Catherine StewartNorthwest Flower & Garden Show show gardens

Northwest F&G Show 2014 Best in Show

The huge Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle brings an early spring – and a spring in the step – to many in the USA’s Pacific northwest. The high-quality show gardens (21 this year) are always a highlight, and it’s very interesting to follow what are the latest landscape design trends in the USA. This year’s theme was ‘Art in Bloom‘.

Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2014 Best in Show - Arouse| Evoke| Create| Grow| Chill

Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2014 Best in Show – Nature’s Studio: Arouse| Evoke| Create| Grow| Chill

Arboretum

Northwest Flower & Garden Show – The Garden of Artful Delight – Homage to the Art and Garden of Ginny Ruffner

Looking through the show photos, there are some very strong trends this year. Many of the gardens are very informal, bordering on folksy. When I say ‘folksy’, I’m not meaning that at all derogatorily, but rather as a refreshing ‘life is simple’ rejection of ‘done’ looking landscapes that yell out their design credentials.

Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2014 Creative Gardener

Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2014 The Art of Retreat: Two Generations Define Their Own Garden Studios

Many of the show gardens feature:

  • – rough hewn, unstained timber and driftwood
  • – crazy paving or pavers with rumbled edges
  • – naturalistic water features with large stone blocks and pebbles
  • – mingled rather than block planting with strong foliage textures rather than flowers
Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2014 MOFA

Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2014 MOFA – Museum of Foliar Art

As one of the year’s first garden shows, it will be very interesting to see whether these trends show up at Ellerslie NZ later this month, the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and Canada Blooms in March, or the Chelsea Flower Show in May.

[Photos courtesy The Bartlett Group]

Winning gardens in the Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2014 include:

Best in Show, Founder’s Cup and gold medal:

Nature’s Studio: AROUSE | EVOKE | CREATE | GROW | CHILL – Washington Association of Landscape Professionals and Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association. “Take a journey through a couple’s outdoor studio, a verdant private paradise that inspires these artists through a multitude of colors, textures, fragrances and sounds.”

Gold medals

Terra Cadence – the Rhythms of the Earth – Plantswoman Design

The Art of Retreat: Two Generations Define Their Own Garden Studios – The Creative Gardener/Urban Garden Company. “..brings their special perspectives to this ‘dual generation’ garden that embraces the elegance of design.”

The Art of Upcycling – Fancy Fronds/ALBE Rustics

MOFA – Museum of Foliar Art – West Seattle Nursery. “The concept of a garden as a museum is boldly executed here, with ‘plants as art’–three living walls (each with a different style) presented as ‘paintings,’ a large topiary as a ‘sculpture’ and many smaller framed ‘works of art’ consisting of plant material.”

ART-itecture for Urban Wildlife – the Association of Landscape Professionals – WA. Designed to create a “dynamic interplay between humans and wildlife”

Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Garden Aesthetic – Elandan Gardens Ltd

Darwin’s Muse – Art Imitating Life – Karen Stefonick Design

For a great write up/roundup of more of the entries, visit Sublime Garden Design‘s blog, or watch this great video showing more of the gardens:

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Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Original creator of GardenDrum. South Coast NSW.

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