Landscaper is back for another run at Northwest Flower & Garden Show

February 7, 2012

By David Hayes

Issaquah Landscaping is back with garden after four-year hiatus

Issaquah Landscaping’s show garden ‘Rhythm and Roots: A Tribute to Bluegrass’ nears completion at the Tacoma Home & Garden Show. By David Rogers

When the economy took a dip, David Rogers took a hiatus from entering his business in the annual Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

“It was nice to get our name out there, but we needed a break,” Rogers said of Issaquah Landscaping.

After four years off, the creativity bug was causing Rogers to itch regarding making a return to the venue renowned for its show gardens. From 2001 to 2005, Issaquah Landscaping won one gold, two silvers and a bronze medal for its creations.

“We could use another gold,” he said.

Participating businesses are given three and a half days to construct a themed show garden at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle to be ready by opening day of the convention Feb. 8. While Rogers enjoys the challenge, he admits the weekend features a huge distraction.

“I always forget it’s Super Bowl weekend,” he said.

Distractions aside, Rogers’ team this year, working from a design by longtime collaborator Susan Browne, constructed “Rhythm and Roots: A Tribute to Bluegrass.” In addition, the timing is perfect seasonally.

“It’s getting exciting this time of year, this close to spring,” he said. “The garden show gives it a feeling of kicking off the whole season. Plus, it gets my guys out there, excited again after a long winter.”

The idea is to showcase a themed layout utilizing native Pacific Northwest plants. Without trucking in actual bluegrass from the state of Kentucky, Rogers went down a more representational route — designing instruments throughout the garden from banjos to harmonicas. To give the design a backwoods feel, there will be a water feature, a metal garden shed representing a cabin in the woods and a huge metal pergola.

If you go

Northwest Flower & Garden Show

  • 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 8-9
  • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 10-11
  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 12
  • Washington State Convention Center
  • $10 adults, $8 seniors (weekdays only for ages 62 and older), 16 and younger free

Some of the native plants Rogers said he used that homeowners can also integrate easily into their own gardens include:

  • Omorika spruce
  • Flowering currant
  • Oregon grape (orange flame)
  • Rainbow lucothe shrubs
  • Deodar cedars (electric blue)

Rogers said he hopes the one element that puts his display over the top is a first for his designs — a live band. The local band Cascade Cutups will play bluegrass music throughout the show, helping transport visitors to another time and place.

While Rogers said he hopes plenty of visitors to the garden show stop by his exhibit, he admits the convention gives him the opportunity to see what others are doing in the business.

“I’m always intrigued by use of water systems,” he said. “Gutters to rain barrels to herb gardens. I love to see the mechanics they use.”

Local participating businesses

“Grunge Garden”

“Grunge Garden” pays homage to Seattle’s music scene of the 1990s, when groups Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Pearl Jam put Seattle on the rock music map again. Shaped to depict a guitar, this garden includes drums (and a drum water feature) and boots from the period. You’ll also see flannel — a wardrobe mainstay for grunge rockers or wannabes.

Adding to the authenticity, the creator reached out for advice from members of the famed Northwest band Everclear. This garden is a memorial to a time that has passed us all by but that we can fondly remember.

“Here Comes the Sun” Design-a-Garden

The first-ever “Design-A-Garden” process is a collaboration between visitors to the show’s website, Seattle’s Swansons Nursery, veteran garden creator Lloyd Glasscock, of Looking Glass Design, and Show Designer Cyle Eldred. For several months before the show, readers selected the garden theme (The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun”) and helped select materials, art, furniture and plantings, and other components through online voting.

It includes a large central patio using Montana bronze flagstone and sockeye quartzite flagstone, a backdrop of sheltering trees, celadon containers overflowing with plants and studio art glass pieces interspersed among the garden features.

David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, or Comment at

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