Thursday, September 1, 2016

Farwest, the 2016 version

Tis that time again, or rather it was. Last week was the annual Oregon Association of Nurseries Farwest Trade Show. This isn't your average garden show, those who come expecting to see display gardens, and buy plants, would be extremely disappointed.

Instead it's where growers, retailers and wholesalers meet to see what's new and write orders for the coming year. I love checking it all out, and socializing with the interesting folks in town for the show. Inevitably a few things capture my imagination though, like this support for growing a vine.

Isn't it fabulous? I think it was at the Garden Gallery Iron Works booth. I must track it down!

In the past I've been somewhat critical of the New Varieties Showcase. Why? Well when I see the word "new" I want NEW, not "slightly different." Well this year the smart people at the OAN invited me to be a part of the selection process, and now I see the whole thing very differently.

Previously (2014) I was one of the judges for the showcase, that was hard, but being part of the section committee that determines what even makes it into the showcase? Even harder, but oh so rewarding. The list of submissions was long, very long, but my fellow committee members took the time to really evaluate every plant — asking questions and reviewing each one's individual merits. Like for this variegated Hydrangea vine, Schizophragma elliptifolium 'MonHart'...

Where I would have been tempted to go through the list and quickly dismiss many of the offerings, these people carefully considered the time, labor, and money that went into development and breeding — and balanced that against the needs and desires of the retailers and gardening public. I was impressed with their passion and professionalism.

There were two dark-leaved Crepe Myrtles in the show. Lagerstromia 'Midnight Magic' and L. 'Sunset Magic'...sadly I can't remember which one this is! They were both lovely.

How creative is this? No self-respecting Hellebore is going to be blooming in August, so laminated photos of the blooms stand-in. If you're curious about how this year's judges rated the introductions (or want a list of everything that was in show) you can find that here.

Moving on...Tillandsias made a big appearance at the show again, thanks to Plantaflor.

And while you can't buy plants during the show, those in the know come back on Saturday as the whole thing is winding down. Many vendors don't want to haul things home so they're happy to sell to you, often at great prices. I ended up with a few of the seedling size Xerographica...

One of those Capitata guzmanioides and a Straminea thickleaf (not pictured).

Hey, they're "stealing" my idea! (just kidding, but I did do it way back in March).

A pink Canna! ('Toucan Rose')

Cotinus coggygria 'Old Fashioned' — isn't the color sublime?

A longtime crush, Prunus persica, 'Bonfire' dwarf peach. I had the chance to bring this baby home, at a very good price.

I talked myself out of it though, with a little help from a friend.

And didn't even ask about aquiring the green one. Oh such strength in the face of temptation!

The Little Prince of Oregon booth always rocks. This year though, it was really rocking...

How fun right?

If your weekend is going to be spent a tradeshow, well then you might as well be having some fun.

I failed to get a shot of Ryan and Mark with their fabulous wigs on. Visit the LPO Facebook page to see a couple of photos.

These Rudbekea begged to be petted, just like a shaggy dog.

Thankfully the kind people at the Trees Northwest booth didn't mind.

Even if they did pretend to at first (and scare me, just a bit).

This company, Walla Walla Nursery Co, always puts together a great booth.

I couldn't find a name on this plant, but I wish my Hibiscus had dark foliage.

There was a train too!

This combo at the Suncrest Nurseries booth made me drool. How perfect! (Yucca aloifolia 'Purpurea' with Melianthus major 'Purple Haze').

Pewter Pillar Winter's Bark (aka Drimys winteri var. chiloense)

I don't think I've ever seen one of these in Oregon, let alone in bloom! A Jacaranda, this one Jacaranda 'Sakai01' P.P.A.F. — a dwarf.

Always love the Bamboo Gardens booth.

The "lit from within" bamboo columns are a favorite.

Youngblood Nursery always does a great job too.

They had another new (to me at least) Canna flower color, I didn't get the name on this one but like it even better than the pink one previously pictured (of course).

Wow! What fabulously obnoxious (in a good way) foliage! Hydrangea 'Lemon Wave'

Skagit Gardens was celebrating 50 years...

Nice work!

And just in case you needed a reminder this is an industry trade show...

