In my show preview last week I mentioned being so blinded by the plants that couldn’t remember the names of the fine folks we met during the tour, it was just the opposite during the show. Yes there were plenty of pretty plants to see, smell and fondle but for me this show was really made special by the people. So please bear with me as I mention a few of them, they are all extremely knowledgeable, talented and generous, if you have the opportunity to spend time with them do, I think you will enjoy it. I started the show off with Paul Bonine of Xera Plants talking on Drought Tolerant Plants. Besides Paul’s vast plant knowledge he is also a weather aficionado and he peppered his talk with weather tidbits, such as the fact that 80% of our precipitation here in Portland falls when our plants are dormant (in the winter) and we are considered to be the world’s coldest Mediterranean climate. He also pointed out that our precipitation all but ceases when our warmest weather occurs (hence Xera’s focus on drought tolerant plants). Paul shared that there are 11 species of Manzantia native to Oregon (55 in California), lucky for us Xera grows an amazing number of them. If you can catch his talk on ““Neglected Beauties: Manzanitas” at Joy Creek Nursery on September 4th I bet you’ll enjoy it! (if you click on that link you’ll get the full class line-up at Joy Creek…it’s amazing!) Right after Paul’s talk I headed for the Remarkable Green Market (where the plant vendors are) where I found myself eavesdropping on a conversation between Roger Gossler of Gossler Farms and a customer, they were discussing agaves…that’s when I saw the customer was Jane, aka the MulchMaid, I love bumping into blog friends at events like this and always enjoy chatting with Jane. I can’t wait to find out what plants from the show were her must haves. The pictures throughout this post are from Friday at the show. The five above are vignettes from the display gardens, and yes those rectangular pavers really were set in water…and the chairs and glass gravel fire volcano were really in the water. I’m not sure I get it but I suppose it appeals to a certain crowd. This plant is a new unnamed Peperomia, according to the tag. If it hadn’t been $60 it might have been mine. The Sedum Chicks always have a fun booth. This was a stop-me-in-my-tracks moment, a green Tree Peony…cool…$55.99!!! And it’s just the tuber not a plant. Yikes. This is how Bauman’s Farm kept their giant agave from biting…they cut off its spikes! My next stop-me-in-my-tracks moment was when I saw these huge Echium pinnata! Technically they weren’t for sale….but with a little sweet talk… I love to eavesdrop on others conversations. Love it. My favorite from this show was the one between two guys looking at this display. They had decided the Alocasia was growing from the Begonias below. As in they were considering purchasing a 4” pot of Begonia because they were certain the huge Alocasia in the middle of the display container would eventually emerge. Luckily they decided against it. I was relieved because I would have had to tell them it wasn't going to happen, and thus ruin the magical possibility. The Bamboo Craftsman Company had an award winning booth at the show, their huge Tiki heads had me thinking how much fun they would be in my garden. And the same for the metal sculpture creations of artist Ivan McClean. I got to chat with Ivan a bit and learned he is the artist behind the fish sculptures at 221 Molalla, a LEED Gold Certified office building completed by architects I used to work with. I’ve loved those fish for awhile now and it was great to talk with the artist who made them.
So finally it was time to call it a day at the show, buckle up the new kids for their ride home, drop them off… ….and get ready for the nights events, because my fun didn’t stop when the show closed for the day. No, that evening I was invited to take part in a panel discussion on social media at the regional meeting of the Garden Writers Association. Have I ever mentioned that I don’t do public speaking? Well I don’t…but I did, and here is a photo to prove it (taken by the talented and all around spectacular Nancy Buley). From left to right: Debbie Teashon (Rainy Side Gardens), Wendy Tweten (Muck About), me, Amy Stewart (Garden Rant), and the moderator Mary-Kate Mackey. To give you an idea of the quality of company I was in I later looked at the handout with our bios on it. Mine was the only one that didn’t start out “The award winning…..”
Much to my surprise the event was enjoyable. My fellow panelists, the moderator and the meeting attendees made sure of it. What a great group of people and a fun night! Two of my favorite faces in the crowd were Kate Bryant and Kym Pokorny. Kate is a freelance writer and her blog Plantwise (for Portland Monthly) is fabulous, this woman really knows her plants! Kym writes for the Oregonian, and many of her stories for the newspaper end up on her very fun blog: Dig in with Kym. Kym had the unenviable job of calling and asking me to take part in the panel; I don’t know which one of us was more surprised that I said yes!
So after a very full Friday I really enjoyed spending Saturday at the show just attending seminars. As luck would have it I managed to run into and hang out with the talented and all around great Lauren Hall-Behrens of Lilyvilla Gardens and the blog Beyond Garden Design. We took in Amy Stewart’s Global Gardens presentation, a panel discussion with four local plant personalities about their favorite plants, and a talk on Sustainable Gardens with C. Colston Burrell.
The panel discussion was my first time hearing writer Dulcy Mahar in person, Dulcy writes a beloved column in the Oregonian’s Home & Garden section. I thought she was an entertaining on paper but that doesn’t hold a candle to her personality in “real life.” If you don’t have the opportunity to read her column you can follow her online here.
So that is my very long winded wrap up of a fun filled two days, I hope you will click on some of the links above and visit the blogs and websites of the people I mentioned. We are so lucky here in Oregon be rich in wonderful nurseries and plants but we also have an amazing community of gardeners and plants-people. I love living here and can’t wait to meet more of you at the Garden Bloggers Meet-up in Seattle this summer!