I wasn't planning to go, but then I got an invite to be a booth judge, and with that came an all-access pass. How could I say no? Here's a look at what I found interesting, and maybe you will too.
At the Iseli Nursery booth there were several small-leaved plants worth admiring...
Ulmus parvifolia 'Hokkaido'
Ilex crenata 'Dwarf Pagoda'
Salix boydii (recently tip pruned by the looks of it)
I was there early enough to see several individuals frantically running around with bags of ice to water the plants. I wonder if that's horribly shocking to them? The plants I mean.
The Briggs Nursery booth...
A fun display of the different types of hakonechloa.
I found this signage for sweet fern, Comptonia peregrina, interesting. A groundcover? Really? Around here it is frequently sold with a small trunk, as seen to the left of the sign. Dry soil? No. This plant does not like to go without water! At least not in my garden. I'll revisit this one at the end of the post.
Great Plant Picks! Poor Rick Peterson was minding the booth while his fellow Miller Garden/Great Plant Picks staff Richie Steffen and Del Brummet were out walking the floor (I know because I stopped to talk with them).
The ladies manning the OSU booth were very encouraging and helpful, I stopped and turned back to take their photo and caught this moment of, well, what exactly? They seem puzzled, a little dismayed.
The Bountiful Farms booth celebrating the Farwest 50th year.
I wanted to dismiss this planted car business, been there done that for YEARS now.
But it was fun, and well done.
Mahonia going for a joy-ride in the backseat, who can't smile at that?
Peaches, again I was drawn to the peaches. This one is Honey Babe Peach, Prunus persica 'Honey Babe'. That shaggy foliage!
And the dark foliage version, Prunus persica 'Bonfire'.
There is always something interesting to admire in the Bamboo Garden booth...
And I usually find some fun vehicle I'd like to load up with plants and drive away in, this year's version looks like it's electric...
These containers look like a woven basket...
But they're lined and solid on the inside, all the better to hold soil.
Smith gardens invited you to stop and plant up a logo mug with a plant.
It was a very enticing offer!
The Cascade Topicals booth was full of great plants.
Oh! Philodendron bipinnatifidum 'Tortum' caught my eye, it's probably no longer cool in the hot houseplant scene, but I don't remember seeing it before now.
Ditto for this little cutie, which I didn't pull out to ID cause I just needed to walk away... (plants aren't generally for sale at the show, but you can sometimes make a deal and come back and pick them up when the show closes on Friday).
I've been using one of these for several years now, a freebie giveaway at a past Farwest show. They're amazing. Made from a blend of natural fiber and recycled plastic water bottles they really hold up well.
Okay, time to give a peek to the New Varieties Showcase and share my favorites...
Alocasia micholitziana ‘Frydek Variegata’
It still kinda shocks me to see houseplants in the showcase, but it's a definite sign of the times and this one was cool.
Daphne odora ‘Monzulzay’ PP35217
That variegation is fab, I'm not sure if it's really that different from what's already on the market, but pretty it is.
Hibiscus syriacus ‘Rwoods6’ PP30270, CBRAF
Look at that flower!
Ipomoea hybrid Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Mahogany™ PPAF, CPBRAF
Yes another sweet potato vine, but they say it's "significantly improved" and retains its color well in full sun, as well as being mounded rather than trailing (even though it does trail). That multi-colored foliage always gets me.
Finally, here we are with another example of the sweet fern, Comptonia peregrina.
Which is being described here as a shrub, not a groundcover—that I can get behind. Somewhere in the mix I swear I also read that Comptonia peregrina not only did fine with "dry soil" but was drought tolerant, which had me shaking my head because in my garden it needs water, summertime water that is.
Over the weekend I talked about the Farwest show and this plant in particular with a friend who has lived in more parts of the U.S. than I have. He reminded me that the OAN nurseries are selling to the entire country, not just Oregon. Duh. My dry soil is not everyone's dry soil. We've actually got rain in the forecast this week for the first time since late April/early May. That's basically four months without any real rain. Not something the rest of the country—West Coast neighbors excepted—really has to deal with.
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