Plotting the Garden


“The Silver Screen Takes Root … Gardens go Hollywood” was this years show theme at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show at the Washington State Convention Center. 425’s assistant editor Lauren Foster and deputy editor Ethan Chung wanted to award a garden that creatively executed the theme. What they found was a familiar cottage from a well-known story.

Almost every hero’s quest uses “the home” to anchor its plot. The protagonist must leave his or her sanctuary to journey away with the dream of someday returning. In Display #18 “A Hobbit’s New Zealand Garden” the viewer sees what’s often the beginning and the end of a classic hero’s quest. This particular display was Bilbo Baggins’ cozy home that’s built into the grassy landscape of Tolkien’s fictional land, The Shire. When Peter Jackson made his movies, “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” he shot Baggins’ homes along the green hills of New Zealand. The native island plants and even the sound of New Zealand’s national bird cooing in the background makes this garden especially authentic and connects it flawlessly to the beloved films, and thus the theme. It also hints subtly that this is not a home in reality but one where magic is lurking and adventure is just around the corner. But the display doesn’t just recreate a particular scene in a movie. It plays off an emotional motif often used in storytelling and film; the home of a hero. We felt something when we stumbled upon this garden, like we were coming

Pictured: (left) “The Hobbit” cottage door and  (right) mailbox.

Northwest Flower and Garden Show is open from 9am–8pm Wednesday – Saturday and 9am–6pm on Sunday from Feb. 20-24. Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for youth and children 12 and under are free. There are also great deals on multiple day passes and group packages.


is the managing editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
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