Monday, August 23, 2021

Farwest 2021, the show goes on...

Back in the day I made two annual trips to the Oregon Convention Center; in February for the (now defunct) Yard, Garden and Patio Show and then in August for the Oregon Association of Nurseries Farwest Show. One day of each show I allowed myself the luxury of parking at the Convention Center, arriving early was the only way to secure one of these coveted spots. I did not arrive early for last week's 2021 Farwest Show, and yet...

Okay, in the interest of full disclosure if I turned back the other direction (towards a lower level of parking) there was this... 

But still, I knew this was not going to be a normal show. I'd already talked with friends—both attendees and vendors—who had decided not to go because COVID cases are ramping up here in Oregon and across the country. 

I seriously thought about staying home, but curiosity got the better of me. I did my ankle PT exercises and headed out to do a quick check on the state of the nursery business, and I'm glad I did. 

I was happy to see the traditional saguaro topiary at the Bountiful Farms booth.

The fellow manning the booth was demonstrating one of the alternate mask wearing techniques I would see many folks adopting at the show, this the "nose out" variation. 

Soul Of The Party 

These folks are definitely on trend, the houseplant trend that is.

They need to work on their customer service though. One of the booth reps walked up to me and handed me a card, asking what I sold. I said that I was a garden writer, "I guess that means I sell words." And with that she turned away from me. I guess she didn't understand the power of words?

More houseplants...

There are hiring shortages everywhere it seems.

At the Iseli Nursery booth, just behind the hiring sign, was this. I would never have thought of this combination but it works.

The Great Plant Picks/Miller Garden team (L-R): Del Brummet, Rick Peterson, Richie Steffen. It was great to chat with these guys and finally meet Del in person.

The Youngblood Nursery booth always has a beautiful selection of plants.

I did my usual swooning over the dark peach tree foliage, I think this beauty was at the J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co booth.

The Pix Zee Miniature Peach is pretty fab too.

I really wanted to play in the pumice.

Doesn't that look like fun?

I wonder if this little guy got to? Maybe too young. His mom (?) demonstrates another way of wearing a mask.

More houseplants, and I guess nobody told this guy that indoor masking is once again mandatory in Oregon.

There were vendors that went the route of an un-staffed booth.

And out of state vendors that weren't able to do so.

Ditto for the international companies.

Hmmm. Someone needs to brush up on their geography.

This booth was fun.

Yes, they sell cuttings.

And a few rooted bits...

A local nursery that has both garden-plants and houseplants. I thought it was interesting they'd gone with a houseplant theme for the show.

There's always at least one vehicle that I crush on at these shows. I would use this to work my estate garden in Santa Barbara—note there is plant hauling capability you can't see because of the generator box.

This booth had a planting station where you could plant up your own little succulent.

Now that's an instant impact rhododendron!

Botanical Interests! Fun memories of touring their facility during the 2019 Garden Bloggers Fling.

Oh that agapanthus!

Agapanthus 'Twister'

Mangave madness...

Mangave 'Falling Waters' 

This poor guy was giving a very energetic talk to an audience of four.

The New Varieties Showcase...

I guess this is a good time to give a nod to just how much the Oregon Association of Nurseries did to make this years show feel safe. In addition to the masks at the door, there was also hand sanitizer available throughout and tables were spaced appropriately to support distancing. The fact some people couldn't get on board with the masking mandate shouldn't take away from the OAN's work to protect everyone.

There were several caladium introductions in the New Varieties Showcase...

This one was gorgeous! From the marketing materials: "Caladium hortulanum / 'Burning Heart' Caladium is bronze fancy leaf variety with pink to orange spots and represents a completely new color of caladiums. It scored high in trials around the country. 'Burning Heart' is intermediate to tall in height. It works well in combination and patio planters. 'Burning Heart' works well in landscapes either in the shade or full sun however it's full rich color is expressed best in sun. It's unique color compliments almost any other plant in patio, combination planters or landscapes. Introduced by Proved Winners North America LLC."

