Arboretum Display Garden
February 5 to 9, 2014
Washington State Convention Center, Seattle
Each year the Arboretum Foundation, with support from its City and University partners at the Arboretum, presents a horticultural display at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
The Garden of Artful Delights
Homage to the Art and Garden of Ginny Ruffner
The theme of the 2014 Garden Show was “Art in Bloom,” and for its display garden this year, the Arboretum was delighted to be teaming up with renowned Seattle-based glass artist Ginny Ruffner. Our display paid homage to Ginny’s home/studio garden in Ballard—an exuberant courtyard garden filled with interesting plants and wonderful, playful art works. It won a Silver Award from the Garden Show judges, plus the South Sound Magazine Editor’s Choice Award.
When the Arboretum staff first learned about the “Art in Bloom” theme, we knew right away that we wanted to collaborate with an artist who worked in glass. The Arboretum is a cultural landmark in Seattle, and by the same token, glass art is uniquely represented in our city and region. We were very excited to be working with Ginny Ruffner, whose sparkling heart-of-the-city garden is a perfect complement to the urban “jewel” that is Washington Park Arboretum.
About Ginny Ruffner: Ginny is a creative pioneer whose work spans many different media, from sculpture to painting to pop-up books. Her glass sculptures helped create the field of touch-worked glass art, and her work is housed in permanent collections in more than 40 museums around the world. Many Seattleites are familiar with her colorful “Urban Garden,” a giant, metal flowerpot and flower sculpture on the corner of Seventh and Union, outside the Sheraton Hotel.
Original glass art/Museum of Glass: The artwork in the display garden was a mix of pieces from Ginny’s home garden/studio plus new work that she created in early January as Visiting Artist in Residence at the Museum of Glass, in Tacoma. Luminous glass flowers, balls, and other sculptures ornamented the display and complemented colorful, textural, and fragrant plants to create a sensory feast for Garden Show visitors.
Facebook photos: See photos of Ginny creating the new glass art.
Garden description: A brick wall with mirrored windows anchored the display, and an arbor with bark-clad log columns attached to the wall and provided support for flowering vines and other plants. Sitting areas tucked in among plants and art created a sense of cozy enclosure. Three screens mounted with glass balls enhanced the feeling of privacy and enclosure.
As with the artwork, the plants echoed those found in Ginny’s home garden. Japanese maples, Azara, and tree ferns created a tapestry of foliage and provided contrast with the glass art. Sweet fragrances from the flowers of Sarcococca, Azara, Daphne, and Clematis perfumed the air.
This year’s design team was Bob Lilly, Phil Wood, and Rhonda Bush, who all worked on last year’s multiple-award-winning hobbit-themed display.
Selected Plant Profiles: See photos and short profiles of some of the lovely plants in this year’s Arboretum display garden.
Interested in Volunteering?
If you’d like to help out with the display garden, please email our Volunteer Resources Manager Megan Meyer or call her at 206-325-4510.
“Birdsong”—The 2012 Display
For its exhibit in the 2012 show, the Arboretum joined forces with the Seattle Audubon Society, a non-profit organization working to protect regional birds and nature through conservation advocacy. Entitled “Birdsong,” the display educated viewers about some of the beautiful bird habitats and bird species found in the Arboretum’s 230 acres. The garden won three top awards at the Show: a judges’ Gold Medal, the Pacific Horticultural Society Award, and the American Horticultural Society Environment Award. A special online “Bird of the Arboretum” encyclopedia allowed Show visitors to access detailed information about the habitat needs of each of the featured birds in the garden. See photos of the garden on the Foundation’s Facebook page.
Photos of Recent Arboretum Displays