Monday, August 30, 2010

The Farwest Show 2010, Part 1

Last year was my first visit to the Oregon Association of Nurseries Farwest Show. I was part of a small group of gardeners invited by the association as they reached out to the gardening public. I was VERY excited, and thanks to my role at plant lust I was back again this year. What is Farwest? Taken from their website…”The Farwest show one of the leading nursery and greenhouse industry trade shows in the United States. The show typically attracts 13,000-15,000 wholesale growers, retailers, landscape contractors / designers / architects, industry suppliers, educators and others from virtually every U.S. state and several foreign countries… Nearly 60 percent of exhibiting companies are wholesale nurseries at the Farwest Show - more green goods exhibitors than any other show in North America.”
In other words a plant geek’s heaven! Did you know that Oregon ranks third in annual wholesale plant sales in the U.S.? We’re behind only California and Florida. I asked some of the vendors I talked with how they were feeling about this years show and “cautious optimism” was the answer. I don’t have any actual statistics but I’ve heard that attendance was actually up this year, everyone I talked to seemed to feeling good.
I didn’t spot any big new trends (this is the cautious part of the optimism right?), there were still more Coneflowers and Heuchera than you can imagine, as well as lots of succulents and groundcovers. Looking through these pictures you will see an inclination toward bright colors like orange and apple green, but be warned that’s just my bias showing through. There were plenty of reds and yellows as well as muted earth tones.
I did see a couple of familiar faces, the folks from Fry Road Nursery where there, and their booth even won a couple of awards!
I stopped in front of this wicked display long enough that the gentleman running the booth gave me a demo. This machine transplants your little seedlings up to the next size cell; here they are ready to be transplanted.
The metal arms come down and punch the roots and the plant through the bottom of the current tray…
…into the tray waiting below, already filled with soil. And you haven’t even got your hands dirty!
This booth looked like a craft project was about to break out at any moment. I really wanted to sit down and see what I could make from these fun things. A few big leaves caught my eye… Rhododendron sinogrande.
R. calophytum
Centarea cinerea at the Rare Plant Research booth.
Of course were several marketing programs on display….like this one: grow a jungle in your garden!
I love how the picture of the elephant and the look of the colocasia bulbs it is advertising just seem to go together. Rough texture and big!
More marketing….
Unfortunately even the best product sometimes gets upstaged the props. These dyed fiber fake fern fronds were not for sale. The pots were. But everyone (including me) asked about the fern fronds.
I bet they’ll be selling them next year.

Tomorrow…the new variety showcase and the things I wanted to take home with me…


  1. Now that looks like fun! My husband works for a trade show company. Maybe I'll ask him about this one. I wonder if the come a little further north?

    I really liked those last ferns! They look unreal!

  2. Color me jealous! This just makes me REALLY impatient for the Hardy Plant Society sales this fall :-( oh...and those fake fronds are pretty clever.

  3. Succulent art... I love it I love it I love it! Reminds me of Flora Grubb.

  4. Very cool plants. The colors and plant forms of some were almost unreal. I love plant shows, but usually attend with my friend and nurseryman/grower, who is never interested in what I am as a designer. I always end tagging along rather than leading the way.

  5. What a nice showing here. I have never been to a plant show before. I do love reading about the ones all of you attend. Looking forward to your next post.

  6. Great combos of plants and products. I love your marketing eye view of this show.

    Those succulent plantings remind me of Rancho Reubidoux's recent rust post. I want a magnolia sinogrande, but don't think I can provide the conditions it needs. But I can for the colocasia, so I clearly just need to locate a retailer.

  7. You lucky pup! Looks like a lot of fun but it would be very difficult not to be able to take some things home! Congrats on your two new plants!

  8. Hi Loree~~ Looks like a beautiful showing. I love the Fry Road booth. Mark and Ann said they visited with you and felt very positive about your venture. Exciting!

    Those two Rhododendrons, ooh, la, la! Were you wanting to sort of slither out with them, hoping nobody noticed? :)

  9. Laura, doubt it since it's an Oregon Association that sponsors it. And I agree! They were huge!

    Scott, are you a fall planter? I'd say I'm about 50/50 with fall success, where as spring planting is more like 90% success. Plus I'm completely in the mood in spring, in the fall...not so much.

    RFG, that is a huge compliment! Have you been to FG in SF?

    gardenwalkgardentalk, yes the two of you must make for an opposites attract sort of pair. Sounds difficult.

    Darla, really? Not one? Wow. I live for them!!!

    MulchMaid, oh caught me. I just can't escape the marketing mindset can I? Oh and the wholesaler behind the cool Colocasia display seemed interested in plant lust so...hopefully we can help you locate a retailer!

    Peter, thank you! I scored big time!

    Grace, Mark and Ann were very sweet. I hope the show was good for them. And yes...I am seriously considering the Rhody's...

  10. Fun!!!! I'm so jealous.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!