Giving birth to a garden, 6 months in the making

January 11, 2012

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

It all started about 6 months ago, back in August of 2011, when Kryssie and I decided to explore the idea of creating a garden for the Northwest Flower and Garden ShowA Floral Symphony, Gardens Take Note, which runs from February 8-12, 2012. For anyone who hasn’t experienced one of these shows, it is suffice to say that it is a major undertaking to create one of these gardens in 90 hours.  To give you an idea (and to prove my point) you can watch a time lapse video of what goes on during set up here.

After contacting Cyle, the show’s designer, we found out that the applications for the gardens were due in July.  We were a bit disappointed, and maybe a bit relieved… until he told us that we might still have a shot of getting in the show. Uh oh. We met with Cyle and talked about the options of doing one of the 10’x10’ “Living it Up” spaces, or maybe even a container garden display. Ah yes, easy and simple, that would be nice. Or we could go for it and commit ourselves to months of planning, design and hard work to create one of the full size display gardens. Who needs easy and simple?

We got to work on the design and our heads were spinning with ideas. We finally decided on our concept after our visit to the drum garden designed by Dan Corson at Cedar River Watershed Education Center in September.  We were captivated by the rhythmic sounds of water falling on the drums. From there we did some research on the healing properties of sound and found the work of Dr. Jeffrey Thompson from the Center for Nueroaucustic Research in California. We contacted Dr. Thomson and he agreed to an interview. During that fascinating interview Dr. Thompson spoke about his work and the healing properties of sound. Let’s just say, he had us at “resonate”.

And so the concept The Resonating Sounds of Nature- Finding Peace and Solace in the Garden was born.  Our intention was to create a space that connects us with nature and that deeper part of ourselves that is awakened when we can tune out the external noise and find the peace within.

The process of creating this garden has been a labor of love, similar to the the rewards and pain of giving birth to a child. A very big child. With this moment in time equating to contractions at about 5 minute intervals.

The following is a photo recap of the process over the last 6 months:

Sept 2011: Our inspiration

Our visit to the  Cedar River Watershed where we found our inspiration in the drum courtyard

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The Cedar River drum courtyard


We meet and see the work of artist Steve Farris at an APLD garden tour and he agrees to make our “drums”

A metal urn created by Steve farris


October 2011: The design evolves

3D model of the garden


We start to collect plants, graciously loaned to us by Wetlands & Woodlands Nursery

Who needs to park in the garage anyway?

We begin to pick out materials including this 2400 lb piece of stone from Simply Rocks in Snohomish that will  be at the entry of our garden

Big stone!

We visit artist Robert Fairfax and he begins creating these beautiful “Earth Code” walls for our garden

“Earth Code” walls by Robert Fairfax

November 2011: We get tricky with Mother Nature and begin to bring plants, including 500 bulbs, to Windmill Gardens in Sumner for forcing

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This special Hydrangea gets the back seat

In late November we get some unfortunate news, the contractor that was going to build our garden has to back out for reasons beyond their control. We are in limbo and not sure if we will be able to do the garden after all…

December 2011: We bring more plants to Windmill Gardens and we take up every bit of space we are allotted. Thankfully my Alma mater, the horticulture program at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, also offers us space to store our plants.

More plants go to Windmill

Good news! We partner with Natural Concepts Landscape Company to help us build the garden.  We’re back on!

January 2012: We partner with Meyer Wells and Green Tree Mill and they turn a recently salvaged 150′ Doug Fir from Mercer Island into 10’x10′ posts and 24′ long beams for our arbor

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A salvaged tree gets a new purpose

We receive a special post-Christmas delivery, our new drums from Steve Farris

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Steel strapping drums created by Steve Farris


We visit Marenakos to pick out our boulders and risers. They really rock!  OK, that was bad.

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Risers that will be our steps into the garden


Don Dawson and his crew get to work and our arbor begins to take shape

It’s a monster!


As you can see by all the people involved that creating this garden is a team effort and we are so grateful for all the people that have volunteered their time and effort to help us!

To be continued…

Stay tuned for the next phase as we work with Craig Penner from City Rain and  Paul Sorey, the original technical designer and fabricator of the water distribution system at the drum garden at the Cedar River Watershed, to orchestrate the water system for our garden. This is no easy task!

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!


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4 comments... (add a comment)

  1. Pingback: City Rain Helps Build “Water Drum” at NW Garden And Flower Show « The Crusty Sprinkler Guy

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