The Zodiac Gardens -- the centerpiece of this year's 25 Andersen Windows Showcase Gardens at the 2005 Portland Home & Garden Show(R) -- are 12 gardens representing the zodiac. Each has been designed by a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) using, as a starting point, the trees and flowering plants commonly associated with each zodiac sign. Other elements associated with each sign are also woven into each garden theme. Under the creative eye of the APLD designers, these elements come together in a tour d' force of higher powers.
Planting according to the constellations, or seasons, is an age-old practice. For centuries our ancestors studied the earth, the stars, and everything around them, intertwining nature with the human psyche, all aimed at improved physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Today, the top landscape artists have converged to bring the heavens to earth in 12 stunning interpretations of the star signs.
"The therapeutic benefits of peaceful garden environments have been understood since ancient times," explained Michael O'Loughlin, show manager and producer of the 2005 Portland Home & Garden Show. "According to the American Horticulture Therapy Association, 'a special relationship occurs when people nurture plants, which makes gardening a very therapeutic activity. Enjoying the outdoors, getting your fingers dirty, and seeing the rewards of something beautiful you've tended can be very stress-reducing in our hectic lives.' With that in mind, we wanted to give consumers tangible and beautiful examples of how they can use the ancient star signs in their yards."
Much like the Western adoption of Chinese "Feng Shui" to create harmony in personal spaces, across the U.S., use of astrology is gaining renewed popularity as a means to capture nature's innate, positive energy. To that end, the question looms: Will Zodiac Gardens be the next trend in the U.S.?
More than just the daily horoscope in the local newspaper, astrology is based on a map of the heavenly bodies depicting the positions of the planets and their relation to one another at the time of birth. Astrology also shows the sign of the zodiac and the stars positioned in the 12 houses of the chart. The APLD landscape artists will interpret these signs into gardens that can be imagined in homes across America.
"The challenge for our designers with these zodiac gardens has been to not only weave the essential elements of each sign into the design, but to also give the garden an overall theme that matches the spirit of the sign itself," notes APLD president Carolyn Gregg, who, with her partner Christine Ellis, has created a double garden for Aries and Taurus titled "On the Cusp." "Ariens prefer things to be orderly and precise while Taureans like to collect things," Gregg says.
"So our garden goes from being very clean and neat (the Aries side) to gradually becoming cluttered with interesting stuff (the Taurus side). In the middle we play with a kind of point-counterpoint treatment of our cusp theme: an interesting collection of balls for Taurus the collector is offset by two-foot round grass circles on the Aries side."
Mary McGilvra's Gemini garden, on the other hand, plays off the duality of the sign of the heavenly twins. Using corrugated steel and bamboo, McGilvra creates an interplay of opposing forces: masculine and feminine, soft and hard, air and ground, etc. And, Barbara Hilty's interpretation of Virgo is themed around what she sees as a key feature of Virgo's personality: shyness. The garden is viewed indirectly by looking through a window.
The zodiac gardens are arranged in a chronological circle of the astrological year, beginning with Aries and ending with Pisces. This results in symmetry of color and balance suggestive of the unifying nature of the 12 signs. "When you take all the characteristics of the 12 signs together, you get a pretty complete picture of the human condition," Gregg comments. "We see these 12 gardens as symbolic of the unity of mankind seen through the filter of thousands of years of astrological interpretation. It's a marvelous picture when you express it with plants." To learn what associations go with your sign, go to www.zodiacgardens.com
presented by Gregg & Ellis Landscape Designs
This garden is a dual effort of two of the past gold medal winning designers. They blend the elements of both Taurus and Aries in a design that is truly On the Cusp. See the Taurus garden for a complete description.
presented by Gregg & Ellis Landscape Designs
This Aries/Taurus garden combines space that has adventurous modern aspects for the Aries with soft comfortable curves for the Taurus.
A Taurus personality is a collector, one who digs in and is reluctant to change, one who enjoys a comfy, secure enclave for retreat. Thus, the Taurean part of the garden is somewhat secluded, has a collection of garden balls, and has container plants that want to root in, establish their domain and never go away.
An Aries personality is direct and to the point, adventurous and pioneering, and wants to be in front of the crowd. The Aries garden side has manicured grass rounds to harmonize with its Taurus mate's collection of balls, but without clutter. The arbor and fence are unique; they stand out from neighboring gardens. The reflecting wall is also a part of the pioneering personality, but also serves to bring the garden back into itself for the comfort of the Taurus.
The small water feature represents horns the signs share. The red and pink Plexiglas fence and arbor combine the colors of the two signs.
presented by McGilvra Design Landscape & Architecture
Gemini, the ultimate air sign, represents duality, energy, independence, communication, and the intellect. The Twins’ plants are lavender, witch hazel, lily-of-the-valley, and ferns of all kinds. There is a special connection to yellows and purples.
