Local garden shop earns regional award
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – One local landscape design team proved this spring that it knows how to work a theme and that the business is much larger than what’s visible from Old Statesville Road.
Garden Grove Landscape Design & Installation, Nursery & Garden Center brought home third place in both design and creativity from the Southern Spring Home and Garden Show in Charlotte in early March. The landscape design competition pitted 28 Charlotte-area landscape designers against each other to create outdoor installations with the theme rhythm in bloom.
Nursery manager Clint Erwin and landscape designer Luke Lang built a barn and designed a landscape inspired by “International Harvester” by Craig Morgan.
Erwin used 100-year-old wood from former working barns to create the façade.
Erwin inserted treetops and vines in holes in the tin roof. His touches made the barn look authentic, weathered and lived-in by nature.
“It looked like the trees and vines were growing right out of the barn,” Erwin said.
The uniqueness of the design and attention to detail caught the judges’ eyes.
“It was like you were at a farm,” show manager Mardee Woodward said.
A tractor in the installation paid tribute to the musical inspiration, as Morgan sings about holding up a traffic on a country road; “If you don’t like the way I’ma drivin’ get back on the interstate, and quit your honkin’ at me that way. … This big wheel wide load ain’t goin’ any faster, so just smile and wave and tip your hat to the man up on the tractor.”
Woodward said Erwin’s enthusiasm came through.
“He took all the elements for great garden design and all that helped him to complement the theme of rhythm in bloom,” Woodward said.
Judges viewed the installations with the lights out at The Park Expo and Conference Center in Charlotte, so the low-voltage lighting and lanterns Erwin installed could cast the intended rustic glow over his creation.
Woodward said she especially appreciated “the props he used to really inspire homeowners and thinking about that song.”
Competitors had to create a good first impression, cohesive appearance, proportional elements, details and strong focal points and meet other criteria for design recognition.
Judges selected creativity winners based on how unique and memorable the garden was, lighting effectiveness, fun and unusual elements and surprise and whimsy.
Erwin incorporated those criteria to create an installation that Woodward said she couldn’t forget.
Native North Carolina tomatoes, green beans, carrots, cheery trees, apple trees and blueberries surrounded the barn, all from Garden Grove stock.
Garden Grove buys nearly all of its plants from North Carolina businesses, Erwin said.
The businesses provided trees and plants for the expo, as well as some other competitors for their third year participating in the show.
The regional recognition hasn’t been bad for business since, either.
“Regular customers already expect that we’re that good,” Erwin said. “For some of the new people, (it shows) that we’re not as small as we look.”
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16008 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville