Arboretum Display Garden
February 7 to 11, 2018
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.
To mark the reunion of the Seattle Japanese Garden with its original support partner, the Arboretum Foundation, the 2017 Arboretum display garden had a Japanese theme. The design was inspired by a traditional, 1920s Japanese farmhouse (minka) and garden, depicted during hanami, the annual spring viewing of the cherry blossoms.
The display was awarded a Gold Medal by the Show judges! We also won the Garden Design Magazine Award for showcasing “innovative design, horticultural acuity, and inventive productivity.”
The setting was tranquil, informal, and understated—as a working farm would be—with a small entry garden blooming at the height of the cherry color display. As is customary during hanami, mats were laid out beneath the trees so that family and friends could gather to spend the day relaxing, picnicking, and singing. In addition to flowering cherries, the display garden featured some traditional Japanese flowering shrubs. A blanket of moss knit the plantings together.
Hanami—Savoring Spring attempted to capture the design and spirit of a rural domestic scene in a miniature space. The display also had a timeless quality—because it captured a scene that would have changed little across centuries of Japanese history. Hanami is a unique nationwide custom of Japan, welcoming the new season. Think of it as a combination of the lively celebrations Americans have during New Year’s and 4th of July.
Our traditional rustic farmhouse had a steep-pitched, thatched roof typical of those in Japan. Also visible were art objects such as baskets, picnic items, a deer chaser, tea implements, and a bamboo fence.
Gardeners looking for ideas for their homes were able to see how you can expand a small space with a variety of traditional Japanese-gardening techniques, such as the use of moss, different paving textures underfoot, and shifting focal points. The display demonstrated that many of the elements of a traditional Japanese garden—from stone arrangements to water (whether real or metaphorical)—can be incorporated into a small home garden
Read short profiles of some of the beautiful plants featured in this year’s Arboretum display garden, including the flowering cherry Prunus serrulata ‘Mt. Fuji’, Japanese pieris, and the Japanese holly Ilex crenata ‘Convexa’. Our plant profile page also has links to more information about Hanami and minka architecture. READ MORE.
For the eight year in a row, renowned local plantsman Bob Lilly and award-winning designer Phil Wood created our display garden. They were joined by Seattle architect Roger Williams.
If you’d like to help with the display garden build or take down, or if you’d like to act as a docent, please email email@example.com or call 206-325-4510.
Photos of Past Arboretum Displays