Thursday, August 30, 2012

Having fun with plants...at the Farwest Show

When looking through a catalogue it seems I'm always interested in the thing that's not for sale. The vase on the shelf in a furniture catalogue, the shoes on the model when they actually want me to be looking at the dress, things like that. So naturally when invited to look at the plants in the Farwest Show New Varieties Showcase I couldn't stop taking pictures of these fabulous creations...

Amazing! The dresses were built by Amy Whitworth (landscape designer) and Ann Murphy (OAN). The dress ornamentations were designed by Linda Beutler, Rogerson Clematis Collection.

This one, dubbed "Sunny Girl," was my favorite. They had plant lists available, should you want to recreate this look for yourself...
  • Large-flowered hybrid Clematis seed heads
  • Mullein (Verbascum bombyceferum ‘Artic Summer’
  • Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia x catesbaei)
  • Red Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’)
  • Sedum confusum
  • Other Sedums and Sempervivums

"Shady Mary"

She's wearing a fine gown made of...
  • Alaska Fern
  • Canadian Hemlock
  • Kenilworth Ivy
  • Euonymous ‘Blondy’
  • Hosta cultivars
  • Maidenhair Fern
  • Heavenly Bamboo
  • Thuja ‘Zebrina’
  • Variegated Japanese Forest Grass

The details were perfect, what a talented group of ladies!

This is Eliza – plants (Wooly Thyme and Variegated Creeping Charlie) provided by Little Prince of Oregon Nursery.

She even has a moss covered bow on the back of her dress.

I've taken pictures of the lovely succulent displays at the Proven Winners booth for 3 years running. This year instead of just sticking a single plant in the middle of their succulent covered pillars they got a little creative and planted up a small container.

The tall Kalanchoe in the back has always intrigued me and here it looks fabulous!

Yesterday I shared an overall picture of the T&L Nursery booth but this succulent chair and ottoman deserves special mention. It was very hard to get a photo of, but it looked amazing in person.

In the same booth we have another take on the plants-in-the-table dining experience. I thought their use of terra cotta saucers as plates was a fun touch.

Burl at the Rare Plant Research booth admitted right up front that he should have taken the time to replant these with fuller, happier looking plants. But as a busy small nursery owner he hadn't had the time, still I'm glad he brought them. I thought the use of terra cotta tiles to create different layers of plantings was a good idea.
One I just might "steal" somehow...

I leave you with a question (and an image of Darcy Daniels (Bloomtown Gardens) channeling her inner fairy princess), succulents are enjoying a very long run as the "it" plant...I'm not complaining, I love the increased availability that this popularity allows. But what's next? When do succulents become "yesterday" and what will the new thing be? I'd love to hear your thoughts....

38 comments:

  1. I've had a few terracotta drainage half-pipes in the garage for 20 years. Although I've had a few ideas of what to do with them, this may kick me into gear finally...

    I'd like the next "it" plant to be herbs. So many of them, they're tough, useful, beautiful. (I bet you thought I was going to say "bamboo", didn't you?)

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    1. Herbs certainly fit in with the edibles trend, I think you might be on to something there!

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  2. Those gowns are so quirky, I love 'em all! I reckon using sempervivums and moss you have something similar as a long(-ish) lasting feature in the garden (perhaps one season?).

    Funny enough, I was wondering the same about succulents being the 'it' plant of the moment, and was talking about it to a friend. It seems that creative and mixed planting of it are being widely done at the moment. I wonder how long will that 'trend' last? And what next you ask? Perhaps Tillandsia. Maybe ferns? I wonder if orchids and other gaudy floral displays will make a come back again very soon?? Hmmm...

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    1. Ferns! Oh that's a good one...have to admit I like that better than gaudy floral. I had someone else mention Tillandsia, I kind of feel like they've hit their peak already. Maybe I'm wrong.

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  3. I loooove the table display with the saucers. They are stunning. I can imagine my outdoor tables "set" all season long!!!!!

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    1. Do it! (and blog about it, of course)

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  4. I thought I was looking at photos from an episode of Project Runway! Very creative.

    I don't think succulents have hit their peak yet. There are still too many nurseries who don't stock succulents, at least around here. Plus, there is so much variety, designers will be busy for a long time to come creating ever more ingenious displays.

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    1. While I've never actually watched Project Runway I'm sure I would have heard about it if they had featured such a thing...it's a good idea! Instead of a vertical garden a wearable garden. They need to steal your idea!

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  5. I think succulents will stop being the it plant once everyone gets vertical gardening out of their system. I see them dying all over the place, so that should be soonish, right?

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    1. You sound like you are done with succulents already, true?

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  6. How fun these shows are a bountyu of inspirqaqtion and ideas...THank you for sharing...I love succulents!

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  7. Loree:

    Those living green gowns.... I should like to see the wire spray painted vibrant colours to really make them stand out! I think a fabulous shady one with ferns of all shapes and textures might fit right in here! Hmmmm. As to your question about succulents. I guess because I possess a shadier disposition, I have not really jumped on the bandwagon. One can only imagine with the drastic changes we have seen in our gardening season weather - crazy hot and humid here at least! - the succulent craze will continue for some time to come. I know we only started focusing on them in the past two years at the nursery and the response has been very positive! Many gardeners are looking for the drought tolerant plants that do not require a lot of work. Of course, our Zone also plays a distinct role, somewhat limiting what gardeners can grow. Many of the succulents that we stock will have to be over-wintered somewhere warmer and drier than our winters permit. Of course, I want to add an Agave collection to the benches next year! I myself am still only at one, but 'DL' is looking rather lonely! I should like to say shade will be the next big thing but then for me, its like stating the obvious. I guess we will have to consult of green crystal balls...... umm, that doesn't sound quite right, does it?!? LOL!

