Once again Portland-area gardeners descended on the Oregon Convention Center for the annual kick-off to the gardening season. While I always look forward to this event, I can't help but think it's mostly because of the time of year. Early spring brings with it a restlessness, a desire to get outside in the garden. I look at this Garden Show as a mixed bag, it has its good points, and (and like everything in life) it's not-so-good points. Along with a few sublime ideas and designs, there is also a dose of the dubious.
Here's the entrance to the show...and the place where my pulse begins to quicken ;-)
One of the first things I noticed (aside from the overpowering scent of mulch) was this display, with several small Gunnera...I would have grabbed them, stuffed them in my goodie bag, and ran for the hills if I hadn't still been sore from a climb to the top of Multnomah Falls the day before.
Unfortunately, the next thing I noticed was this ribbon of colored glass "gravel" lighted from beneath in the middle of the flagstone path. I'll admit, it has a certain quirkiness and novelty...but I'm not a fan of novelty for novelty's sake. Sorry...it's a thumbs-down from me.
Luckily, right around the corner, I was greeted by this wonderful fencing idea. I've been considering a fence with panels of corrugated or galvanized metal...and this really struck a chord with me. I love the powder-coated sort of look...and wish I could have gotten a closer look...but I was soon swept away in a tidal wave of my fellow attendees to...
...a burning hazard and a drowning hazard all in one. I know, I know...it's not supposed to inspire a literal (or practical) application...but I've never understood the appeal of the water/fire feature...could there possibly be a worse waste of resources?!? I guess this one display really sums up the thing that sort of irks me about the YG&P Show...if feels very much focused on homeowners who would hire contractors to do these sort of installations..."checkbook gardening" as it were. Of course, I would take those orange Adirondacks home in a split second!
But let's not dwell on negative things, not today! Here, at the booth for the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, was a plant I was instantly drawn to, thanks to it's cinnamon-colored stems. The tag says Drimys lanceolata...does anyone have experience with this plant?
Now, of course, what I REALLY care about is the plants! Being so early in the season, the YG&P show features several vendors specializing in bulbs and bare-root plants. I decided before I even stepped into the Convention Center that any plant I would buy had to meet several criteria.
A) Must have a long-season of interest (bonus for attractive foliage)
B) Must not be something I already have
C) I must have a specific idea of where it will go ("near the front door" does NOT count)
D) Must not require undue pampering (ok, who am I kidding, I'd read my plants bedtime stories if I thought it'd make a difference).
Of course, I knew going into this that I was likely to fail miserably and give into temptation within the first 10 minutes.
|The last plant is one I saw a few months ago on Nan Ondra's blog, Hayefield. If you've never been there before, stop now, go there and be prepared to gawk...don't worry...I'll wait. Like many people, I love Iris' blossoms, but find their foliage, well, lacking. This one solves that problem. Emerging a deep purple, it gradually greens up as the season progresses. Even so, the blooms are carried on purple-tinted stems.
'Gerald Darby' maintains is form and presence throughout the season...adding some nice foliar texture without the rattiness of other Iris.
Coincidentally, I got all 3 of the above plants at the booth for Sundquist Nursery, I can't wait to see how they fare in the garden...I just have to get my butt out there and put them in the ground!
My big splurge, however, was this trio of metal Alliums from metal artist Brett Cleveland of Red Grass Designs. I had actually found his Etsy site earlier this year and became obsessed with finding similar Allium sculptures...just cheaper. When I saw them at the show, however, I knew my resolve would crumble. I pretty much blew my budget with these puppies, but couldn't be happier...plus, I realized, they are my first pieces of "garden art". It doesn't hurt that I can also use them as deadly weapons if I'm ever attacked while gardening.
Did any of you folks in the PDX area happen to make it to the show? What did you think...what were your hits and/or misses? I happened to run into Ryan Miller, a fellow Portland-area blogger, at the show...and in spite of reminding myself beforehand to wish him a happy birthday, I think the smell of bark dust clouded my memory...so, Happy (belated) Birthday, Ryan!