Creating a Garden for the Northwest Flower & Garden Show- 2 weeks and counting

January 25, 2012

The Resonating Sounds of Nature, Finding Peace and Solace in the Garden

In case you haven’t heard, two weeks from today the annual Northwest Flower & Garden Show will begin.  That’s 14 days, 336 hours or 20,010 minutes from the time I am writing this.  But who’s counting.  And are we ready, you ask?  Of course…not.

So much time, work, money, creative juices, passion, antacids, and maybe even a few tears (is that ok to admit?) have gone into creating our Garden, The Resonating Sounds of Nature, Finding Peace and Solace in the Garden.  Ironic isn’t it? Emotions have ranged from giddy excitement to anticipation, to sheer fear and utter dread. Yes, I said it…dread.  And insomnia. Did I mention nightmares? Like the one where I forgot about set-up and showed up on opening day and had to set up the garden in just a few hours.  Or the one where our water system didn’t work for the drums and so Kryssie took it upon herself to round up about 50 random street musicians to bring in their own drums and just start whaling on them instead.

But truthfully, the process of creating this garden has been transformational for me. I’ll save this for another post, but I believe it’s true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’ll confirm that with you if I’m still alive after the show.

If you didn’t see my last blog covering the last 6 months of this process you can read about it here to get up to speed.

Shortly after writing my last post we got snow. A lot of snow. A “Winter Storm Proclamation” was made. It just kept coming, and coming.  And it was beautiful! Being snowbound for a week at any other time is actually kind of a nice break but last week…well let’s just say my list for this week has effectively doubled and we are now in catch up mode.  But we’ll get everything done. And if we don’t we’ll just gather some random street musicians to come and whale on their drums instead.


Varied Thrush

A Varied Thrush keeping one foot warm on a snow day


Here’s what has gone on since my last post:

We started working on the water distribution system with Paul Sorey.  Paul built this circuit board that will work with the solenoid valves to create our drum rhythms.  The rhythms are first composed as MIDI files and then, using interfacing software, are sent as serial data to the controller. It worked the first time so we were pretty excited, not to say that there aren’t a few kinks to be worked out. Let’s just hope we are working them out at the show.


Circout board for rain drums

Paul shows us his handy work


We started staining the arbor.  After experimenting with 4 different stain colors, including a clear and an iron and vinegar mixture, we chose this color called Cordovan. It’s a rich, deep brown which we think will look pretty great with the drums, Earth Walls and lush green plantings. We also picked up these washers which will be mostly decorative, but add a rustic feel to the arbor.    


Arbor color and washer


I made a trip down to Windmill Gardens on Monday to check out our plants.  Most of them look great.  Except our bulbs.  Ben (the owner) told me he doesn’t think the will be ready in time for the show.  No big deal, since we only have 500 of them!  That’s 200 tulips, 200 daffodils and 100 hyacinths. Anyone need some bulbs? But I refuse to accept that they won’t be ready.  I gave them a little talking to and I think I saw them grow a little in the time I was there. Prayers for our bulbs are welcome.


Bulbs being forced for the Northwest Flower & garden Show

Bloom baby, bloom!


On Tuesday I got a call from Don Marshall from Lake Washington Tech letting me know that two of the greenhouses, one of which was housing several of our plants for the show, had collapsed in the snow.  Really. At last I heard it doesn’t seem as though we lost too much but I am going out tomorrow to check it out.


Greenhouse goes down with the weight of the snow


I also made another trip to Wetlands & Woodlands to check on the remaining plants still to be procured. We have all but the 3 Acer griseum (Paper Bark Maples) that we will be using. It’s making me a little anxious that we don’t have them yet. They need to be big. But if all else fails we can always pick up a few of the many snow and ice casualties left roadside from our recent storm.   


The garden

Revised plan for our new space

We also had to do quite a bit of redesigning of our original plan. Just a few weeks ago one of the garden creators backed out and our space got moved to theirs.  Our new space is a different shape and slightly bigger. Oh yeah, and it’s the first garden attendees will see when they walk in the door.  No pressure.

Yesterday we had a pre-con meeting with the guys from Natural Concepts. They seem psyched and ready to go, though they have never done one of these shows before. A good amount of discussion was about the water feature.  Creating a water feature on a concrete floor with several tons of rock is not something for the faint of heart. The show producers don’t look kindly on leaky water features and wet floor signs. They suggest a double liner or liner and felt; we will be using all 3.

That’s all for now. There is still much to do, and I better get to it!

Like us on facebook and Subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up to date on the progress   And be sure to visit us at the show February 8-12, 2012!


Organized under 3d Modeling, Gardens, Landscape Design.

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