Monday, February 27, 2023

Seminars and plant shopping at the NW Flower & Garden Fest

I kicked off my 2023 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival experience on Thursday, Feb 16th. I was there bright and early to hear Eric Hsu (plant information coordinator at Chanticleer Garden) talk about vines. Later I listened to Gary Lewis (author of The Complete Book of Ground Covers and owner of Phoenix Perennials) talk about, you guessed it, groundcovers. Oh and look at that! Then it was my turn to speak...

Thank you to everyone who came to my talk, it was a wonderful turnout! 

Oh look, there's my book hanging out next to my friend Lorene's book...

During his presentation Eric called vines "social climbers" (love that) and reminded us that, like toddlers, vines need training. He also reminded me that I simply must find Kintzley's Ghost honeysuckle. 

The show this year featured more plant vendors than I'd seen there in a long while, most of them selling houseplants (cause they're hot, and easy to haul home from the show). This large display was from the Peace Love and Happiness Club.

I found this part of their booth a little disturbing. I assume it was to keep people from pinching pieces of the trendy plants?

The Alpine Gardens booth, which was obviously a lot more than alpines.

Including some very tempting bromeliads/tillandsia

This cutey in the Sunnyside Nursery booth took kokedama to a new place, pineapples! (that's Cryptanthus 'Elaine' btw).

Rita Lee's was up from Oregon, I should have waited until Hortlandia to buy from them, but grabbed a Deuterocohnia brevifolia for a project I'm working on.

Christianson's always has a fabulous selection of plants and a pretty booth.

And who can resist the Andy's Orchids booth? Certainly not I.

A couple of the houseplant vendors came with their tricked-out trailers...

And the Plant Farm came all the way from Spokane!

I got excited when I saw this vendor on the show's Instagram feed

In person I realized they weren't selling the sweet leaf designs, just the trellis. Bummer.

I was also interested in the artwork of lilbitgarden, that's moss!

So what did I buy? Well I had to have this Vriesea saundersii. I have one that I was given when I toured the Amazon Spheres growing greenhouses back in 2019 (it's still alive!) but haven't seen any others available since then. I love the subtle coloration on this plant.

Yes it was more than I should have spent (not telling how much more), but hey... it's been a tough winter.

This was my Andy's Orchids purchase, a very lush and blooming (so many buds have opened since I took this photo) Maxillaria variabilis...

Aren't those adorable little blooms?

That was to be it, until on my last day at the show made the mistake of walking back thru the Andy's Orchids offerings and noticing the word pyrrosia—you know I am a freak for pyrrosia! This was an entirely different species than the ones I'd seen before, so... it became mine.

Pyrrosia nummularifolia, from Thailand.

Having spotted one pyrrosia I had to look around to make sure I wasn't leaving another behind, thus a Pyrrosia piloselloides (Laos) also came home with me.

More pyrrosia is always a good thing!

I also want to share the exciting news that I finally installed a new subscription link here on the blog—thanks to Tamara for the inspiration!

Blogger dropped the service last summer and those who follow danger garden posts by email were left in the dark, so to speak. The list of verified subscribers from the old service has been transferred to the new service—but if you haven't received an email from them just click here (or on the link below, or over in the sidebar) and sign up! Yay! 

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Friday, February 24, 2023

Winter, again

Our winter storm forecasts here in Portland are not easy. We have multiple influencing factors that come into play—the Columbia River Gorge and the cold of Canada and Eastern WA/OR that funnels thru it, the mountain and valley topography, the proximity of the Pacific Ocean, etc—and any one of them can throw a forecast. Still we, I, hope for some sort of known. I study ugly forecasts and triangulate. Leading up to this current winter nightmare, the weather forecasters were quite honest about the fact they had no idea exactly what was going to happen at any location. A dusting to 3, or maybe 5, inches of snow was the oft quoted idea. 

In the Portland metro area the snow started to fall (and more importantly stick) around noon on Wednesday the 21st, it kept on falling ALL DAY. The total here at my place in NE Portland was somewhere over 11". The official recording location for Portland called it at 10.8" which is the second largest one day snowfall in our history, the first dates back to 1943. As I write this on Thursday evening the temperature is at 26 F and falling, tonight's low is predicted to be 18, I hope not any lower. The snow is going to be here for awhile...

I took this picture at around 11am on Wednesday. Precipitation was falling, but still mainly as rain. I was happy to see the first orange blooms start to open on the Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Akebono’ but worried what the coming cold was going to do to them.

Just around 12:30 in the afternoon I snapped this shot out the front door to encourage Andrew to consider leaving work early. Once snow starts sticking on the roadways Portland's commute becomes a crawl.

By 4pm things were starting to get serious. People who weren't already on the road—or better yet at home, like Andrew thankfully was—were facing a snarled lengthy drive, or worse. Wet, heavy, snow was coating everything and plants were beginning to bend.

I took this photo at 1pm...

By 4pm it looked very different.

Just before 5pm...

And on Thursday (the morning after) at 11am...that's a lot of snow. 

Back garden photos, taken between 4 and 5pm Wednesday. Black mondo grass under a callistemon...

Fascicularia pitcairnifolia that I neglected to pull and tuck in somewhere warmer.

Standing next to the shade pavilion greenhouse and looking NE across the back garden.

Out in the front garden now, same timeframe.

Agave 'Baccarat'

The branches and flowers of Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Nanjing Gold'.

Agave ovatifolia

Yucca rostrata

The pair...

Austin's branches (Arctostaphylos x 'Austin Griffiths' that is).

And looking into the over-planted middle section of the front garden.

Opuntia spikes! The snow covered version.

This next batch of photos is from around 9pm when I went out (once again) to clean the snow off the split bamboo poly tunnels, so they didn't collapse under the weight of the snow. Here's the view stepping out the back door. That's bamboo bent over in front of the garage.

I started this post with an image of an orange Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Akebono’ bloom just opening. Here's that same shrub laying on the ground, bent under the weight of the snow.

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) was also bent, the whole plant looking ready to snap.

Here's the fence line at the north end of the patio, I added a bit of orange to help you see the snow built up on top of the fence.

The same NE view that I shared a few photos up, about 4 hours later.

Snow on the wire trellis.

Cleaning the snow off the four split-bamboo poly tunnels is why I was out here, that's one of the tunnels below. The palm fronds are blurry because the wind was blowing.

The sidewalk to the front door.

Arctostaphylos bent over Dasylirion wheeleri, my last shot before going inside for the night.

Blue sky! What a difference a day makes. It's now Thursday morning and the snow has stopped falling but the temperatures are cold. Another day where we will not get above freezing.

There's still a little orange visible on the Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Akebono’. I very carefully knocked the snow off of the plant so it wasn't laying flat on the ground.

This tunnel is usually standing tall, at least 3 feet tall. Now it's almost level with the surrounding ground—not because it flattened, but becasue the "ground" has risen.

I had a hard time figuring out what this snow-covered foliage was at first, ah! Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace', which is usually about 8 ft tall. Instead it was at knee height.

After very carefully brushing the snow off some of the plants bent to almost breaking, it was time to head back inside and warm up. I looked down and realized why my feet were so cold. I guess a foot of snow calls for taller boots.

Inside we're enjoying the color of hellebore blooms I had the good sense to cut before the snow.

Temperatures remain cold thru the weekend. Who knows when I will see my garden plants again and what kind of horrors this latest round of winter will inflict upon them.

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