Finally the other booth where I made a few Saturday purchases, Casa Flora. Because (say it with me now) "ferns are the new succulents"... (meaning the new "it" plant)...

Asplenium bulbiferum

Aka "mother fern"...

Pretty cool, no? Baby ferns all over the fronds. It's tropical though so no planting it (or the babies) in the ground.

I also scored this Cyathea cooperii 'Brentwood' (aka Australian tree fern), which desperately needs to be repotted.

And that's a wrap on the 2016 OAN Farwest Show...

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Wow! Always love your posts about the Farwest show. Actually thought about going myself this year but didn't. Wow, the restraint in not taking home that peach. You've liked that for a couple of years now. The Little Prince booth and the wigs are totally tubular! So much great stuff! Thanks for taking us along!

    1. Peach = even though it's a dwarf it will get big...AND...what little quick research I did told me I would be inviting a insect/pest magnet into the garden and I don't need that!

  2. Seems like fun -- a tradeshow unlike any I've been to before (so much greenery!)

    I'm glad you showed the second canna, because the pink blooming one was not a favorite (to put it kindly). Good restraint too. :)

    1. Not a lover of pink flowers in general or just that one?

  3. I don't think succulents ever became big enough here for ferns or anything else to replace them.

    1. I mean that more as an overarching industry trend.

  4. Love this post. I want all the rusty metal things in the first photo; very cool vine support! I'm not a fan of committees, but I think the selection committee would be a very cool experience. So glad you were invited.
    Looks like you scored some great bargains. Several years ago I succumbed to buying a purple-leaved, weeping peach with stunning dark pink (not sickly pink) flowers. I knew better. It grew to a nice size but succumbed to borers; a costly mistake that I won't be making again.
    Love that Cotinus!

    1. The selection committee was fun Tim, I love seeing the behind the scenes working of things. And you hit "the nail on the head" for why the peach stayed behind. I'm so bad at dealing with the pests I have, I certainly don't need more!

  5. Some cool stuff. The Yucca with purple tones looks nifty with the purple toned Melianthus, the shaggy Rudbeckias.

    Those corrugated metal containers, already here, need the right style house or building. Ferns...not here, at least not until the drought is long over.

    Thanks for the insider views. Interesting to see what the industry people see.

    1. I think the metal (ya, they've been here for a few years too) looks best when there is a lot of plants obscuring them. Like my stock tanks.

      As for the ferns, definitely not for everyone! (just like succulents) I'm saying that more as an industry-wide phenomenon...all areas will of course be different in how that's accepted. Ferns as houseplants for example, like many people have to treat succulents as houseplants.

  6. Great tour, Loree. Love all the pics and I agree with wanting "new" not "slightly different"...interested to hear your take on the selection process in more detail someday. Sorry to have missed it this year but it looks like a good show as always.

    1. There's always next year Tamara! (unlike for the YGP Show...)

  7. The Cotinus 'Old Fashioned' is gorgeous! And that Jacaranda!!! I'm so excited to see that it was at the show. Maybe it will appear in a few nurseries around here next year. I would absolutely go to the trouble to grow it in a container and protect it during winter. Once again, I'm kicking myself for missing out, but I was busy at home.

    1. As you probably saw from the tag, that Jacaranda was in the Monrovia booth.

  8. Even without display gardens or plant sales, this looks like a fun event. I'm glad you shared it. I was already seriously considering a crape myrtle - now I'm holding out for one with dark leaves.

    1. Did you see Hoov's post about hers?

  9. I've heard so many good things about Farwest, I just wish it wasn't so FAR! Would love to attend sometime. And yes, absolutely love the color on that Cotinus! Wouldn't that look right at home among the tropicals...

    1. Get yourself out here John! It's great fun. BTW Riz and I were talking about you...

  10. Great pictures, and story line! I have had that dwarf Jacaranda on my Monrovia Love list for some time now. But never found it available locally nor for purchase online shipped to my local Monrovia nursery. I use to pick seed pods from the full size tree as well as many other species when visiting my late uncle and aunt who lived in San Diego or when on Navy training trips to that city. I never could get them to blooming size, but enjoyed their foliage. So like Evan I hope it shows at local nurseries soon.


    1. I'm always happy to hear of another person going to great lengths to enjoy a loved plant that's not hardy/available in their climate!!!


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