Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Farwest, 2012

Last week was that time again, time for the annual Oregon Association of Nurseries industry trade show…the 40th annual to be exact. From the show website: “The growth of the show over the years is a reflection of the growth of Oregon's nursery industry in general. Oregon is one of the largest nursery growing states in the United States, ranking third in total annual wholesale sales behind only California and Florida.”

Since I have no desire to live in Florida I guess that means I’m living in the #2 best state to be a plant freak! Nah, I take that back, while I would love the California sunshine and winter temps I think I’m actually living in THE BEST place in the country to be a plant freak.
This was the year of the Acer at the Farwest Show
Acer palmatum 'Orangeola'
Acer palmatum dissectum 'Orange Flame'
Pleioblastus viridistriatus at  Bamboo Gardens
Bamboo Gardens booth
Tell me these wouldn't draw your eye from across the room!
But they're fake!
More fakery!
T&L Nursery had a great selection of dramatic real plants.
Variegated manihot from Means Nursery, which is a much larger operation than I realized.

This was my 4th trip to the show, and I have to say personally it was the best yet, no doubt a reflection of the people I’ve met over the years and the fact that I got to chat with a lot of them while being surrounded by plants. Can’t go wrong there!
The Little Prince of Oregon booth was very colorful!
With an expanded line of cool metal planters.
And these fabulous ceramic ones...I'll take 3 please!

A lot of people I talked with reminisced about the good old days when the show floor was so crowded you had to stand in line to get into a booth (a good thing from the vendors perspective of course). I assumed the economy was the culprit, but several people actually blamed the weather. It isn’t just my imagination, our springs here in the PNW have been wetter and colder, and that affects the nursery trade in a big way. After all spring is the time we all want to get out there and buy buy buy, but if we can’t plant, well, we don’t buy.
Conifers at the Bizon Nursery booth
Betcha can't guess what company this booth belongs too! (yes...it's Terra Nova) 
Doesn't everyone secretly want a John Deere that seats four with additional hauling capacity? I do!

The other thing I heard over and over from wholesalers is how hard it is to get nursery buyers to take a chance on new, slightly more exotic, plants. They’re rushed and thus (understandably) go through availability sheets ordering what they know. A name they aren’t familiar with gets glossed over.
Agave attenuata 'Ray of Light'  at Pacific Plug & Liner 
 Beschorneria yuccoides  'Flamingo Glow' at  Pacific Plug & Liner
Can you believe this is a Cordyline? Cordyline 'Jive' at  Pacific Plug & Liner

One of the booths with plants that stopped me in my tracks was the We Hop booth. We Hop is a plant broker who fills trucks and delivers to retail nurseries. When I’ve bought plants from San Marcos Growers at Jungle Fever Exotics and Dragonfly Farms (both in Washington) it’s most likely We Hop that got these cool plants there.
Adenanthos sericeus (Coastal Woolybush) in the WeHoP booth
 Grevillea 'Red Hooks' at WeHoP
 Grevillea 'Red Hooks' at WeHoP

So nursery buyers buy what they know and believe will sell. Maybe if we all start asking for plants that are a little outside the mainstream, our requests will add up and they’ll realize there is a demand. It couldn’t hurt right? Fed up with the selection you have available at your local nursery? Submit a list of what you would like to see. Ask your friends to do the same. Maybe we can make a difference? It certainly couldn’t hurt!
Echeveria cante 'White Shadow' from  Tessera Succulents 
Echeveria parva from  Tessera Succulents

As “garden media” I was allowed into the show before it opened last week to a preview of the New Varieties Showcase.

I was most excited about the Fire Spinner™ Ice Plant. This small spreading succulent was discovered in the high mountains near the Eastern Cape of South Africa by Panayoti Kelaides of the Denver Botanical Garden. Believe it or not I was excited by the flower…orange and pink! This one little plant could magically make my love of orange and my accidental pink flowering plants (chosen for their foliage) seem like a smart design decision!

The only problem was it wasn’t blooming for the show.

Ah well. Here’s a picture borrowed to show you what the flowers would have looked like (source)…

There were proper judges voting for best of the new varieties, if you’re interested click here to see all the plants and learn what the judges thought, I’m only sharing the ones I found particularly interesting. I know a couple of you are already growing the Pistachio Hydrangea.

