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Grow Down 2015 at Tucson Botanical Gardens

March 24, 2015 2 Comments

Then Grow Down event is a competition held in the spring each year at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  This year the designers created spaces featuring native plants coordinated with metal, wood, stone, bamboo, brick, and glass.  I liked all of them, but my favorite one was the most stark.  The copper background wall sets off the large rain chain designed with metal bowls and colored glass sitting in the center of the garden.  This installation won no prize, probably because there was no seating provided.  The other two entries gave the visitor a feeling of private seating in an outdoor room.  The winner has a wonderful water feature that circulates around the space creating a rushing liquid sound.

The third design used a theme of feng shui.  The bamboo divider functions as a wind chime as well as a privacy veil.  The seating is cozy around the artful floor with a stone compass made of rounded pebbles.  This design felt the most personal to me.  It won the people’s choice award.

These contests give gardeners ideas to try ourselves, and introduce us to local landscape designers we can hire when we want something special.   The entries this year were less elaborate than in the past, but to my taste they were more artful.  They all bring new ways to think about garden spaces that are easy to execute, and not too wildly expensive for a home gardener.

Grow Down at Tucson Botanical Gardens

March 25, 2014 1 Comment

The second annual Grow Down competition was held over the weekend.  Three designers had three days to complete an example of landscape design for our climate and region. Metal was the trending darling material, and chickens won the prize.  I liked all of them very much, but the winner featured shade for the chickens in the coop, but none for the people.  This year they added a feature I think is important to the viewing audience.  Competitors are allowed to ask for donations from suppliers.  The one who hustles up the most donations naturally wins.  This happened last year as well.  Now they make a note of the cost of materials only.  The winner had a materials budget about 30% higher than the other two competitors.  They all showed ingenuity and style.  It is a wonderful way to check out new ideas to incorporate into our own gardens.

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