What you missed from the show.
There was so much going on in Seattle last week! The Seahawks had just won the Superbowl a few days earlier and the city was effervescent with joy and pride.
What was hot at the Garden show?
There was so much going on in Seattle last week! The Seahawks had just won the Superbowl a few days earlier and the city was effervescent with joy and pride. Fans swarmed the streets and hotels in anticipation of the Championship Parade which began the same morning of the show. Needless to say, that was the perfect time to be at the show - well for one of us. Merle joined the throngs in the freezing cold and had a blast.
Not to be outdone, show exhibitors shared their team spirit in some unique and impressive ways. And I happen to know that a few of them ducked out of the show to see the parade as well. We stayed in town until Saturday, and even then strangers on the street would yell out, “Go Hawks!” to us in passing. It was such a cool time to be there.
The Seahawks logo in the deck - cool, that then rises up to be a table - very cool! There were lots of hand painted wooden signs with ‘Seahawks’ or ’12’ on them. I loved the little twelfth man garden gnomes, they were too cute. It was interesting to see the mix of local support and business savvy as exhibitors and vendors got commemorative.
These beauties were everywhere! They were in dramatic urns, they were in wee little miniature pots, they were in rustic trays, they were hanging from the ceiling, all in gorgeous colour and textures. There was even a seminar on succulent wreath making.
Succulents are such a great design feature. For me, succulents invite rest and contemplation. Whenever I see an arrangement, I am reminded of the value of stillness. The blues, greens and greys are calming to the eye and I find their simple forms refreshing. Maybe it is because they are slow growing and not in a hurry to leaf out or bloom that I am able to stop and appreciate the present moment.
It was wonderful to see all the rustic, vintage and salvaged treasures that were at the garden show. (Granted some of them were new and made to look old - can’t win ‘em all.)
Incorporating older pieces brings an integrity to the garden. I like gardens best when they have personality, stories, and above all, mystery. When we fill our gardens with new shiny things the garden can become generic. It could be anyone’s, anywhere. Rusty, scratched, dented, faded, storied pieces enhance the sense of place in a garden, tying the present to the past. I love the statue of the couple in the photo, I could easily imagine it tucked into a garden with ivy growing up and around it. The cute tricycle makes me want to run out to my nearest thrift shop to see what hidden gems I can find for myself. The awesome metal letters are new, hand made and treated to achieve this antique patina. They would be great in a family garden or even inside on the wall.
Upcycling is all about getting creative. It means seeing with new eyes: finding the beauty in the unexpected, messing with form and function. We saw toolboxes turned in to planter boxes, juxtaposing hard lines and soft textures. One designer turned rebar and concrete forming wire into a trellis - what a reinvention! The former structure and form for concrete becomes a form for life and beauty.
Upcycling goes beyond pallet conversion contests. It forces us to shift our thinking from consuming and disposing to wondering what new life lies beneath. We spoke with a german furniture designer and manufacturer who works at the Bellingham Re-Store. After 30 years of making furniture he has turned his passion to dismantling existing furniture pieces and creating something altogether new. He had planted trees in old sinks, filled wooden drawers with flowers and the list goes on.
Walking through the exhibitors’ booths at the show, it became very clear that there will always be a place in the garden for glass, whether it is a quaint accessory or fine art: there is something for everyone. In fact, Seattle is now home to a permanent Chihuly Garden & Glass exhibit located outside at the base of the Space Needle. We were privileged to hear the exhibit director and landscape designer talk about the exhibit and its installation. Although it is a permanent exhibition and the glass doesn’t change, it is a dynamic experience for the visitor as the plants grow and mature and cycle through the seasons. It is definitely on the top of our to do list on our next visit to Seattle.
On a smaller scale, glass accessories can bring some personality and whimsy to a garden. We saw lifelike plant replicas, the notably the cat tails and the pitcher plants in the pond. Colourful glass balls floating in a water feature are a great focal point in any yard. Why not hang a collection of glass ornaments from a tree year round or add a glass flower to a container arrangement. As with any accessory or embellishment it is all about expressing yourself in your space.