Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The 2015 NWFG Show, the vendors

I’m still processing what I saw, and didn’t see, at the 2015 Northwest Flower & Garden Show. Thus I will start my coverage with a glimpse of the vendors. My thoughts on this part of the show are very straightforward, needing little contemplation.

There are three distinct areas where the vendor booths are located. The first is to the right of the display gardens as you enter the show. These vendors are the ones I think of as the nuts and bolts. Tools, services, a few with garden art, at least one book vendor, and Molbak’s is here. There also seemed to be a lot of letters and words, for the garden.

Don't want to love and laugh with your vintage tiki bar? The folks from Release The Flying Monkeys will help you to spell out what you do want to do.

On the opposite side of the show floor there's lots of garden art and a few nurseries and garden shops. Swansons seems to have a lock on the corner spot.

Seeing this I'm so glad I took the plunge and bought one of those metal containers at the Digs Inside & Out 50% off sale last fall, I've wanted one forever!

Alison had just mentioned buying a Leucothoe axillaris 'Curly Red' and I must admit I was instantly smitten with those little red curled leaves.

On to Dig, from Vashon Island. I'd been looking forward to this booth, having fallen in love with their style when I visited the nursery in 2013.

The pillow logs had me thinking back to the ceramic ones I saw in Marcia Donahue's garden. I wonder if anyone has started a log collection?

Normally I'm completely against carving in plants. Trees, bamboo, succulents - they all seem to be targets for people wanting to profess their love or tell the world they've "been there." This kind of made me smile though...

Sylvia and Ross are owners of Dig, and it was Valentines weekend...

The baby head phenomenon has been going strong for years now.

As has the popularity of succulents.

And tillandsia. When will their popularity start to wane? And what will replace them?

I do love the jack planter...

And damn but that 'Bright Star' Yucca looks good in the Pot, Inc hanging planter.

Probably much better drainage and air circulation too, maybe I need to try one, again, but this time put it in one of my hanging Pot, Inc planters...

On to the Ravenna Gardens booth, another favorite...

I almost grabbed one of the bright red tillandsia, but I managed to resist.

Is that 3-tier stand made from old metal lamp shades? I think it might be, clever....

That container again!

And those little vases, love them. In fact I carried one around for a bit before realizing I was going to their actual store in U-Village later that evening. I decided to wait and see what the selection was like there.

This was the only booth in the "vintage market" that I took a photo of, I liked it very much. The nice fellow manning the space gave me a business card, which I unfortunately seem to have lost.

This booth, for Christianson’s Nursery, was front and center as you entered the 3rd vendor area, the one that used to be primarily the plant market but is shrinking to the point it is laughable. Thank god for Christianson’s!

The space devoted to the vintage area (which to me belongs at an antiques show - not a garden show) the "garden wars" (I didn't venture over but there was a crowd gathered, it seemed to be a reality television sort of competition) and other "extras" seem to be increasing while the actual plant buying opportunities decrease. It's a bloody shame. Why can't the show organizers make it easy for plant vendors to come to the show? Isn't it really all about the plants?

Speaking of the plants...this one, Corokia cotoneaster, seemed to be having a moment in the spotlight. Both Swansons and Christianson’s had it available for sale and I spotted it in a couple of gardens. It was fun listening to the people who were just discovering it for the first time. Some loved it, many thought it ugly (I'm in the love category, and already have a couple in my garden).

Another plant I was happy to see getting a little exposure, Sophora prostrata 'Little Baby' (worst name ever) on the floor to the left of the shelves. Hooray these people brought more than just flowering bulbs and hellebores!

This bad boy caught my eye, even tucked up on the top of the shelf those big leaves called out to me.

Nice, right?

Here's the deal. The Christianson’s tag says hardy to 20F...(not gonna be happy in my garden long term)...

Whereas the Monrovia tag says Zone 7, 0-10F. Is someone being a little optimistic? Dan Hinkley I'm looking at you...

