What’s the fun of a garden show? Well after visiting the Northwest Flower and Garden Show a dozen times, I sometimes ask myself that very question. The displays are as usual fantastical, the marketplace has rare but pricey plants, the food is flat out mediocre. But there is one redeeming quality to a garden show: ideas. Stuff you haven’t thought of to do in your own garden. Crafted art you’ve never seen before. Plants you’ve never heard of. In short, the most creative, new, and unusual are at those shows. If you want to get inside the heads of all horticulture industry professionals, go to a garden show.
While I like to study the displays and take a bunch of photos, I find what I return to are the original concepts I hadn’t thought of but excited me. So here are a handful of those that may bring inspiration to your garden in 2018.
I loved this hang out space created from a jungle gym! Very unique. It recalls a hippie papasan chair. I like how the outer bars are wrapped in thick rope to define the entrance and the pillows give it pops of color. This was made by Happenstantials in Burien, WA.
What this sculpture was wasn’t even apparent on first glance. A thin slice of a redwood tree trunk of course. Setting it vertically on edge created a weird botanical Rorschach test. What do you see? I see a man’s body and a duck’s head. Wood pieces like this aren’t widely available but with a sliced trunk and a jigsaw, you could make your own version. This was created by Nature Perfect Landscape Design in Olympia, Washington.
These little circular sculptures won my heart. It’s a great idea because it’s quite simple. You drill holes in river rocks and thread them through a stiff piece of wire or metal. You can make circles, spirals, hearts, whatever shape your imagination comes up with. If you’re not the crafty type, you can buy these from Swanson’s Nursery.
This is an amazing rock called chrysanthemum marble. The pattern seems manmade but it’s actually naturally occurring. With cement and paint, you could make your own. These are available at Marenakos Rock Center.
A stunning sculpture of driftwood and glass balls. You could get this look with soft branches that you intertwine for a vertical tower before adding small glass gazing orbs, paper mache balls, or plain ceramic plates. The trick would be to contrast the color of the branches with the circular shapes, which is done to spectacular effect here. This was made by Camden Gardens in Seattle, WA.
Shipwreck Apiaries made these candles with ferns imprinted in all natural beeswax candles. They are beautiful and smell faintly of honey. There’s not a quick way to really recreate this look, but I loved the idea of candles with plants imprinted in the wax. You can find them on Etsy.
Great idea to drape Mardi Gras bead necklaces on a mossy tree. This display was part of the wine stand so I didn’t find a particular attribution as to who designed it but I loved the colorful idea. They may have had to go deep into the rain forest to find a tree draped with such long moss. Then again, knowing Seattle, it could be from someone’s densely treed backyard.
I’ve seen this idea more than once lately but I like it. Either setting or actually growing a plant in a piece of decorative wood. This came from an atrium stall designed by Designs by Nature in Hansville, WA.
Lastly, these antique horse bridle rosette leather bands were unlike anything I’d seen before. I love the antique glass work combined with the worn leather. I should have bought one. The rosettes were dated from the 1880s to 1920s. They were decorations on horse bridles or held the headstall together. I searched all over the interwebs for this vendor’s name and unfortunately couldn’t find it. If anyone knows who makes these in the Northwest, let me know! I’ll give them a shout out.