Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

Nancy Claire Guth “Electro Cute” at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show February 20, 2013

February 2013 Nancy Claire Guth NWFGS Display

Some designers are truly gifted at bringing creative ideas to life. Other designers are good at running a business and creating a loyal following of clients. Its uncommon in my experience to find both in one person. But, now I have found both in my new friend and colleague Nancy Claire Guth of Artistic Garden Concepts.

This year Nancy has created a Small Space garden featured on the sky-bridge at the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show.  Her inspiration for this design began by upcycling a whole bunch of electric themed parts and other found objects, which is Nancy’s signature design secret. Clients will frequently ask for one of a kind, funky treasures to be featured in her design and she is more than happy to accommodate those requests. I am in awe of anyone who can take an old radiator heater and think to create a bench seat!! :-)

February 2011 NWFGS 434

In years past she has been a creator of a number of the large scale award winning gardens like this amazing Rain Garden at the 2011 NWFGS. Here is a cute video of Nancy Claire Guth being interviewed by Marianne Binetti at the show describing her amazing garden concept.

Join us at the show this year and see all of the amazing ideas that Nancy has included in her design for this year up close and personal. There are details on top of details that are SO crafty and creative. It will make you want to go find some treasure of your own to upcycle! Follow Nancy Claire Guth’s Artistic Garden Concepts page on Facebook too!

For more ideas, photos and general ogling of ALL of the details at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, follow me on Facebook at The Personal Garden Coach. I will be covering the WHOLE show!

 

Portland’s Yard Garden and Patio Show- Best of the Upcycled! February 18, 2013

Best of

 

Snippets of Foliage and Winter Garden Art January 15, 2013

Making good use of January indoor time is important to me as a gardener. I like the creative momentum that builds up after the fall garden clean up is over, the holiday distractions are finished and I’m really ready to get going on something nature oriented. Ogling the seed catalogs and various juicy pictorial based websites are the creative outlets I rely when digging or designing are not a palatable option. But, it’s still not actively DOING something, or CREATING and THAT is what energizes me.

So, I went out into the garden and took little snippets and bits of plants that were looking lovely and decided to have fun with them. I played Portrait Studio! I did this once a few years back when I entered the Gardening Gone Wild Photo Contest and learned an invaluable little photo trick from David Perry, one of my photography idols.

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I had loads of fun creating these foliage based shots (no blooms here just yet). I hope YOU enjoy them too! :-)

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This was a sampling of one style of the artwork I created over the weekend, I’m saving the rest for later. Now, to figure out what  else is going to keep me busy for a while…. Oh ya, I have a book coming out soon!!! :-)

 

Garden Designers Roundtable – Finer Points of Details in the Garden September 25, 2012

As the sign of the Virgo, my detail-oriented nature is ruled by the mind. Virgos are always analyzing everything, with a penchant for working with very precise and detailed designs on a more focused scale than many signs. I notice everything- when it comes to the garden. In that way, I’m the classic definition of a Virgo, the love of fine points, minutiae, particulars, specifics and technicalities.

I think that’s one reason why I love photographing the garden so much. To me it’s really all about the details. It allows another type of focus that you don’t get when you’re purely experiencing the garden with touch, smell, taste and sounds.

Today, I’ve rounded up a group of fabulous recent pictures that help you understand how I see the details at this late summer/early autumn season. ENJOY!

The angle of the evening light coming through this Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Quickfire’ is exquisite.

A singular Coreopsis ‘Big Bang Solar Cluster’ nestled in this ‘Cirrus’ Artemisia with a bit of ‘Rainbow’ Leucothoe is magical.

Blink and you would miss them!

Tree jewelry? Now THAT’S detailed!!

Taking advantage of the reflection!

The almost clockwise swirrel of the petals on this Echinacea are mesmerizing!

Such architecture in a seed head!

Magnificent view, and magnificent rose right under my nose!

Rhythm in the grasses……

An unexpected giggle that catches you by surprise is always a treat.

This container design shows it’s jaunty nature with it’s offset beret of Acorus grass planted askew and Mexican Feather Grass below that mimics the fun.
Also notice how the Poppy seed pods imitate the bumps on the container at the same level too.

A true detail after my own heart. I’m dying to make one of these someday.

Not only a monochromatic color combination, one of my favorite things, but a textural contrast too- BONUS!

This picture represents the realization that this color combination illustrates ALL of the favorite colors of my living room decor. Now THAT is detailed. :-)

Be sure to visit the other Lords and Ladies of the Garden Designers Roundtable for September to see how they interpret the details. :-)

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

 

Steel, Rock and Sedum Focal Point April 3, 2012

This little vignette at a client’s home pleased me to no end on this lovely spring day and I just wanted to share this with you. I thought it illustrated a couple of cool things.

1) My client bought this steel pot because she simply fell in love with it and HAD to have it. I can totally understand this, I would too!
It’s common in my line of work that I’m the one that has to figure out where and how to fit this new thing of passion into a particular garden design. My homework assignment to the client was to find a great rock to pair with the container and help balance the scene. Since the homeowner’s son is very helpful in the garden he took the rock task on. And THIS is the fantastic rock that he chose. So much subtlety, elegance and geometry. It perfectly fit my vision for the spot! 