The Emerald City® Tulip Tree (55ft tall, 25ft spread) promises a tree straighter in appearance and with uniformly upright branch habit. I love the leaves!

What’s not to love about Chocoholic Bugbane? How wonderful it looks combined with chartreuse foliage!

Winner of “Outstanding Plant” (from the judges) was Cathedral Gem Sausage Vine from Monrovia. All we got to see was the foliage but it certainly looks promising.

I also liked the Sunsparkler™ Dazzleberry Stonecrop and the Desert Eve™ Deep Rose Yarrow, especially together like this.

Other things that caught my eye at the show...
Daphne Rebecca at the  Skagit Gardens booth
Echinacea 'Coconut Lime,'  Skagit Gardens booth
Clever way to feature a plant!
This foliage combination at the P&D Nursery booth was to die for!
Of course replicating it in the garden would require a very short tree or very tall Colocasia.
Love the coloration on these Sempervivum!

And now the best part…even though the show isn’t really about buying plants you can, with cash in hand, make a few deals in the moments before the show closes. After all the vendors really don’t want to haul these plants all back home again! I finally got an Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'…not this HUGE one at the Ball Horticulture booth…(I wish!)
Don't you just want to run your fingers through that foliage?

But a smaller one from Youngblood Nursery in Salem, OR. Smaller is better in this case anyway since it’s not hardy here in Portland and I’ll be growing it in a container.
My 'Cousin Itt'!
The sign says it all doesn't it?
Cedrus D. 'Silver Mist' from  Youngblood Nursery
Leucothoe f. 'Scarletta' from  Youngblood Nursery

So that wraps up my look at the 2012 Farwest Show...well, okay, not quite...I've got a couple fun pictures to share tomorrow.

34 comments:

  1. Hooray for finding Acacia 'Cousin It!' The variegated manihot was also amazing! Too bad that won't grow in the ground here either. Here's to warmer springs ahead!

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    1. I know that Manihot was hot! (hahaha, lame) I got so excited about it that I think he said they were going to bring some into the nursery. Now I feel like I need to go see! (did you know they sell to retailers in California?)

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  2. Endless eye candy--that must have been a blast. Congrats on 'Itt'. I've found him painfully slow growing, but the beauty is considerable.

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    1. You might be surprised at the lack of eye-candy. Well unless you enjoy looking at soil conditioners, machinery and plastic nursery pots. A lot of the show is the not glamorous stuff!

      Slow-growing is a good thing for me, container and all...

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  3. Oh that looks like a fun show! I love your 'cousin it.' That is super cool!!!!!

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    1. I kind of can't stop touching it...

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    1. I know huh? What if we lived somewhere that you could grow them in the ground! Uh-oh...

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  5. wonderful...the ise plant and the hydrangeas....are to die for

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    1. I'll be sure to report on the blooms of the ice plant...when and if I buy any!

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  6. So jealous! I wish they would stretch this over the whole weekend...not just Saturday. Plus, I know it's an industry event, but they could publicize it a LITTLE...I never know it's going on until I see people posting about it on FB!

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    1. I think it's a travel thing. They want all the vendors to have Sunday to get home, since it's not open to the public. I think it's always the last weekend in August.

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  7. Some really lovely plants there, and the conifers oh to have a larger backyard.

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    1. I wish I could appreciate the Conifers...

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  8. Loree:
    This, more than any other time of year is when I wish we were neighbors and could attend the show together! So many plants, so little space! I am in lust with Cedrus 'Silver Mist' but know it would be miserable here in Zone 5. I brought in Delosperma 'FireSpinners' this season - I think my supplier should have held it for another year or so to bulk up - sadly pathetic - never had a bloom the entire season, BUT, it was new and lots of people were interested in it! Fingers crossed for next year! Thanks for the link to their FB page..... I've been scouring the New Varieties section, always on the lookout for new and exciting. Need Helleborus 'Merlot' [being a H. ballardiae cross! Pink Frost has proven to be a huge success here!]and the new Hydrangea quercifolia looks delightful as well! I am not familiar with your new acquisition, I shall have to do some more research, but it does elicit fondling no doubt about it!

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    1. Oh Barry I would love to go to the show with you! Couldn't you talk your employer into sending you out next year for the show? That would be big fun!

      Good to hear your take on the Delosperma...no blooms at all? That's crazy. I ended up scoring a whole flat of the Sempervivum 'Lilac Time' for a ridiculously cheap price and then found myself wondering if I shouldn't have spent my time (and carrying capacity) trying to get the ice plant, you've made me feel like I made the right choice!