Peter reports he's lost one. Others (like Heidi, owner of Dragonfly Farms Nursery) report similar results.

So of course I bought it anyway! Here are my purchases, enjoying a little light from the window of our hotel room.

This guy might be confined to a container, or maybe I'll be optimistic (like Dan) and put him in the ground.

Not your normal Muehlenbeckia, this is 'Big Leaf'...now that I'm wise to the ways of the wire vine it will definitely be going in a container. I'm thinking maybe one of my circle pots.

I bought a Leucothoe axillaris 'Curly Red'...

And one of those tiny vases I was admiring from Ravenna Gardens...

That's my haul, and our view...which really was quite nice, especially at night.

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

41 comments:

  1. I wonder if it is the show organizers that are reducing the number of plant vendors or are the vendors themselves deciding it's not worth it?

    Nice preview -- looking forward to the rest.

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    1. As I understand it they're being priced out. So yes, not worth it - but if the show organizers did more to entice them/made it easier for them to attend...

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  2. Love the lampshade planter. And I like to take a little credit for endorsing your purchase of that metal container. I used my old Jedi mind trick: I'm going to buy that if you don't.

    Nice reporting, Danger.

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    1. Ha! Yes, you're right. I wanted it (forever, as I may have mentioned) but probably wouldn't have kept my death grip on it (and actually gave up the cash) if not for your interest. Now come clean - would you really have bought it if I didn't?

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  3. Same issue in SF Loree, quite a few missing plant vendors the last couple years , though to be honest that part of the show has been in a shrink mode since it vacated the Cow Palace. I still find stuff to buy, but not as much as in the old days.

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    1. This year has new owners right? Maybe there's hope? Will you be going?

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  4. What you said in response to Alan's comment is exactly what I thought. The gadget vendors no doubt have more $$$ to spend on booths than the plant vendors. A real pity.

    The show didn't seem very crowded judging from your photos, or you very skillfully kept people out of your photos.

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    1. I took most of these shots right after opening on Thursday morning. I was there early (7:30!) for a "tweet-up" and thus had an advantage.

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  5. Hmm…I have a lot to say about the show, my first visit there but I think I'll save it for my blog post coming in a week or two…nice pics, you got to see a lot of great things that were long sold by the time I go there on Saturday…I almost bought one of those vases at Ravenna - had it in my hand for a long time too.

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    1. Can't wait to read your "first timer's" critique! Did David go too?

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    2. He saw me off at the nearest Taco Del Mar…hahhaha

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  6. It's so disheartening about the plant vendors. I was very tempted by those vases at Ravenna too. And...this is quite the switch...me influencing YOU to buy a plant. I'm usually such a copycat, I buy whatever you or Peter are buying.

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    1. Your gift of the dark ajuga makes a huge statement in my garden. I haven't yet started pulling it apart to start new patches, I thought I'd give it a year to get settled first.

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  7. That vase is fab, reminds me of a carved dried gourd too. We've tried P. laetus too and didn't sail through past its first winter outside in our garden. Gorgeous plant though and might get another one in the spring. The good news is though is that it has a look alike that is a lot hardier and grows fine in several gardens here in not so mild areas too - P. arboreus. Keep an eye on this one :)

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    1. Got it, Pseudopanax arboreus...on the look out!

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  8. I so enjoyed touring the Show with you. Every blogger 'sees' a little differently. I enjoy the text that accompanies your photos. I was just at a blog where I couldn't 'hear' a thing because the blogger just presented the photos mostly without comment. I need thoughts. Thanks.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the visit Jean, there will be more and with thoughts! It would kill me to have to keep quiet about these things.

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  9. The show is always fun but, like you, I'd like to see more plant vendors again. It would be great if the show could give a special rate to vendors selling at least 75% plants. It is not as convenient to shop for plants at the show, even with the holding area, as it is at a nursery so some folks simply don't buy as much as they might at a retail outlet with carts. A price break might help!

