Garden show setup

“The garden looks like it’s been here forever.” But it’s inside a huge warehouse-type building. And the garden is “planted” on a concrete floor, so that’s impossible.

How does the setup for a garden show garden work? And, how long does it take?

dscf0066The garden begins long before the setup in the show hall begins. The design was developed months before, and construction of the larger structures began a month earlier. This story will show the progress from an empty concrete floor to a finished garden. And it’s not entirely accurate to call it a garden. It’s more a landscape, with patios, a fireplace, a stone arch, and water feature.

The “hardscape” elements add structure to the landscape, and in our display the path allows people to stroll through the garden rather than around it.

This display garden was created by Meadows Farms Landscape department for the Capital Home and Garden Show in Chantilly, Virginia in late February. Setup begins Monday afternoon with the show opening Thursday evening.

dscf00651On the first day the garden building, fireplace, and stone arch will be set in place. The fireplace has been constructed of stone and weighs almost two tons. The building has been pre-constructed, then taken apart so it can be moved. The stone arch has been built in three separate pieces, each weighing about a ton. With stone walls and stone paving for patios and paths there are more than twenty five tons of stone in the garden.

The floor of the our garden building will be more than a foot above the concrete floor of the Expo Center, so we will be building a base from concrete blocks and plywood to build our walkways and patios on. It’s important that the base be very stable since many thousands of people will walk through in the next week.

p1010789The larger photos are the finished garden. There are more than a thousand flowering bulbs (dwarf daffodils and hyacinths) and azaleas in the garden. We have three Red Sunset maples (which are not in leaf, unfortunately because they are too tall to force in our greenhouses) and three blooming Snow Fountain weeping cherries, a large weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, seven foot tall Cryptomeria Gyrokuryu, and eight foot tall Mary Nell hollies.

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The water feature above has three basalt crystal boulders, weighing more than a half ton each. 

Work began at 1pm on Monday and was completed at 2:30pm Wednesday, with a little touchup done on Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday we had 15-20 people working to construct the display garden. The show opens Thursday evening, and we hope that lots of people stop by to see us.

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We built a garden building for the garden show with a two sided fireplace. The fireplace is faced with a veneer of North Carolina Chocolate Gray stone with an inset of multicolor slate.

If you’re in the area and see this post before you come out to the show, stop by and say hello. I’ll be there almost the whole time from Thursday evening through Sunday at closing. If you’re interested in the show you can visit their website through this link to the Capital Home Show.

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The arch is more than 10 feet tall, and constructed with Chocolate Gray stone. The red maple just beyond the arch has just the thing to make every garden complete, a flock of blackbirds reminiscient of “The Birds”.

Despite all the effort the garden must be torn out Monday morning. Most of the plants and materials can be reused, and some of the hardscape elements will be recycled for other garden shows later this Spring. It takes almost three days to build the display, but four hours to tear it down and haul it off.

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