Both of today’s Farwest Trade Show tours sold out, and it’s easy to see why. One of them toured three of the top growers in Oregon — Carlton Plants, Monrovia and Youngblood Nursery — and the other explored interesting landscape designs that utilize native plants while also pushing the envelope.
The landscapes on the second tour truly run the gamut. So far, participants have seen the Edith Green–Wendell Wyatt Federal Buliding in downtown Portland, the Von Schlegel residence in the West Hills neighborhood, and the Fitzgibbon Glass building, in the industrial district of Northwest Portland. The morning wrapped up with lunch at Cistus Nursery on Sauvie Island. Still to come? The Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton.
The Wendell-Wyatt federal building and the Fitzgibbon building are both reused buildings. The federal building dates to the 1970s and was rebuilt inside and out, except for the underlying structure, from 2010–2013. The Fitzgibbon building, meanwhile, is a former glass factory that recently was converted into a series of creative suites. But both take advantage of creative plant selections to create a compelling landscape. The Von Schlegel house is about four years old and was built on a site where the former structure slid down the hill and had to be razed.
Having a hand in all of these designs was Sean Hogan, owner of Cistus Design Nursery.
In the afternoon, we visited the Nike Global Headquarters, which fills hundreds of acres in suburban Beaverton. The campus of the footwear and sportswear giant has forests, wetlands, water features, a Japanese garden and, naturally, sports fields including a soccer pitch and a putting green (where Tiger Woods has been known to practice now and again, and which he landed drives from the other side of the soccer field). Nike landscape managers said the purpose of all the landscaping is to allow employees to feel at home, and to help them be more creative. The idea is that they can go for a walk and come back feeling revitalized.
The one thread that seemed to run consistently throughout this tour of interesting landscape designs was that of making life better. At each stop, it was evident that the designs were created with people in mind, whether they be employees, residents or customers. At Nike and at the federal building, the explicit goal was to use plant material to help people renew their energy, their creativity and their health. A good landscape design adds value and repays the investment that is made in it.
You can check out some photos from the tour, which were posted to our Twitter account at @diggermag.