Tuesday, March 8, 2011

2011 NWF&G Show - the Plants

What's a garden show without plants? However much I love to see the display gardens and hear fascinating speakers, I admit I really go to see (and hopefully buy) the Plants. That's plants with a capital "P", as in the tree Palms that Loree of danger garden observed in her post about the show, was the plant of the year.

Tree palms certainly took center stage in at least five of the gardens I saw, and were featured in others I didn't record.

This is Cyathea Brownii.
Also appearing in several gardens, especially those with a woodsy feel, was Gaultheria procumbens. I love the dark reddish leaves and berries on this prostrate eastern relative of our native salal.
Euphorbia were used in many of the gardens. Here with Carex testacea, is E. 'Ascot Rainbow' .

And Euphorbia 'Blackbird'.
I'm not a big fan of the standard garden, brilliantly-colored rhododendrons. Although I admit I have some in my garden, I'd love to figure out how to change them out for some of the more unusual varieties, especially those whose foliage is the focal point like some of these. 

Rhododendron protistum.

Rhododendron hodgsonii. Aren't those huge leathery leaves just the BEST?!

Rhododendron bureavii, from Northern China.

There were other foliage plants I haven't tried, but that tempt my zone 9-10 wannabe soul.

Schefflera delaveyi.

Eriobotrya japonica (loquat). I actually saw one for sale at Marbotts here in Portland this past weekend. It seemed a bit daring for a "flower-baskets-are-us" kind of nursery, or maybe they really are hardier than I thought.

Palm Leaf Begonia, Begonia luxuriens. Sorry about the dark image, but trust me, it was gorgeous!

The many orchid vendors in the Green Marketplace were well supported in the gardens and by a big display from the  Northwest Orchid Society.

Mazdevallia princeps, above.

This isn't an orchid, but this wonderful pitcher plant was for sale (no, it didn't come home with me.)

Other plants that I focused on:

 A weeping Nootka Cedar, Chameacyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula'.

A gorgeous variegated abutilon.

I was excited when I saw this beautiful heather in one of the  display gardens.

I was thrilled when I spotted it for sale by one of the vendors.

I was crushed when I realized Erica 'Winter Fire' wouldn't make it through even a mild Portland winter in my garden.

So what did I bring home with me?
Melianthus major 'Purple Haze'. The 'Antonow's Blue' cultivar was not available at the show, but after seeing it all over the display gardens, I had to have one Melianthus major... any one.

A cheesecake shot of the fabulous foliage:

Hesperaloe parviflora. Finally I have my Red Yucca! It's funny that I went all the way to Seattle to get a Xera selection that was probably grown right outside of Portland.

From Keeping it Green Nursery, Mahonia gracilipes. This Mahonia from China likes moist, well-drained soil and part shade.

A striking feature of this species is the chalky white indumentum on the underside of its leaves.

I had forgotten I wanted Hosta 'Sum and Substance' until I saw it at the Naylor Creek Nursery booth. It's perfect for my shady front garden.

From those certified plant geeks at Far Reaches Farm, Sue Milliken and Kelly Dodson, I got a Pagoda Primrose, Primula vialii, and one I've been hunting: our native Tiger Lily, Lilium columbianum.
This is the one that got away: Crocosmia 'Culzean Pink'. Is that an amazing color for a crocosmia, or what? But they were sold out of it by Friday. Unfortunately, Far Reaches Farm doesn't yet do mail order, but I see that Joy Creek grows it, too.

Continuing in a pink vein, I twice bought Kniphofia 'Timothy': apparently crazed by Kniphofia lust, I forgot I had managed to buy it Wednesday and I bought it again Friday. Better two than none!

From my favorite Italian seed company, Franchi, I bought seeds for Lacinato kale (Cavolo Lacinato) and Fennel bulb (Finocchio). Just last Friday my Master Gardener class was on seed propagation, so I'm all set for the gardening season!


  1. YAY!!! You got a Melianthus major!!! I am so glad...it is a very lovely plant. I was just out checking on mine this afternoon and the new shoots sailed through the February cold just fine. That Mahonia gracipiles is a score, I'll be adding it to my wish list. As for the Eriobotrya japonica I've been lusting after that one too. Lauren who lives in North Portland (not as far north as you though...if I'm guessing your location at all well) has a huge one in her back garden, photo in this post: http://beyondgardendesign.blogspot.com/2011/02/snowy-garden-in-february.html. It has me thinking I might just try it....and maybe you should too! Funny I almost stopped at Marbotts today (dead on description of the place too...although I love it's old school-ness), perhaps I might make my way there tomorrow. Great purchases Jane!

  2. This reminds me that I have to post my purchases too. We stopped at the Rhododendron Species Garden in Federal Way on the way to the show and I started shopping before I had even arrived!

    Great post. You definitely saw stuff I wasn't even thinking about at the time. I love the show for just that reason! So many things for all of us.

  3. Whew…what a post! I'm so excited for your Melianthus…they are just so stunning, really, one of the most amazing foliage plants, I could spend hours photographing them and still feel I hadn't exhausted the possibilities they present. I honestly would never have guessed that was a heather…who knew they came in colors other than the pink/white/purple kind?!? That is one of my face hostas, love those enormous mounds of foliage…so lush. I'm also a sucker for those lilies…charming doesn't even begin to describe them…love 'em!

  4. I've got the Culzean Pink (great flower color!) and I'm growing Primula vialii from seed. We've got great taste!

  5. Three of my favorite plants: Melianthus, Sum & Substance and Hesperaloe. I think I might have to look in to that pink Crocosmia. The Lacinata kale is also a favorite but my seedlings from last fall are only about 2 inches tall still. Anyway, you got some great deals. Too bad we can't all have a tree fern or two in our gardens! :)

  6. Your garden must be thanking you for bringing it such treats, as I am thanking you for this great post. I have been on a Euphorbia binge, but 'Ascot Rainbow' is the only one that has come through unscathed. Even the Rhodys (I thought they were mostly indestructible around here) are looking downhearted.

  7. Thank you for posting such a useful, impressive and a wicked article.Wow.. looking good!


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