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February 19, 2013


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valerie Easton

Hi Gregory,
Thanks for writing - I did gripe, and I still feel it was a miss not to see vegetables growing in raised beds, have edibles mixed in with ornamentals, show a beautiful backyard potager or herb bed....but thanks for educating me about how many of the plants in your garden were food-producing. It was difficult to get a sense of that from looking at your garden...which I guess was the point, to educate us about different ways to grow food...

Gregory Smaus

Hi Valerie, Since I had a garden in the show; I have been skimming over reviews of the NWFGS. I was surprised to read your gripe #1 about the food. My garden was about 80% edibles, yes we had 4 espaliered pears and some lettuce that did look much better the day after judging however the name of the garden was trying to indicate a deeper look into edible gardening, "A Garden Far, Far Away...An Edible Forest Sanctuary" Clearly I misjudged the delivery somehow since I ended up explaining throughout the show that all of our trees were fruit producing, plus an understory of Blueberry, Huckleberry, Serviceberry, Salal, Mahonia, Creeping Raspberry. All of the plants that were not edible served the "edible forest" as habit plants and/or early blooming plants.
Just thought I'd mention it since you griped;)
Thanks for judging and for the write up of the show. It's always nice to see from different eyes!


Seriously, rhubarb is beautiful, architectural and easy to force. You'd think someone would notice. In my garden I like to let it go to flower, even though it tends to go dormant. Or grow some asparagus into great blowsy clouds for height.


Thank you Valerie for explaining this.
Semantics can be intriguing and a surprising changing topic.
Always intrigued about design and best plant choices for a sustainable garden; that is, one that I can maintain on my own, and at my age. I enjoy your columns and photo depictions of what is old and new.

Logan Bingle

Thanks for this peek into the Flower and Garden show. I can't wait to see it. I cannot make it until Friday. I am glad Riz Reye's won the founder's cup. Hopefully this will give him a much deserved bump in the Washington plants world. He has generously donated time at the Seattle Chinese Garden assisting with the horticultural work and is a great guy.

Valerie Easton

You misunderstood - I was using "plantsman" as a generic term to describe Riz Reye's garden which won the Founder's Cup award
There are a number of Gold Medal awards

Cecilia Kellogg-Kilmer

Hmmmmm; that must be painful for the designer/owner of the First Place award this year ... and for Valerie Easton, who I know must strive for accuracy.
Thank you Susan AuBuchon (could not pinpoint you via Facebook); but found this website:
Is this your business? If Yes, Congratulations.

Susan AuBuchon

Actually the name of the Gold Metal prize is Plantswoman Design, NOT Plantsman. Disappointing mistake for the WOMAN that is the designer/owner of the company.

Loree/danger garden

I second your vote to get rid of the silly themes!!! A dead body and a bloody knife, really? That's just bad.

So glad to hear Riz is getting attention for a plant focused garden...more of this in the future please!

Great review Val!


So agree with your descriptions Val, and yes, so happy for Riz. What a triumph! And what a night. Let the festivities begin.

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Bayview Farm and Garden

Far Reaches Farm

Swansons Nursery

B&D Lilies

Renee's Garden

Dig Nursery

New Book: Petal & Twig

  • Petal & Twig Made The New York Times!
    From Anne Raver's review: "Valerie Easton, a Seattle-based garden writer, discusses the art of growing and arranging cut flowers in “Petal and Twig: Seasonal Bouquets With Blossoms, Branches and Grasses From Your Garden” (Sasquatch Books; $16.95). Written as an informal diary, with photographs of arrangements from her own garden, and tips on cutting and keeping flowers fresh, the book inspires ideas not only on what to grow but on how to combine (or not) those beauties inside. See review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/garden/new-books-on-growing-and-arranging-flowers.html?scp=1&sq=petal%20&%20twig%20anne%20raver&st=cse
  • The first reviews on the new book are in! From Publisher's Weekly:
  • "Open your eyes and keep it simple: those are two lessons Easton passes on from her own 40 years in the garden. When selecting and arranging flowers for bouquets, you needn’t spend a bundle buying a bundle of imported flowers.....The result will be unique, local, imaginative, and inexpensive. Color photos throughout illustrate and inspire."

In the News

  • Montreal Blogger Reviews "A Pattern Garden"
    I was so pleased to find that "A Pattern Garden" is still being reviewed...check out Allan Becker's generous review on his Garden Guru blog.. I felt like Allan really understood what I was working towards in that book....he writes...."There is a delightful abstract quality to this publication. In it, the author takes good garden design to a higher, more spiritual level. Instead of discussing the aesthetic and scientific elements of design, as so many traditional garden design books do, she focuses on the role played in garden design by archetypal ideas - a.k.a. patterns - that reference the longings of human beings. These pleasure and comfort-rooted ideas are those that inspire designers to create gardens that are satisfying beyond their beauty." see more at http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/journal/valerie-easton
  • Planting art
    Check out this interview with Val in the Chicago Tribune on using art in the garden...

The New Low Maintenance Garden

  • Reviews Are In....
    "Over the years, countless books have espoused a low-maintenance approach to gardening. None have been as engaging, practical, or inspiring as this latest of Easton's contributions to the gardener's bookshelf,"
    - Pacific Horticulture magazine, Jan/Feb/Mar 2010

    "A handy guide to a garden you can raise without a corresponding increase in your blood pressure..handsome and informative...."
    - Metropolitan Home, Dec. 2009

    "This book is an invaluable addition to the garden library – destined to be a classic for many years to come."
    - Garden Design Online

Photo Credits

  • The banner and portrait photos were taken by Jacqueline Koch; all other photos by Val Easton unless otherwise credited.


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