Above is a Gold Medal Garden I designed for the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in 2003. I have designed twelve gardens for the Show, and this remains one of my favorites. Looking at the picture I am amazed at the amount of sphagnum moss we used; the moss has become quite expensive because it is not renewable. Planted in the moss beside the orange-painted bowling ball is a small bulb (I no longer remember what it was) planted late on the last night of move-in by my daughter and her best friend. By the end of the Show, after being under lights twenty-four hours a day for six days, the bulb had metamorphosed in color and shape.
Here Phoebe sits, waiting. She and I got to the Washington Convention Center at eight in the morning, and then waited for two hours for our truck to arrive. All around us gardens were under construction. Our neighbors built stone walls and began erecting the facades that are the backs of their gardens. Phoebe and I sat inside our space outlined with thin lines of red tape, and speculated about what had happened to our truck.
It finally arrived. (The truck drives up a long ramp from the street and onto the floor and to the garden space.) We unloaded plants and containers and garden tools, and then Phoebe and my nephew Josh left to collect the second load.
I took the second picture while waiting the second time for the truck. The Show provides the black curtain, which hangs directly at the back of the garden. Between the curtain and wall are six feet, which we use for staging during move-in and storage during the Show.
This last, very blurry picture was taken as we finished up for the day. This year the garden is a tiny patio supporting containers, so the day was short. (Most years I've done a large garden and it is dark outside when you leave the Convention Center. This year we left before two in the afternoon and joined what seemed like most of Seattle driving their cars on a beautiful, unseasonably warm winter day.)
Phoebe and Josh and Corey, a student of the horticulture program at Lake Washington Technical College and a volunteer to help with garden installation, have laid down some of the stone and brought in a bit of sawdust, and steer-co.
Just before we left Phoebe watered the plants, using an empty coke can dipped into a bucket of water. When I got home this afternoon I made a note to take in a watering can tomorrow.