Throwback Thursday: An Otherworldly Garden

Spooky season is officially here, which has us thinking back to one of our favorite large scale installs this year–the Oakland Nurseries “Otherworldly Garden” for the 2023 Dispatch Home & Garden Show. The theme of the show this year was “Enchanted Gardens.” Working with the Oakland Nursery Landscape Design team, we decided to push the boundaries of our imaginations to create an overgrown, otherworldly landscape full of vibrant colors and organic shapes. Our goal was to create a space that would spark wonder, with mysterious plants and details that encouraged visitors to explore.

The entrance to the garden was marked with rough-hewn logs covered with moss, bromeliads, and air plants. Walking into the space, visitors experienced blooming spring bulbs (a Garden Show staple) as well as large bromeliads planted under crabapple trees and around evergreens. To the left was a small circulating fountain, made of an upended ficus tree root ball. The path opened up to a wider area covered by a dilapidated, overgrown-looking pergola, from which hung an assortment of glowing orbs and glass containers holding small plants.

Custom made Cave Wall for an Otherworldly Garden


The focal point of our Otherworldly Garden was a 40’ long fabricated “rock” wall with six different water features, flowing into a creek bed that ran the entire length of the garden. The rock wall was sculpted out of layers of insulation foam that was then painted with a concrete/paint slurry for texture, and airbrushed to create highlights such as the rainbow-hued stalagmites and stalactites. Small pockets were cut into the wall to hold live plants like ferns, pothos, orchids, and bromeliads.

Beds throughout the garden were planted with a mix of tropical plants (monstera deliciosa, calathea, ferns, pothos, and more) alongside standard landscape plants, demonstrating to visitors how non-native plants could be incorporated into a landscape. To add additional elements of whimsy and mystery, the trees were hung with air plants and custom moss balls. Various color-changing LED elements were also utilized, including seating, rocks, and floating bubbles, adding to the air of enchantment and mystery.


With such a unique display, this year’s Home & Garden Show was certainly one for the books. We can’t wait to see what next year brings!

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