A compact amsonia sounds like a very good thing! "Amsonia 'String Theory' can be described as a compact version of the industry standard Amsonia hubrichtii. The compact habit is covered with light periwinkle blue flowers in late spring, flowering later than 'Storm Cloud.' While other Amsonia can often display chlorotic leaves, 'String Theory displays healthy dark green leaves throughout the summer. We have observed the same brilliant golden orange fall color as you would expect from A. hubrichtii. Introduced by Walters Gardens/Proven Winners. Hybridized by Hans Hansen at Walters Gardens in Zeeland, Michigan."

The last booth I walked by belonged to Little Prince of Oregon and I happened to be there as they were posing with their awards for the OAN photographer... 

They always do a wonderful job for the show.

Looks like they got the memo about houseplants being the hot commodity as well...

A note for those of you who follow my blog via email subscription. Blogger (Google) announced earlier this year they were discontinuing the follow by email option in July. Here it is late August and those emails are still being sent, surprising, but I expect them to end any day now. I have not yet migrated my subscribers to a new service. I hope to do so soon, but I thought it was also worth warning you that your emails may end abruptly. I’ll still be posting here Monday, Wednesday, and Friday though, so click on over here anytime for the latest! 

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. I got to go on Wednesday with some co-workers (my first time). I noticed that caladium too and thought it was pretty spectacular. I forgot to vote for it though! That no-mask guy comes in our nursery a lot (I forget his name). He is so nice and I thought their display was impressive.

    1. I did like the Cascade Tropicals display a lot, but standing out at the front of the booth with no mask on talking to folks just seemed like a big bad NO.

  2. Kudos for the OAP for putting on their show and the vendors who attended. Frustrating for those who don't wear their masks properly. What's the point then? I was so hoping to come to the Seattle show again this year but it's not looking good for even crossing the border.

    1. Those boxes of cuttings are clever. Imagine how many you could easily bring home in a bag without the weight.

    2. Yes I am wondering how the NWFG Fest organizers are feeling about things. So many unknowns to factor in.

  3. Actually, cases are not ramping up around the country. I have been keeping track of cases since July 12th and they have hovered around 10% of the US Population. That means around 90% of the U.S. populace HAVE NOT contracted CV-19. Deaths have remained steady at .18 (.0018). There was a very slight "tick" last week that amounted to 0.02680222 (in cases) and 0.05555556 (in deaths)
    Not to make light of people dying but this is not a case of "ramping up around the country". The MSM is lying to you.

    If anyone is interested, I am keeping this page updated on a regular basis:

    1. When I said "ramping up" I was specifically thinking about all the nurses I've heard, or read, interviewed lately who are distraught over our (Oregon's) hospitals filling up. Worse now than at the previous high. In addition, I know more than one person whose (nonCovid) medical condition required care they would have normally received quickly, but instead they have had to wait because there simply was no place that had the space to treat them.

    2. And there is this...

  4. I'd have been all over the succulent cuttings display! Lots of other great things to see (including your future vehicle!) but I was sorry to see the lax mask compliance. Why people don't understand the concept of "public health" - or how the prevalence of such behavior contributes to the difficulties businesses (including those at trade shows) are having in springing back - is beyond me.

  5. I've never seen cuttings for sale. Jealous! But I am really glad i am not that poor guy who spent all that time preparing a talk and has only a few attendees. We are under city and county mask orders and everyone I've seen has been wearing one — properly.

    1. Everyone I've seen out and about in my normal daily existence has been wearing them properly as well, thank goodness.

  6. You should have played in the pumice. ;-) I'm glad you had a nice time. Those cutting samples are amazing!

    1. Unfortunately the ankle injury makes getting down on the ground and back up again difficult. Otherwise I would have!

  7. Some beautiful plants and apparently some wonderful growers and sellers out there. Thanks for sharing your visit.

  8. The sparsity in the show was a little bit sad, but all considers, kudos for getting it on in the first place. For the jerks "who couldn't get on board" I wish there was a fine for cheating!
    I was thrilled with the "cuttings" table: what a splendid idea! It reminded me of a bead store. Did you get anything?

    1. No, nothing came home with me. None of the plants can leave their displays until the last day of the show (it's a wholesale/growers event, not a retail show) and I wasn't feeling the pull to go back Friday afternoon for the great purge.

  9. All my fall trade shows are still virtual this year --except one distributor who decided to have an in-person show in Florida during hurricane season , not to mention other issues going on there.We decided against that one! I hope Farwest was a good show for the growers and attendees that braved it.


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