Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Farwest Show — 2017-style

Last week was the annual Farwest nursery industry trade show put on by the Oregon Association of Nurseries. For the uninitiated it's not really a garden show in the usual sense. There are no display gardens, and you don't buy plants, gloves, or other garden accessories — that is unless you're a business placing orders for the following year. I enjoy going to catch up with familiar faces and see if I can spot any exciting new plants or coming trends...

However that said, if you're in the right place and the right time, persistent, and come back at closing on Friday you might be able to pick up a few plants on the cheap, if the business that brought them isn't interested in hauling them back home again. Last year I was offered a killer deal on this ornamental peach (Prunus persica, 'Bonfire') from Bountiful Farms.

It was hard to pass it up, but I did. Seeing it again this year I swooned — but knew I'd made the right decision.

Oh! Here's a new trend. Ipomoea Christmas trees! I like it! (and kid, I don't think they were really suggesting these as holiday decor)

The Little Prince of Oregon booth is always an award winner. This year they knocked it out of the park...

Ha! Sometimes I crack myself up...

Tillandsia filled baseball mitts...

And baseball Kokedama completed the scene, oh plus there were cracker jacks and peanuts to snack on if you were getting hangry.

Chilopsis linearis 'Bubba'

Had I realized this is hardy here in Portland I would have definitely tried to make this one mine...

Over at the Walla Walla Nursery Co booth...

Were these succulent Christmas trees.

I'm not typically a fan of crazy succulent creations...

But I thought their use of Aloes as stars was quite inspired.

This. Well I just don't know how to feel. It's marketed as Kiwi Gem™ Shrub Panax by Monrovia (it's a Pseudopanax laetus). A great plant! But...

They're saying it's hardy to Zone 7, which would mean it's good to 0F...ZERO DEGREES people. I know folks in Zone 8 that have lost it over winter. Where did you get that Zone 7 rating? Send me one and I'll happily trial it in my Zone 8 garden and let you know how it does! (I do have one, but have kept it in a container, afraid to lose it in a bad winter).

Also at Monrovia is this Aralia cordata 'Gotemba' — as I was admiring it I was told it was not 'Sun King'.

The difference being that 'Gotemba' can take some sun. On the left is one that had been exposed to the rays, on the right is one that had been more shaded.

Moving on....Anna (Flutter & Hum) mentioned the show lights in her Farwest review, I've both loved and hated them over the years but really enjoyed how they helped illuminate the tall bamboo in the Bamboo Garden Nursery booth.

The Sunset WesternGarden Collection booth was a highlight for me — again for the mix of plants and people.

I first met Sunset's Janet Sluis at the SF Garden Bloggers Fling in 2013, when we visited the Sunset Headquarters in Menlo Park. It was great to reconnect with her here in Portland, where she was manning the booth. She recently sent me a Mahonia 'Marvel' (Mahonia x media 'Marvel' PP27425) to trial (that's it on the left — and there will be more photos from my garden, soon). The gorgeous plant on the right is Platinum Beauty™ Lomandra (Lomandra longifolia ‘Roma13’ PP25962), and the way it moved in the slightest breeze was magic.

Janet sent me home with a Coolvista™ Dianella (Dianella revoluta ‘Allyn-Citation’ PP27348) to trial — sorry about the lousy photo. It' evergreen to Zone 9 but root hardy to Zone 8, I look forward to seeing what it can do.

And a gorgeous Clarity Blue™ Dianella (Dianella hybrid 'DP401' PPAF). How fabulous is that blue???

I also got to fondle this ‘Meerlo’ Lavender (Lavandula allardii 'Meerlo' PP25559), with it's AMAZINGLY fragrant foliage.

And swoon over this...(any guesses?)...

Podocrapus! It's Roman Candle™ Podocarpus (Podocarpus macrophyllus 'Miu' PPAF), sexy right?

The final segment of my Farwest experience was walking the show floor with Sean Hogan (Cistus Nursery) while he pointed out a few of his favorite things. Plants and people — always a great combination.

Weather Diary, Aug 28: Hi 98, Low 62/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. I always enjoy your coverage of the Farwest show and someday will actually make it down there. It's amazing how Little Prince keeps coming up with cool new ideas for their display. Having done my own trial with Pseudopanax laetus during a relatively mild winter, I don't believe it could be hardy in zone 7 unless it's root hardy and comes back in places where the springs are warm. I've seen them at nurseries where they've dragged them under cover for the coldest part of winter and they still look a bit tattered. Being hardy and thriving might be different things. Sounds like you had a blast at the show and I'm looking forward to seeing where y'all went field tripping.

    1. I didn't join in the "tripping" this time. The spring event (to coincide with Hortlandia) is a must for me, but I feel less enthused to go nursery hopping in late August. Plus my mother-in-law was visiting...

  2. Thanks for sharing shots of the new Sunset offerings. I picked up one Lomandra 'Platinum Beauty' last month (and will be getting more once I find another supplier) but that Dianella 'Clarity Blue' has appeal too.

    1. I was really surprised to learn that one was a Dianella. Obviously I have a lot more to learn about that species.

  3. I think you have a better chance of finding new intros in your area at local nurseries. Trendy stuff is usually mail order for me. But I have been hitting nurseries for August purchases but not managinging to get anything on sale.

    1. Better than at the show you mean? But these are the wholesalers that sell to the local nurseries. I've got a few plants in waiting to plant, it's just been so hot and dry that I've been hesitant to do so.

  4. I might keep an eye out for that Aralia. I was thinking I might get a 'Sun King,' but 'Gotemba' looks like a winner too, especially for a sunny spot.

    1. I don't think you can go wrong with either of them.

  5. Wow, I'd be overwhelmed by the many choices! You must be very strong. ;)

    1. Hmmm, not so much really. The fact most of them weren't available to me (a lot of booths are sold as one piece, more than I need!!!) helped.

  6. Nice!!! I imagine we'll see all of these plants in nurseries next year (some are already available). Loved that Lomandra!

  7. I have Chilopsis linearis 'Lucretia Hammilton'. I kept in a container, protected last winter then saw a post on FB by a PNW gardener who is growing it in the ground. Hers is about five times the size of mine. Lesson learned... plant that baby outside! ... Lucky you getting freebies to trial!

  8. I like the sports-themed plant displays.

  9. I wanted to go to Far West near the end to see if I could get any deals, but I didn't realize until we were all off on our nursery tripping that it was in the process of ending. Probably better that I wasn't tempted. I spent enough at the nurseries!

    I hope your new Dianella succeed. I don't think they have a good track record in the PNW, though Plant Delights has grown one or two successfully (or were growing them, when I was there). I think good winter drainage and summer water are key. Hopefully these ones will prove hardy! Especially that Clarity Blue.

  10. The humor displayed by Little Prince at every opportunity gets me every time. It will be interesting to see which of these new offerings catch on. I'm loving the Lavender.


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