2) One of the great things about Personal Garden Coaching that I LOVE is that I get to encourage homeowners to do what they already wanted to do by their own natural instincts….take down a tree, move a shrub, throw away bad plants.  But the best times are when I give the client permission to have fun with it, be creative, and they do! I think nature is so much more a part of us than we give her a chance to be and when we let ourselves be open to it, such amazing thing can happen. When gardener’s open up to being creative and have fun with it, they free up themselves to not need so much permission to try new things in other areas of life. 

This rock might not look that exciting, but to me, it means SO much more than just a piece in the garden.

 

String Gardens and Terrariums Win Crowds at Philly Flower Show March 22, 2012

This jaded, cynical designer has a short attention span for the same old same old. I am frequently yearning to see something new and inspirational in the world of gardening. So, one of the things I look for when I spend time at a large garden show like the Philadelphia Flower Show is a creative new discovery. I was fortunate to have stumbled on more than one AND HOW, at this show!

The “String Garden” or “Kokedama” was one of the hottest  trends that I saw at the show. To be accurate, anything you could hang with a plant and a string was HOT!

One fantastic vendor, City Planter is a very popular urban garden store in Philadelphia. They had a funky booth selling this latest whimsical trend among many others that made them a hot destination at this impressive 10 acre sized show.

The City Planter shop featured these stylish string gardens for customers to see right out at eye level. Essentially, these are a moss ball with a simple single plant featured on top and wrapped to hold together with fishing line or wire then simply suspended with a strand of string. I’ve seen them hung from jute twine, wire or a waxed twine as well.

Plants options in the string gardens were varied to accommodate your light and moisture requirements, from succulents and herbs to ferns and polka-dot plants. If you would like to see a demonstration of how these are made, this post has some great directions.

String Gardens were originally brought to us by Dutch artist Fedor Van der Valk. You can read more about the artist and see some fantastic photos of his creative suspended gardens in 2 articles from Garden Design Magazine written by Claire Lui. The first article posted in January of this year and then highlights posted again here in March 2012.

I was impressed at how varied the options were in the plants that they were offering in the string gardens. String Gardens are a fun and creative option for a plant craft to try that won’t cost a fortune. Imagine the possibilities of plants that you could try!

This popular show shop also offered some of the most sophisticated little glass terrariums I’ve ever seen. A rectangular glass box with an opening at the top for planting and a tiny hole in back to hang from a nail. They had added some decorative rock in showy layers, some ornamental moss and a few air plants, voila! Any beginning gardener could easily keep this alive and in style too.

Also among the fashionable offerings from City Planter were the extremely popular Moss Rocks by David Spain, as seen on Martha Stewart recently. Irregularly shaped, small ceramic rock shapes, glazed in trendy colors, sport a little tuffet of moss on top like a miniature crew cut. These charming, colorful living sculptures are an adorable little bit of Zen for your desk, counter top and coffee table.

Chive.com offered a beautiful and sophisticated booth featuring simple design that shows off the beauty of the flower. Hanging vases on a string were a very popular item as well as the ceramic 60’s style throwback hanging vases.

Cloches were also everywhere at the show, next to Terrariums these were one of the trends at the show that would draw the most passionate response that I would over hear from attendees. Cloches are easy to create and change a look on a table top in moments on a whim.

This lovely little cloche display was on only a small part of the charming and popular shop at the Philly Flower Show set up by Jerry Fritz and his team from Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, Pennsylvania.

Possibly one of my favorite finds at the whole Philly Flower Show however was the booth from Twig Terrariums. They not only had the String Gardens but the Terrariums and Miniatures were literally the ONLY ones in the whole market/vendor portion of the show and they were simply WOW!

Each little world was depicting actions and characters not only in a terrarium environment, but in a completely new, contemporary light. I have truly never seen anything like it. It was enchanting to say the least. I’m not sure the pictures do it justice. Yes, I LOVED them THAT much. :-) If you want to read a great book about Terrariums, this one is beautiful!

Small wonders were abundant at this ginormous show in the unusually warm spring of 2012. Even this old designer found out that there really ARE new things out there that still make this gardener’s heart flutter. :-)

 

2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show Goes Hawaiian March 16, 2012

Recently I was extremely fortunate to be invited to work at a good friends vendor booth in the 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show. In the off-season of nursery and landscape design work, this was a fabulous bit of good fortune! My friend Barbara Sanderson, owner and artist at Glass Gardens NW sells her glass garden art all over the country and this show was a HUGE opportunity to show off her glass to another sector of the market. So, I took this fortuitous moment to blog about the show for those of you around the country who might not be able to go to such a remarkable event. This will be the first of a few different posts covering the show.

The largest indoor flower show in the world blooms in Philadelphia every March at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The country’s premier landscape designers and florists are featured and turn 10 acres of exhibit space into a floral fantasy world with exotic plants and eclectic designs.

