Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Scene From the Flower and Garden Show...

by Monzie
A  three-hour shift as docent Saturday for The Japanese Garden-Bridging History display at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show was a great way to see reactions to a Japanese Garden.

The gold award-winning display, celebrating the Seattle Japanese Garden's 50th anniversary last year, was presented by the Arboretum Foundation in association with its partners the Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle Parks and Recreation and University of Washington Botanic Gardens.  Congratulations to designers Roger Williams, Phil Wood and Bob Lilly!
Cherry tree blossomed on cue - Photo by Monzie 2/26/11

More than 200 visitors passed by my end of the exhibit - judging by the number of trips made to pick up more of the display's brochures to hand out.  The pamphlet had an excellent plant list, which was eagerly received by visitors and gratefully by me.
Mondo grass doubled for water - Photo by Monzie 2/26/11

Here's a take on reactions.

First, long pauses as eyes swept the beautifully lighted display from entrance gate, past cherry trees, the crooked bridge and then to the viewing platform (or vice versa, naturally).

Much action ensued with cameras, especially views capturing the garden's length through the entrance gate, and shots through branches of the cherry trees.

Then noses detected a heavy scent.  Where was the fragrance coming from?  They sniffed the cherry blossoms.  No.  Not there.

They bent  to check the sarcoccocca beneath the cherry trees.  Not there either.

Moving ahead in the search, "ahh!" exclamations rang out with discovery of two Daphne odora at the torri gate. Mystery solved!  (Nurseries may expect a run on Daphne odora.)
Eye catching deer-catcher (look for the low bamboo gizmo to the left of the lantern) - Photo by Monzie 2/26/11

The bamboo deer catcher, with its water funnel rhythmically rising and falling- all the while making clacks on a stone to chase away any deer - was an immediate attraction to children.

Rippling mondo grass, substituting for water under the bridge, was a center of adult attention - perhaps mowers of lawns in particular.  Is it difficult to grow?  What about water? Does it prefer sun or shade? Can one walk on it?

But the first, long, appreciative pauses may reflect best on the garden's design.


  1. great reporting and great pics, Monzie!

  2. Thanks for the update, Monzie, and congratulations to the designers for winning the gold!

  3. this is from Nat's email - she tried to post it as a comment here, but it didn't take, so i'm re-posting it for her, for all the docents to see:

    "Thank you, Monzie, for your photos and report of the AF Garden at the 2011 Flower & Garden Show. I wasn’t able to attend and was quite curious about the outcome.

    The AF had given me the opportunity to comment on their design plan before it was installed at the show. After I emailed about 4-pages of commentary to them, I did wonder how such input by a docent would ultimately be received. Turned out that my comments were appreciated, and several recommendations were incorporated. One simple example: I recommended that the orientation of the wood planks in the zigzag bridge be changed from running the width to running the length (so as to better represent the SJG’s zigzag bridge.)
    Nat S."