to this garden when viewed from the deck above. Photo by Phil Wood

 Phil Wood – Lecturer, writer & landscape architect
Phil Wood is the owner of Phil Wood Garden Design, a residential garden design firm in Seattle. Phil earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington and his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the Cornish College of the Arts. He writes a monthly column on garden design for City Living that appears in five community newspapers in the Seattle area. Phil has designed 12 display gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden show. His gardens have won many gold medals and are always a crowd favorite. Be sure to visit his show garden! Website:    

Moving Through Your Garden
Designing Paths to Create Dramatic Garden Frameworks
Sunday, February 27 at 11:00 am in the Hood Room
Paths tie your garden together and provide the bones of your design. Designer Phil Wood shows you how to create the structure that connects your livable outdoor spaces and how to choose path materials that underscore the exuberance of your plants. 


Steve Lorton – Former editor, Sunset magazine
Steve Lorton was at Sunset Magazine for 33 years, most recently as the Northwest Bureau Chief. The Senke School of Ikebana gave him their first and only honorary membership.  He started the Seattle Street Tree Advisory Board for the City of Seattle, served on the Executive Boards of the Washington Park Arboretum, The Northwest Horticulture Society, The Arboretum Bulletin Editorial Board, and the Northwest Trail of the Woodland Park Zoological Gardens.  He has written extensively about gardens in America, Canada, Japan, Korea, Finland, England, Spain, France and Brazil.    

Steve Lorton shares insights on how many classic Northwest gardens have their roots in Asian style gardens

Exploring Our Asian Roots
Japanese Influence on Northwest Gardens
Wednesday, February 23 at 5:45 pm in the Hood Room
Join master story-teller Steve Lorton has he takes you on a tour of Japanese gardens and shares his insights into their influence on Northwest gardens today.    

Steve will also be appearing in an episode of THE GARDEN SHOW:    

THE GARDEN SHOW: Our Most Unforgettable Characters
Four Gardening Raconteurs on Their Most Memorable People!
Thursday, February 24 at 2:30 pm in the Rainier Room


Meghan Fuller, Landscape Designer, Rock Solid Landscapes
Meghan Fuller is a landscape designer and maintenance manager with Rock Solid Landscapes in Seattle. She received her BFA from the School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and her ATA in Landscape Design from Edmonds Community College. She also teaches seminars on a variety of topics at Swansons nursery. Website:   

The Details Make the Difference
Plant Marriages That Don’t End in Divorce
Friday, February 25 at 6:30 pm in the Rainier Room
Plants and layout provide the structure of a good garden, but for a truly stunning garden, you need interesting and beautiful plant combinations that read both at a distance and up close. Learn how to successfully combine plants so you can take your garden to the next level. Meghan will discuss plant type, texture, size, shape, and color using examples from the garden to show how to create unique combinations that work.    

For the entire seminar schedule, go to  And be sure to “Like” us on our Facebook page so you can be entered in our Fairytale Prize Drawing! – Janet

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