Tony Fajarillo’s show garden at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show is like the mythical phoenix, reborn from ashes into something beautiful. Burned logs stand like totem poles among an oasis of plants, bonsai trees and falling water.
“They’re beautiful. You cannot recreate this by hand,“ he said of the charred logs which rise as high as 18 feet. Fajarillo’s work can be seen through Sunday at the Seattle Convention Center.
The blackened logs, raised vertically, became a central element of the garden design, he said. They are exclamation points around a rusted metal sculpture that drops water into a pool. A Japanese maple and evergreen Pieris japonica take up the corners. Fajarillo, who owns Redwood Builders Landscaping in Maple Valley, salvaged them from a construction site where they otherwise would have been destroyed.
“This is a garden that’s kind of a metaphor for recovery and resilience,” he said.
Fajarillo typically uses bonsai in his designs, and his show garden held several. One, on loan from the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way, stood on a charred wooden plinth. The Japanese black pine was grown from seed by Juzaburo Furuzawa while he was held in a World War II internment camp for Japanese Americans.
The garden won a gold medal from show judges.
Another gold medal-winning garden, designed by show veteran Landon Moore of Nature Perfect Landscaping in Tumwater, is an homage to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania. The garden is designed around a wood-framed greenhouse built by Northwest Green Panels.
A waterfall pours water into the greenhouse where fish can be raised in a tank. That water, which has been enriched with nutrients by the fish, is then used to fertilize plants grown in an aquaponics system. The structure is surrounded by a mix of Northwest native plants and ornamental species punctuated by weathered cedar logs.
“We were going for that real natural look like what the actual Fallingwater house has around it, which is really just a natural wooded landscape,” Moore said.
The garden and greenhouse show that beauty and an eco-friendly design can co-exist, he said.
“Our whole thing is trying to show people what’s possible,” he said. “How beautiful something can really be. That’s why we do this show.”
The show runs through Sunday with 18 show gardens, free seminars, demonstrations and a robust vendor market.
If you go
What: Northwest Flower & Garden Show
Where: Seattle Convention Center, 705 Pike St., Seattle.
When: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Admission: $26 adult, free for children 12 and under.