Wednesday, February 26, 2020

GardenComm Awards Outdoor Living Award: Northwest Flower & Garden Festival: Orca Recovery Garden

I was honored to judge alongside photographer Mark Turner and freelance writer Erica Browne Grivas at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival this year. As members of GardenComm (formerly Garden Writers of America), we were in search of a garden that exhibited "the most beautiful, creative, and educational ideas to encourage effective use of horticulture and design for functional outdoor living environments."  We were proud to give the second annual Garden Communicators International award for Earth-friendly Outdoor Living Garden to the Orca Recovery Garden. This garden was a collaboration between the Puget Sound Conservation Districts and Jessi Bloom of NW Bloom-Ecological Services. GardenComm would like to thank to Becky Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs for sponsoring the award.

We planned to get a photograph of our judges with Jessi Bloom and members of the Puget Sound Conservation District Staff, but unfortunately our schedules did not sync up and we had to settle for a photo of our judges with the winning garden. 

I am including the wording directly from the Orca Recovery Garden section on the Northwest Flower & Garden Show website so that you can understand the designers' intent:   

"The Orca Recovery Garden shows how simple actions can have significant impacts that benefit wildlife all the way down the watershed to our iconic Orca. The garden highlights low-impact sustainability practices that are easy to do. These include a rain garden that infiltrates storm water from the landscape and permeable pavers, a compost bin to build healthy soil, re-purposed canoes as raised veggie beds and woody debris that provides multiple benefits such as habitat, retaining and building the soil. Take-home ideas: Small actions can have big impacts. Low-impact design ideas, rain gardens and healthy soil to retain and clean water; natural yard care; soil building and compost techniques, growing food, re-purposed materials."  

I love that the focus of this garden is a small family growing the food they need.
When I first saw this grand garden display I said “Oh I’m so glad Greg Brady finally got his own place.” But honestly, isn’t it wonderful? This is a perfect  Pacific Northwest display. Do you see the backpack with the evergreen branches coming out? That is to represent hiking with a tool to be able to reforest as you move through the wild - fantastic.
Throughout the week, I overheard people loving this canoe and the idea of planting vegetables in a re-purposed vessel.
Our judge, Mark Turner is the author and photographer of Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest, an American Horticultural Society Book Award winner (co-authored with Phyllis Gustafson) and Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest (co-authored with Ellen Kuhlmann). It was incredibly interesting for me to hear Mark name the native trees and plants in this beautiful show garden, why the habit was appropriate for them and where each species thrived in the wild. You can click this link and see a list of the 85 plants used in this spectacular display.

Thank you, GardenComm, for allowing me to judge the show again this year. Erica and Mark are wonderful colleagues. It has been a wonderful year being the Regional Director for AK, ID, MT, OR, WA & WY. 

#GardenComm #NWFGS #springfever #pugetsound #pugetsoundconservationdistricts #conservation 

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