The economic impact of the Philadelphia International Flower Show extends much longer than the eight-day event and far beyond the walls of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

  • $61 million economic impact
  • The equivalent of 637 full-time jobs
  • $8 million in city, state and federal tax revenue
  • 25,000 hotel room nights

The Philadelphia International Flower Show has been a Philadelphia tradition since 1829. The Show has evolved from a gathering of professional growers showcasing their prized plants to the largest and oldest indoor flower show in the nation. Revenues generated by the Philadelphia Flower Show help support the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s outreach program Philadelphia Green. The program provides technical support and encouragement to thousands of residents, community groups, and public and private agencies who work together to transform Philadelphia’s communities and public landscapes into vibrant green spaces.

More than 150 vendors, from across the United States and as far away as the country of Wales, sell plants, flowers, orchids, sheds (even a small barn!), floral-inspired furniture from the romantic to the practical, artwork, unique food and garden-related crafts and supplies.

Growers and horticulturists from around the world showcase their prized plants and compete for prestigious honors.  More than 580 artistic and horticultural classes are exhibited with more than 2,000 entries in classes ranging from miniature settings to pressed plants.

There is no way I could possibly do justice to the show in one post, so I made this fun video. It’s my first time making a video like this- I had a blast! I hope you get a wee little taste of what some of the show was like. I have huge quantities of pics still to share over the coming weeks.

Since it’s unseasonably warm in many parts of the country, you may already have Spring, for those of us in the cold areas like Seattle, this is a bit of a tropical respite from our rain, hail, snow, rain, hail snow scenario!  Let’s all raise a glass to toast to the beginning of Spring. Cheers!

 

Glass + Art = Landscape Jewelry February 26, 2012

Art in the garden is just one way to express your own statement of style and personality. As a designer who is like a cat attracted to shiny objects, glass is very difficult for me to resist. Many of my clients have budding collections of glass garden art and I have to admit my jealousy. I endeavor to have my own collection someday too. :-)

Luckily for me, I have a friend, Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens NW and she graciously allows me to have fun designing with her glass frequently. Barbara’s art has been recognized across the country in magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens and Fine Gardening, blogs and at large shows across the country including the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

This year at the 2012 Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Barbara created a custom design for an award winning display garden, created by Sublime Garden Design where she made a flickering glass fire, one of the focal point pieces in the display. They were gorgeous!! I could see those in someones home where a real fire might not be feasible, but the ambiance is desired.

Here is what it looked like in the display- very elegant!

The Glass Gardens NW booth was bedecked in garden jewelry! Here are some pictures of what was being snapped up during the four day extravaganza where gardens and art collide.

Glass Flowers

Glass Flowers

Icicles lit up from within and Glass Leaves

Truly Garden Jewelry! Water Features- SO pretty

Birdbaths, Flowers and Water Features

HOT sellers- Birds and Cattails!

Containers designed by The Personal Garden Coach with Glacicles and Leaves

Below is a slide showing the “Fiddlesticks” that are so popular for Glass Gardens NW in a container that I designed.

Fiddlesticks in Spring fresh colors!

Here is a peak at some glass art from Glass Gardens NW in containers by The Personal Garden Coach. :-)

Left is a brand new design for 2012 "Glacicles"

Colorful glass leaves!

 

Glacicles in the snow!!

Now THAT is some winter color!

 

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of Garden Jewelry, for more information, you can also reach Glass Gardens NW via Facebook too. Go “LIKE” the page!  Be sure to look for more great Garden Art ideas coming soon from my visit to the Philadelphia Flower and Garden Show!

 

 

Snippets of a Winter Garden Under Glass January 30, 2012

Heuchera, Heucherella, Pansy and Viola

 

Ice as Garden Art in the Landscape January 26, 2012

Recently our La Nina winter proved its muscle in a move that took many of us by surprise. We went from utterly spring weather with the landscape feeling as if it is about to burst to life, to snow, power outages, an amazing ice storm that no one saw coming and then a wind storm.

Below is a sampling of some of the best images I captured over the three-day period. There are a few neat before and after shots so you can see the morphing of the landscape the way I did. I saw the ice as such beautiful nature made art. I hope you enjoy these shots as much as I had fun getting them!

Gold Ilex Crenata

 

One of the many ponds in my neighborhood the day of the ice storm.

 

The same pond the day after the ice storm.

 

Viburnum Davidii

 

'Thunderhead' Pine

 

Red Twig Dogwood

 

Blue Oat Grass

 

Miscanthus Sinensis 'Morning Light'

 

Gold Variegated Yucca

 

Euphorbia 'Glacier Blue' the day before the ice storm

 

Same Euphorbia 'Glacier Blue' the day of the ice storm

 

Heuchera 'Purple Ruffles' in a bronze container

 

Gold glass art with bird in front of a 'Gold Thread' Cypress

If you saw the garden today, with a few exceptions, it’s as if the whole storm never happened. Isn’t Mother Nature grand? :-)

 

 
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