Local designers impress at Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Local garden designers and businesses once again scored big at the 2011 Northwest Flower & Garden Show in the annual display garden competition at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

This year, 19 large show gardens — chock full of pla

nts, ideas and speed-landscaping feats — competed for honors and fans.

Judges awarded eight gold medals, the top level of general recognition, as well as three silvers, six bronzes and two crystals.

Local designers and businesses behind the gold-winning gardens included Susan Browne Landscape Design of Everett with “Run, Little Pigs, Run;” Christianson’s Nursery of Mount Vernon with “A Day Well Spent;” and Brent Bissell with B. Bissell General Contractor of Snohomish, who teamed up with Seattle designer Karen Stefonick for the upscale “A Wrinkle in Time: Gardens Not Yet Discovered.”

“Once Upon a Time … Spectacular Gardens with Stories to Tell” was this year’s show theme, which inspired garden creators to build one-of-a-kind gardens around whimsical themes of classical and contemporary literature, including fairy tales.

Browne, who used flowers and foliage inspired by the personalities in the “Three Little Pigs,” also won the 2011 Fred Palmer Garden Creators Award, an honor bestowed by the other display garden designers at the show.

Browne teamed up with James Sprague of Bothell-based Fancy Plants Gardens to create vignettes built around a wolf’s den, a house of straw, a house of sticks and a house of bricks.

Stefonick and Bissell won the Founders Cup, a best-in-show award.

This year’s Founder’s Cup is the second in a row for Bissell and Stefonick, of Karen Stefonick Design, formerly of Le Jardin Home & Garden Design.

Their garden featured a large concrete column pergola, a spacious patio and a mysterious crystal ball that appeared to be floating in the center of a reflecting pond.

Christianson’s Nursery was an equally big winner with its garden, which nearly swept the show’s special awards. It claimed the Ethel Moss People’s Choice Award, American Horticultural Society Environment Award, the Seattle Homes & Lifestyles Magazine Award, and the 425 Magazine Award.

John and Toni Christianson, who own the rural nursery, designed “A Day Well Spent” with a wide variety of repurposed materials, including old sheds, concrete blocks and found objects, interspersed artfully with a bounty of organically raised plants.

In the Living It Up, small-space gardening part of the show, Under the Arbor Landscape Design of Edmonds won an award for the best overall design and use of small space.

Judges this year included Northwest garden designer and writer Lucy Hardiman; Panayoti Kelaidis, plant collector and curator of the Denver Botanic Garden; and acclaimed garden author Cole Colston Burrell.

Want to know more?

See the entire list of awards and honors at www.gardenshow.com. Find more photos and gardening stories on The Herald’s gardening blog, www.heraldnet.com/mudraker.

Sarah Jackson: 425-339-3037, sjackson@heraldnet.com.

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