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  9. Loree,
    Thanks so much for all the photos! Any idea what the name of that burgundy colored albizia paired with the alocasia was? I but you could coppice the albizia easily to keep it under control and increase the intensity of the folaige display each year too!
    Dave

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    1. It's Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate'...a beauty for sure! So amazing that I bought one at the Orange Big Box for cheap simply because it was so wonderful I wanted to rescue it. Unfortunately I nearly lost mine when our temps skyrocketed to 102, I hadn't watered it enough. It's still alive but not so pretty now...

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    2. Thanks for the ID! Albizia used to be on the most common ornamental trees in the California interior, but have faded away in popularity. The Chocolate color would look great with my puyas, cannas and agastaches! Great pics, I love your coverage of the show.
      Dave

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  10. Speaking as a nursery buyer, I rarely buy at shows like this. Usually I have all my orders done before I get there. I use the time to look for new plants, find good deals and network (I hate that term). If a plant really catches my eye, I will go back and do a little research to make sure it is a good choice for our climate and a good buy, then I will get it.

    BTW, I bought a Fire Spinner for my own garden and it really didn't bloom here either, while D. cooperi right next to it has not been without a flower all summer. I am chalking it up to it being new and busy with root growth, but I better see some blooms next year.

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    1. Les thank you for sharing your experience. I've always wondered who buys at these shows and suspected maybe it was all for making future contacts, although I do see some actual business being conducted. I have no doubt that gardeners in your area benefit from having you buying plants. The climate issue is a big one and I am very aware that not everyone is willing to buy expensive annuals or try and over winter something only marginally hardy.

      I hope both you and Barry will weigh in next year on the Fire Spinner. I want to expect big things from this plant since it carries the Plant Select mark!

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  11. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!!!! But that bamboo had me saying....oooooooo.....I love how they set up the plants in their various groupings. Oregon and Washington are two states I would love to visit not only for the gardens but for the coastal waters. I'd have a hard time not spending lots and lots of money at these shows:)

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    1. Have you never been up to the Pacific Northwest!? But you're such a traveler!!! You really need to make the trip up. Really.

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  12. Wow, proper plant porn! So many new plants I've never never seen or heard before, like the variegated Agave attenuata, Beschorneria, even the yellow Cordyline amongst others. I hope most of these rarer/unusual varieties makes its way across the atlantic soon!

    From what I gather I think you live in a location where you get the best of both worlds when it comes to gardening, not too hot and not too cold, just right! :)

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    1. I wish we could fill a container and do a plant swap with you guys! Hardy Schefflera coming to the U.S. and interesting "new" succulents to the U.K.!

      The extended forecast has 90F degree temps back for next week...yay!

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  13. I thought the Sempervivum "Lilac Time" looked familiar. Thats one I purchased from Perennial Obsessions Nursery in June at the McMinnville Farmers Market. OMG....you bought a hole flat and all I have is one little plant. I'm very sad now.

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    1. I hate making people sad!!! I planted them all yesterday, funny how the colors I loved sort of make the plant disappear in the gravel of our front garden.

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  14. Oh, words fail me. I have just stumbled across your blog quite by accident (from looking at a photo of a golden bird eating from a trumpet vine) and I have fallen in lust. I am a very amateur gardener whose garden suffers from plant lust - I fall in love with specimens that don't really fit into a plan, but I love them anyway. I especially love succulents and I have them in saucers on every flat surface. Your photos of this garden show have sent me into paroxysms of plant lust. Many new ideas - pistachio hydrangea! who knew? Well, I do now, thanks to you. And soon my neighbors will, too. I'll be reading avidly from now on.

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    1. Don't we all? ("I fall in love with specimens that don't really fit into a plan, but I love them anyway")...I pity the gardener who only sticks to a plan, where's the fun in that!? Thanks for commenting and I hope to keep you entertained in the future!

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  15. I have heard about Oregon as it is one of the largest nursery growing states in US.And such amazing pics all would love to buy plants from them.

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  16. wtbpo, your comment makes no sense! When I click on the link I'm taken to a website for a nursery here in Oregon...what's up with that?

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    1. Some would call it by the "s" word, Loree...

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    2. And not even very good "s" at that...

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  17. You have an amazing blog! More power to you!

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