Gardens as refuge

By Kym Pokorny

Serenity is hard to come by these days. We’re bombarded from all sides by email, social media, work and family demands and more. Gardens provide refuge, allowing us to unplug and let the stress wash away. Whether we’re hanging out with family and friends or meditating, tranquil spaces are essential, and that has to be planned.

Which is where garden designers come in. You talk, they listen. Pretty soon, they’ll draw out your needs and dreams — sometimes ones you didn’t even know you have.  Is it a walled courtyard full of tropical plants and a bubbling fountain that suits you? A kitchen for entertaining? A putting green maybe? Raised beds for growing the food you eat?

At the Yard, Garden & Patio Show, sponsored by Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping & Garden Centers, Feb. 28 through March 2 at the Oregon Convention Center, you’ll be able to explore your style at the seven Showcase Gardens and several smaller vignettes by members of the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers. Whether it’s waterfalls or secluded spaces, you’ll get all the inspiration you need to bring some serenity into your life via the garden.

Here are some questions to ask as you stroll through the show and meet the designers and builders behind the gardens.

  • How does the process work?
  • Do you specialize in a particular style?
  • Do you have a portfolio I can look at?
  • Can I contact references?
  • What does your garden look like?
  • Do you include installation or do I have to find someone?
  • Does your fee include mileage?

Go armed with pen and paper to jot down notes.  Snap photos of the gardens and pick up brochures. Take breaks every once in awhile to keep from getting overloaded. Listen to music and enjoy a drink at the wine pavilion and beer garden. Or watch well-known local chefs demonstrate the art of cooking. Get more inspiration and rest your feet at one of the many free seminars. And, of course, there’s the shopping. Can’t forget that.