Created by the Fancy Fronds Nursery in Gold Bar, a New York themed "Catio," a patio designed specifically for cats, is seen at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle on Tuesday. Designed by Fancy Fronds Nursery’s Felix Jones and Joshua Bathke, the booth features a custom-built containment fence, a filtered drinking area and various plants selected by the creators to be harmless for cats.

Gold Bar nursery’s ‘catio’ and more at Flower and Garden Show

  • By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, February 16, 2016 5:19pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

SEATTLE — This year’s Northwest Flower and Garden Show is displayed through Sunday at the Convention Center with the theme of “America the Beautiful: Celebrating America’s National Parks and Landmarks.”

Fancy Fronds of Gold Bar went with the landmarks part of the theme to produce its show garden, “New York, New York: Cat Pads! On Broadway,” a Manhattan apartment patio that’s great for cats.

The “catio” was designed and built by Fancy Fronds owner Judith Jones, her son Felix Jones and his partner Joshua Bathke.

The display garden is inspired by Andrew Lloyd Weber’s long-running Broadway musical, “Cats,” and includes Big Apple landmarks such as a cat-scale Brooklyn Bridge.

This fun and beautiful cat haven incorporates ornamentals and perennials that aren’t toxic to cats. Most are plants that cats enjoy, including catnip, catmint and ornamental and edible grasses. Roses, abutilons, cat-safe palms and ferns add structure to the small garden, as do its rustic furniture and fence perches.

“If you live in an apartment, you want your cats to have something to do so they don’t rip your place apart,” Judith Jones said. “It’s an affordable garden and would provide lots of entertainment as your cats play. I hope it will provide lots of ideas for people.”

Jones began growing ferns in the early 1970s in Seattle.

“It was a hobby that soon got out of control,” she said.

Jones registered her business in 1977 and then moved to five acres near Gold Bar in 1995. She has named and introduced several new cultivars of ferns, and is considered by many gardeners in the region to be a leading expert on the identification of temperate fern species.

She’s been involved with the Northwest Flower and Garden Show since its debut in 1989. Jones has lectured at the show, helped nonprofit garden volunteers with their displays and had her own show garden a few times.

“I love the garden show,” Jones said. “I love seeing people get into growing their own food. I love it when people do with their gardens what makes them happy. Who cares what other people think? Have fun.”

Her son, Felix, grew up helping with Fancy Fronds.

“He was a nursery kid. Felix was in fifth grade when we moved to Gold Bar. He’s been my right-hand man ever since,” Jones said. “I am so impressed with his work on this garden.”

Fancy Fronds is primarily a mail-order nursery that specializes in temperate ferns, with more than 100 species cultivars in its commercial collection.

Other local businesses among the 20 dosplay gardens this year include Dakara Landscape Design of Edmonds, Susan Browne Landscape Design of Everett and Fancy Plants Gardens of Bothell.

Dakara’s “Park it in Your Own Backyard” garden is set in the foothills near Mount Rainier and features a cozy patio with a pagoda, waterfall features and a Subaru to take to the national park. Garden ideas include the use of native plants.

Browne’s “From Sea to Shining Sea: Nantucket, Massachusetts” and Fancy Plants’ “From Sea to Shining Sea: Coupeville, Washington” are collaborative gardens.

Nantucket is celebrated with a weather-worn cottage surrounded by a traditional garden. Its patriotic red, white and blue color theme is executed in repeated pattern plantings of boxwood, hydrangeas and yews. A patterned brick walkway creates courtyard.

The Coupeville garden celebrates the state’s oldest town with a depiction of the historic Blue Goose Inn Bed &Breakfast, including its pink-with-blue-trim exterior. Metal sculptures of wildlife dot the garden of hardy, low-maintenance plants.

People who attend the Flower and Garden Show can try regional wines, craft beers and cocktails along with a sample of regional foods.

The show’s 350 Marketplace vendors offer great shopping for gardeners of all sorts. Among those vendors are Pine Creek Farms and Nursery from Monroe and No Junk in My Trunk and Remaking good Ole Memories, both from Arlington.

The line-up of expert speakers for this year’s show is exceptional, and the schedule is available at

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427;

If you go

Northwest Flower &Garden Show runs through Feb. 21 at the Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place, downtown Seattle. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. More information is available at Also, see Price is $22, $5 for teens and free for children.

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