The Garden display “Pi R Squared” was awarded the Golden Gate Cup “Best in Show” and received a SHOW RECORD of an additional 6 recognition awards, including: Garden Conservancy Award, American Society of Landscape Architects Award, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society Award, Pacific Horticulture Award, Sunset Magazine Western Living Award, and Gold Medal for garden creation.

Pi R Squared had been in the dream and design stage for the past 6 months, but on March 17 we hired a 26 foot Uhaul truck from San Luis Obispo to San Mateo. Packing the truck required precision. Pipe fit tightly within pipe, and any open gap was carefully packed with plant material from Succulent Gardens, picked up in Castroville.

The next 4 days we worked tirelessly from 8 am to 8+ at night laying out the pipe, fitting the steel, shoveling the gravel, lifting large specimen aloes with forklifts into  place, and tediously planting grasses and laying out rings. We could not have done it on our own. Special thanks to Alexander Cegelski, Paul Morabito, and Lance Cornwall for their much needed man-power!

Final touches came together Tuesday when the judging was to take place.

Tuesday evening was the opening Gala for Garden Creators.  After signing in, I walked straight over to the wine table and picked up something nice to drink. Jeffrey tapped my on the back and with big smile preceded to give me a high-five, “Did you see the awards?”……at that moment looking over his shoulder I notice the 6 stands of awards placed in front of our garden.  I couldn’t believe I went for the wine before even looking to see what we had won! Later that evening, Kay Estey, the show producer, announced a first time in history direct tie for Best-in-Show. We had tied with The Garden Route and Filoli, something we were actually excited about.

We had developed quite the camaraderie with Rich from The Garden Route. He had the magic timing of showing up to our booth every time we opened up a beer or bottle of wine.

The next 5 days were madness. Doors opened at 10 Wednesday morning, and a stampede of women with trolly carts instantly inundated our garden space. Questions started flying, “what are these round things”, “what are these metal things used for?”, “Where can I by this/that?”.  I repeated the same lines so many times, describing the drain pipes, metal gaskets, and dutch tub, that it still circles through my dreams at night.

I don’t mean to imply that women with trolly carts were the only ones at the show. There was a wide range of people, and quite the contingency from the central coast! It was also great to meet the authors of so many gardening books we have in our office and use on a daily basis. The garden show offered us an excellent opportunity to introduce ourselves face to face to some of these individuals and organizations who would otherwise not have given us the time of day, including those organizations who gave us the awards.

After 5 days of the show we were once again hit with the reality of having to tear it all down and pack it away.  What took 4 days to build managed to be torn down in a single day (14.5 Hours).  Tuesday morning we were driving home to Los Osos to once again unload plants and pipe. Wednesday the boys hopped back in the truck and drove a large portion of our display down to PORCH in Carpinteria. Thursday, Tom and I spent all day recreating the display to fit the new garden space.

If you did not get a chance to see the display at the show, by all means, take a trip to Carpinteria, and visit the lovely ladies at PORCH.

We cannot thank our sponsors enough. Especially DKal Engineering for all the pipe scrap. This garden would have been an impossibility without them. The amazing plant material donated by Native Sons Nursery and Succulent Gardens. Those plants receive some serious abuse at the garden shows, and we are so grateful for the leniency of these nurseries when the plants were returned in a sometimes damaged state.

A special thank you goes out to Mike Silva, the right-hand-man for Travis Jecker. Mike pulled together all our metal work in a days time, after receiving news that Travis had incurred a serious injury and was in the ER. Mike works like a maniac under pressure, and we look forward to working with him and Travis on future projects.

Lastly, we cannot begin to thank Bob and Cary Woll enough. Bob and Cary were a previous client of ours in Los Osos, and had recently moved back to San Mateo where Cary was born and raised. He father had died and left her with the house, which they are now lovingly restoring. Jeffrey organized a trade of our services for accommodations. We could not have paid to have better accommodation with better food. Bob baked fresh artisan bread on a daily basis that we would eat with breakfast while sipping on our cappuccinos. Diner was never a disappointment. From a barbecued cold-smoked salmon, to a veal stew on the coldest of days, we relaxed everynight in their home with a glass of wine and food that makes Martha Stewart seam hokey. These two made our long days feel worth it.

How did we get so lucky to work with such great people? We are hoping this garden show proves itself fruitful, and brings in some fun new projects for this year, not just for our benefit, but for all those who help to support us as well.

Thanks again to EVERYONE who made this a success!

DKAL Engineering

API Designs

Komodo Kamado

Native Sons Nursery

Succulent Gardens Nursery

San Marcos Growers


BK Lighting

Paul Morabito and Lance Cornwall

Travis Jecker

Environmental Molding Concepts

Villa Creek Winery