Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Showtime for a Victorian Greenhouse

It’s that time again! From coast to coast, indoor garden shows are offering solace to those who are winter-weary. These exhibitions are bursting with color and fragrance, great plants to buy, and great ideas to take away—especially from the extravagant display gardens that make up the heart of the shows.  And for several years now, in Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, a Hartley greenhouse has been featured in pride of place.

In 2019 a white Victorian graced the Seattle show floor.

So, this month, I’m taking you behind the scenes for a preview of the February 2023 display garden. But first let me introduce the team who will transform a thousand square feet of flat concrete floor into a sumptuous garden based on the theme of “Healing.”

The garden is designed by Deby Kohlwes, co-owner of The Grounds Professionals, a design and maintenance firm. She has joined up with John Stout, President/Production Manager of Terra Firma Hardscapes. Add an army of volunteer students from Lake Washington Institute of Technology and they all will make horticultural magic happen in a short two-and-a half days. A Victorian Lodge will star in the center of the garden.

The 2023 plan for The Healing Garden shows the black Hartley Victorian. (Courtesy Deby Kohlwes).

“I got on board with this project when I saw the greenhouse,” Deby says. She’s no stranger to planning gardens with structures. “I make them into a destination,” she says, “and I always connect the pathways.”

Her show design certainly connects. Visitors will follow a path through the glass house where space inside is reserved for healing  mushrooms, herbs, and even a mixology bar area with drink recipes created from plants.

A rendering of the 2023 show garden with an abstract greenhouse. (Courtesy Deby Kohlwes).

Terra Firma’s John Stout is also enthusiastic about featuring the greenhouse. “My clients are really looking to expand the useful space outside of their homes, and structures such as this conservatory provide that relaxing space.” John says. “I think the quality of Hartley’s products is in line with the ethos of our company.”

That ethos includes attention to the smallest detail—a value shared by everyone on the team. From the precise construction of the greenhouse—Hartley sends their own crew—to all the plants chosen for their healing properties, plus a large fireplace and cascading water flowing into a crystal-filled pool—everything will contribute to the visitors’ experience of garden delight.

This rendering calls for a metal Tree of Life privacy screen as well as a crystal fountain.(Courtesy Deby Kohlwes).

Are you considering a greenhouse in your own space? Deby has advice. Carefully plan for its placement in your garden. “Think about the sun patterns in both summer and winter,” she says. Deby sees a greenhouse as an extension of your outdoor living space, as well as a practical place to shelter plants, so give it a spotlight location. And, in Seattle this year, that spotlight will certainly be shining on the Victorian Lodge.