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    1. I'm not buying that non-convenience thing. I saw plenty of people hauling around awkward art and vintage stuff. If you make it available they will buy. A special rate is a great idea!

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  10. I always enjoy a peep at non- uk Garden Shows. I love the vintage stuff but I agree that plants should be the main attraction , not 'stuff'! Some interesting purchases made ! can't wait for our season to start!

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    1. It's interesting to me that our season starts so much earlier than yours. Then again aren't most of your shows outdoors?

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  11. Living novelties? That heart shape is cute and they are grown for the purpose so it's okay now and then. I have noticed fewer plant vendors at our shows as well, it must be trend.

    Love the little pot, so perfect.

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    1. As I was uploading the photos for this post I was kind of bummed I didn't buy one of those heart shaped opuntia for Andrew. What was I thinking? (no carving though, not in this garden)

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    2. If I'm looking at the right photo, that's not an Opuntia; I believe it's Hoya kerrii.

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    3. Well duh, thank you DC! I should have known that.

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  12. I'm waiting and hoping Pug and Husky heads replace the baby heads. Or Lab and Corgi heads.

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    1. That would be fun! All four please.

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  13. So even in the States, where so many houses have gardens, plants are not that important. I didn´t know that. It looks as if there still are many interesting things.

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    1. The Portland show (weekend after this one) has always had a bigger emphasis on plants, then again it has always been owned and operated by the Oregon Assoc of Nurseries. This is it's first year under new ownership...I worry.

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  14. For some reason I keep seeing this as the "2015 NSFW Show".

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    1. Well I guess it depends on where you work?

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  15. The plant offerings at our "local" SoCal show (in Orange County) has been very disappointing the last couple of years but I keep hoping for more (even if it is housed inside a very large shopping mall). The plant vendors have reduced significantly in number - some of the best ones (like Desert to Jungle) no longer exist and more and more space has been given to a) orchid growers and b) fairy garden dealers. While I like orchids, some kind of balance needs to be struck (the orchid show used to be a separate event) and I think the fairy garden stuff has had its day.

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    1. Fairy garden stuff...indeed, that's a trend that could be done yesterday as far as I'm concerned.

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  16. Lovely buys! I had to wonder, hypothetically, if you were a fan of garden art, which letters you would pick out and put in your garden. I could see a chartreuse or orange or galvanised D and G, placed together in a nook somewhere..

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    1. I think I'd have to spell out the entire word "danger"...if for no other reason that to cause some folks to wonder why (like some of my neighbors who don't know about my alias).

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    2. Haha good one! That reminds me of a sign that I sometimes walk past in the neighbourhood. There's an orange tree in someone's front yard (not fenced) that's always laden with fruit, and they've stuck a little sign with a handwritten warning: POISON SPRAY. Next to it there's a hand drawn skull and cross bones. Surely they must realise that people wouldn't believe they've poisoned the oranges to keep them away, when it means they also won't be able to eat them themselves? People are funny.

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  17. Oh! I spotted a Kalanchoe orgyalis in two of those pictures! One of those would have come home with me. Probably a couple tillandsias, too. I've never heard of Christianson's. It looks like a good nursery. I'll have to check them out sometime.

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    1. I thought of you when I saw that plant at the Dig booth. In fact I planned to go back and buy it and a swell dyckia they had. Don't ask me what happened. Was I blinded by the big leaves of the pseudopanax? Perhaps. Just generally loopy and over-stimulated? Definitely.

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  18. Baby head phenomenon? I take back everything I ever said about fairy gardening.

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    1. No baby heads in Virginia? Les you're missing out!

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  19. With this mild weather I'm getting that plant buying itch. The nurseries are lagging behind like it was any old year. Best I could do at PDX Nursery was some dahlia tubers and some seeds...so I always enjoy a vicarious spree.

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