Champs of the garden

  • By Sarah Jackson
  • Monday, February 28, 2011 2:15pm
  • Life

Today we have the full results from the show garden judging at the 2011 Northwest Flower & Garden Show, which concluded its spectacular five-day run Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

(By the way: Did you go to the sho

w? What was your favorite garden? Need a distraction? Visit our Flickr photostream to see almost all of the show gardens in their full glory.)

Many local garden design and installation professionals were among the top winners in the display garden competition, which involved 19 large gardens chock full of plants, flowers, fresh ideas and speed-landscaping feats.

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 Contractors of Snohomish, who teamed up with Bothell-based 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 their one-of-a-kind spaces around whimsical themes of classical and contemporary literature, including numerous fairy tales.

Browne, who used flowers and foliage inspired by the personalities of the characters 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 a dark and spooky wolf’s den surrounded by prickly plants such as barberry and mahonia. The house of straw was circled by brightly colored gerber daisies; the house of sticks was made of maple and alder twined together; and the house of bricks was tidy with soldier-straight rows of hedges and primroses.

Stefonick and Bissell, meanwhile, also won the Founders Cup, a best-in-show award, given by the judges.

This year the judges were Northwest garden designer and writer Lucy Hardiman; Panayoti Kelaidis, a plant collector and curator of the Denver Botanic Garden; and acclaimed garden author Cole Colston Burrell.

The 2011 founder’s cup honor is the second in a row for Bissell and Karen Stefonick Design, formerly known as Le Jardin Home & Garden Design.

“It blew me away. I was very surprised,” said Stefonick, who talked briefly with the judges about her garden. “They told me the thing they liked the most was the restraint that was used. It wasn’t something that was over the top.

Stefonick’s 2011 garden included a large concrete-column pergola, an elegant paver patio, dramatic lighting, metal sculptures and a mysterious-looking crystal ball that appeared to be floating in the center of a large reflecting pond.

John and Toni Christianson, owners of Christianson Nursery were equally big winners at this year’s show with their garden, which took nearly all of the show’s other special awards, including the Ethel Moss People’s Choice Award, the American Horticultural Society’s environment award, the Seattle Homes & Lifestyles magazine award and the 425 Magazine award.

Their charming and old-fashioned escape featured recycled and repurposed materials, including old sheds, concrete pavers and found objects, all interspersed artfully with a organically raised plants, flowers and trees.

Meanwhile, 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.

Want to know more about the show garden awards? See the entire list of honorees here.

Before you do, however, tell us which garden was your favorite in our handy-dandy poll below, or comment below: Did you agree with the judges’ decisions?

Which display garden at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show did you like best?online survey

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