Here is a garden containing opposites, pairs, and contrasts. Bamboo is for airiness, soft and feminine, the mysterious waiting to unfold, yet strong and tenacious. Metal a masculine strength, for energy, hard cold reality - yet providing containers to enclose and hold. Water is for the intellect and continuous thoughts; an occasional butterfly whispers if you can listen. This moment in time is here and everywhere.
presented by Dennis' Seven Dees Landscaping
Up the stone steps in a secluded corner of the garden there is a secret everyone should know. The Sanctuary. Relish the opportunity to leave behind everyday roles and responsibilities at the stone steps. Take a moment to enjoy an oasis of luxury and tranquility. At The Sanctuary one can let go, self indulge in the sounds and beauty of nature, and heighten one's intuitive and imaginative self. The Sanctuary is a perfect antidote to the stresses of modern living while enhancing our life styles.
presented by Milieux
The sunny climates of Provence and Tuscany are ideal locations for the warm-hearted and passionate sign of Leo and the inspiration for The Lion's Share garden. A wrought-iron gazebo with shade from woven grape vine incorporates an antique ceramic pendant from Isle Sur la Sorgue, France. Italian cypress, olive and lemon trees, and the colors of lavender and red contrast with the soft peach and silver tones of the flagstone patio, rock and stucco walls. Intermingled with spring bulbs are fragrant Mediterranean herbs: rosemary, sage and thyme.
presented by Barbara Hilty Landscape Design
This inward facing garden reflects Virgo's nature. A peaceful retreat where one can curl up and read a book in one's own backyard. Attention to details that reflect the Virgo zodiac sign abound: earth colors, natural stone, a potted contorted hazel nut tree, small bright flowers, a domestic cat sculpture, intricate patterns seen in the woven chair and ottoman, the fabric screens to filter views, and the delicate plants between the stepping stones. Come imagine this cozy retreat just outside your own door.
presented by Deb Rossi Design
As the title implies, this garden is created with romance in mind. Placed in a twilight setting, the garden plays upon classic design, colors and elements that are associated with Libra. The inspiration comes from imagining the qualities of Catherine Deneuve (seductive sophisticate) and Truman Capote (flamboyant erudite) in the garden.
presented by Savant Garden Design
The Zodiac Garden of Scorpio encompasses an array of interesting attributes. Displaying energy, deep tones of red and maroon, and drama. Included are plants such as rhododendrons, witch hazel, boxwood, geranium, and in general bushy and prickly plants, all in association with a "barren landscape." Water, as a precious element is represented. Armed with the interpretation of the above factors, with aesthetics and practicality in mind, and with an emphasis on the winter garden, this Scorpio Garden of the Zodiac was created.
presented by Donna Giguere Landscape Design
The true Sagittarian prefers a room with a view, whether indoors or out - Sagittarians can't stand confinement. Restless and optimistic, they frequently look toward the future. A Modern style garden depicts this futuristic attitude. Rich, deeply saturated blues and purples are the colors of Sagittarius and they are repeated throughout the garden in both structural materials and plants - this garden's got the "blues". The unusual abundance of blue foliage is playful, bizarre, risky, probably not for everyone, and is indicative of the independent Sagittarius nature. Artful and modern, the fire pit will state the obvious about the Sagittarius zodiac sign.
presented by the Creative Landscape Designs
Capricorn is usually translated as 'The Sea Goat' or 'The Fish-Goat'. While the goat is the animal symbol, it is always represented with a fish's tail. Within the Zodiac, Capricorn is a sign of contrasts. Capricorns are traditionally practical and prudent; ambitious and disciplined, humorous and reserved, and at times pessimistic and fatalistic. It is filled with plant material of contrasting textures and colors. The prehistoric looking foliage of Gunnera with a leaf that can grow 3 to 4 feet across mingles with the vertical growing Canna 'Tropicana Gold', with deep green foliage with spectacular yellow stripes. This will be accented with varieties of maroon colored Phormiums nestled among the Black Mondo Grass. A stone wall has water spilling into a water trough, surrounded by a stone courtyard. A tropical garden of paradise is transplanted into the Pacific Northwest.
presented by Circadian Consulting & Design
APLD Aquarius Garden, Natural Peace, displays blended naturescaping; ecologically responsible garden design. Representative of Aquarius symbols, the garden is centered by a turquoise pond, an otter sculpture back dropped by a flagstone patio and surrounded by beautiful NW natives, flowering fruit trees and live birds. Mural artist, Angela Olsen has custom painted a depth mural for the garden’s backdrop. View a people friendly, yet environmentally responsible habitat garden providing a welcoming and bio-diverse landscape for beneficial animals such as butterflies, hummingbirds and other NW native species through compatible plant selection and placement of native plants and ornamentals within a personal bio-community!
presented by A Peaceful Place Landscape Design
The symbol of Pisces, as a pair of fishes swimming in opposite directions, represents the ebb and flow of the Piscean nature. Pisces is a water sign, traditionally associated with the Mediterranean islands, the colors of green and blue, water-loving plants and of course, fish. The Phoenicians were an ancient sea-going people of the Mediterranean, whose artwork is filled with symbols of water and sea life in mosaic glass.
In this garden, a classical atmosphere is defined using tile, water, and artwork in mosaic and glass. A dream-like touch is given by billowing fabric draping a circular pavilion, which encloses a chaise lounge that calls for languid afternoons.
The Portland Home & Garden Show(R) is produced by O'Loughlin Trade Shows and sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland. The show runs Wednesday, February 23 through Sunday, February 27, 2005 at the Portland Expo Center. Admission is $10 for adults and $2 for children ages 6 to 12. Tickets are available during show hours or may be purchased in advance online. Visit www.oloughlintradeshows.com or call 503-246-8291.
The MAX Yellow Line now runs to the Expo Center.