Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2011

Last weekend was the large Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. Running for four days, the show’s theme this year was Once Upon A Time…spectacular gardens with stories to tell. The show consisted of a large show garden area with over 20 individual gardens, a container garden display with over a dozen displays and funky junk gardens which are created by high school classes using reused materials. This year a high school senior had a full show garden display featuring reused materials called Paradise (to be) Regained, which was very impressive. While wildlife habitat is not often prominent in these shows, this year there was at least one seminar about backyard wildlife habitat and another about designing for pollinators. There was also a large marketplace which included many…

Continue reading →

A Tale of Two Courtyards

These two courtyards are in my neighborhood in Seattle and present dramatically different landscapes. One is in the center of a U-shaped, tall building and faces north while the other is a short building with an L-shaped courtyard and opens NW. The first one has minimal trees, only small ones in the courtyard and entrance while the second has large trees that cast heavy shadows over much of the courtyard. The first is full of flowers, some native plants and some minimal structural plants of hedge-type plantings. It’s a really lovely space that most people may miss because it’s elevated from the street level. The second courtyard is also elevated, with a locked gate, but it’s not at all lovely. It seems very barren, with only a few varieties of plants, nothing of color and most the plants are heavily trimmed.

From a design perspective there’s no competition, the first…

Continue reading →

Seattle’s Green Factor

The 2010 WASLA awards were recently announced and winning a Merit Award for Research and Communication was a report by The Berger Partnership titled Functiontal Landscapes – Assessing Elements of Seattle’s Green Factor (PDF). The report graphically shows the benefits of the Green Factor program with in-depth looks at each category. The report is well done and the graphic elements explain the program better than the City of Seattle’s Green Factor website does. Here is a brief description of the Green Factor from the City of Seattle website:

The Green Factor is a landscape requirement designed to increase the quantity and quality of planted areas in Seattle while allowing flexibility for developers and designers to meet development standards. It currently applies to new development in commercial and neighborhood commercial zones outside of downtown, and is proposed for multifamily residential zones and  the…

Continue reading →