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    1. Yes the zone you garden in definitely makes the choice of succulents either wide open or very narrow. Thank god for Sempervivum!

      I hope you are able to add an Agave collection and I hope you will report on how it is received by your customers, or at least let me know. And you might be on to something with the shade plants. After all those darn Epimedium just seem to be getting more and more popular!

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  8. Hahahaha...well, I''ve never been trendy...so I'm terribly unqualified to weigh in on such things!

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    1. Aren't grasses trendy? I thought they were...

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  9. My vote goes to moss...but then that would exclude too many gardening climes. Oh, well...I'm with Scott in the "trendy" department.

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    1. Oh but just like succulents those that are really into the moss can baby it and will it to thrive through special treatment...

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  10. What fun! I love the "gowns". Extra credit to the ladies who made that idea a reality. Beautiful!

    Succulents have become a craze here too where no way, no how can the majority of them spend winters outside.

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    1. Didn't they do a great job!? I was very impressed, even better in person my photos didn't quite do them justice.

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  11. Wow never seen anything like those dresses, i keep an eye on trends but i don't follow garden trends.

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    1. As in you consciously choose not to follow them?

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  12. Those gowns are so cool! There was an unconventional materials challenge on Project Runway in Season Two, when they used floral materials and vines, etc. That first one is my favorite too. I don't really have any idea what the next it thing will be in gardening.

    So, is the Farwest show worth attending as an ordinary gardener? What exactly is it? Or is it more for the industry insiders and journalists?

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    1. The Farwest Show isn't open to the public ("ordinary gardener"), it's an industry trade show. Suppliers and wholesalers meeting with/showing their product to retailers, landscapers, garden designers. I first attended in 2009 at the invitation of the Oregon Association of Nurseries when they reached out to a small group of garden bloggers. In 2010 & 11 I was there as an attendee introducing nurseries to plantlust.com, and this year a bit of both. I hope I answered your question Alison!

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  13. Love the gowns! Much nicer than Lady Gaga's meat dress any day!

    Trends - Let's see we did lots of colorful annual bedding out back in Victorian days when I was a boy, then Gertrude got us all excited about perennials, in the 80's (1980's that is) we ripped our roses out to do big leafed tropicalismo, now it's succulents. I ran across a gardening magazine from the 40's with a photo of echiverias on the cover and an article extolling their virtues. I don't think we'll be done with succulents for a while. Maybe the next thing will be evergreens, especially conifers.(I know you're thrilled with that notion.) With age, time seems to go faster; seasons (except winter) feel much shorter. (I know that you're far to young to even contemplate such a thing.) Aging baby boomer gardeners will begin wanting a good-looking and long-lasting landscape with less effort; something that will take care of itself while they are wintering in Arizona or Florida and look marvelous when they return in the spring. Conifers fit the bill. Just a thought that popped into my head whilst looking at Barry's green crystal balls.

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    1. You just had to repeat that didn't you? Conifers certainly could be the thing...and you're right, I'm thrilled at the idea. I do appreciate that nobody mentioned "fairy gardening" the very notion of which makes me gag.

      Oh and yes there are so many * y e a r s * separating you, the senior, from me, the youngster, let's see, 5 to be exact!

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  14. Soooooo coool! How could a a girl that loves to garden not loooove those dresses, eh? It is like.....a gardener's fairytale dress! Haaaaaa!

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    1. Your comment ended up in my spam filter, weird! I wonder what it would be like to actually wear one of them?

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  15. Oh and my vote for the next big thing in gardening.....wedding succulents. Living bridal bouquets...boutenniers......centerpieces.....the whole 9.

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    1. Oh yes they certainly are popular aren't they? Almost makes me want to get married all over again.

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  16. Loree,

    Glad you got to see "the girls" at Farwest Show! We had fun making them. Sunny Girl, and perhaps the others, will reappear at the Yard, Garden & Patio Show. Linda Beutler has big plans for her in the Hardy Plant Society display. I didn't have time to get around to many of the booths at the show so appreciate the photos you took. I've seen some very creative use of plants incorporated into tables; would love to see a display incorporating the idea at Yard, Garden & Patio Show.

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    1. Yay! I am so glad to hear they'll be back...they were too cool to be a one time thing. I hope you have a long relaxing weekend planned somewhere. You must be exhausted!!!

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  17. I agree with Barry about painting the wire..interesting post.

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    1. As a lover of all things silver I'm kind of partial to the wire as is...but I can see that for some people a color would complete the look.

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  18. Mundane though it might be, I see the poultry wire petticoats as decorative bird-guards for blueberry plants. Cool idea.

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  19. Really really really like the planters made from the large saucers. I want to get one of these for my "cutting" collection. Sometimes I will have small plants or clippings and I never know what to do with them until they look decent, but I think a collection of succulent leaves would look nice in something like that.

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    1. That's a great idea Steve! The trick would be (for me at least) to get them packed in there tight enough that they look good, but yet still have room to grow.

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