Well...hard to believe, especially with the recent nasty heat here in PDX, but this past weekend was the Fall HPSO Plant Sale! I can never decide which of the HPSO sales I look forward to more. The spring sale happens at that magical time when I am so psyched to get out in the garden...but the fall sale has so many plants I love (especially grasses). Another bonus to the fall sale is that you can count on rains and cooler weather returning soon, which is a boon when establishing new plants. I guess we'll call it a draw as to which sale is my fave and just say that it's whichever sale I happen to be at right at that moment!
It's hard to believe that such a humble edifice hides such a source of excitement for me. I battled my way through people with ammo cartridges under their arms and crossbows over their shoulders (at the Gun and Knife Show next door) to get to the plants that waited within.
Once inside, you are presented with a map of the rooms layout and a flat for some of the many plants you are bound to buy. I was lucky this time to run into two of my favorite gardeners right off the bat, the charming "Mr. Impatiens" (Derrick Pitman) and the always-stylish Loree of Danger Garden.
As always, I suffer from a slight case of sensory overload at these sales...so many plants, so little time. I inevitably miss things and end up pacing through the aisles several times. It's always fun to see what other people are picking up...now often do you see someone walking around with a Hedychium towering over their heads?
Most booths had a few employees (sometimes even the owners) who were eager to discuss their plants...for many of them (especially specialty nurseries) this isn't just a business, but a passion.
|Nursery owners are always glad to offer advice.
|I regret not picking up one of these gorgeous species lilies...drat! I'm guessing Lilium speciosum rubrum?
I remember hoping to find the above plant, Selinum wallichianum, at the spring sale, but with no luck. I've since order a few from Annie's Annuals, so was able to pass this one by...but not without gazing wistfully at it for a few moments. I was happy to see someone gasp later as they found in on the table and snatched it up!
One of the booths I am always eager to visit is the one for Wind Dancer Garden, from whom I've bought several amazing grasses (including my beloved Pennisetum spatheolatum at last years HPSO sale). From across the room, I can always spot the plumes of various grasses towering over everything else. From the moment I walked in this year, I spotted something that looked suspiciously familiar...and made a beeline over to the booth.
Pennisetum macrourum 'White Lance'
OMG...I couldn't believe it...Pennisetum macrourum!!! I had been lusting after this plant since seeing it at the Montreal Botanical Garden last fall. I hadn't been able to find a source anywhere that sold it (aside from seed...and seriously, how long do you think that would take???). I snapped one up (even though I could have taken them all), but decided to leave them for others...I'm already planning a trip out to the nursery to grab a few more.
Next I headed over to Far Reaches Farm, that's the owner, Kelly Dodson in the hat :-) After spending what seems like hours on their website, ogling plants I'd love, I was thrilled to pick up a few things that I've been wanting for quite some time!
Teucrium hircanicum 'Purple Tails'
I've wanted this plant since seeing it on Nancy Ondra's blog earlier this year. It pretty much hits all my weak spots...purple flowers, flowers that are spires and stems that are colorful...what more can you ask for? It blooms for months and months...how's that!
I'm suck a sucker for a plant with dark/contrasting stems!
Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'
I've been on the lookout for this since earlier this year when I saw it during a garden tour. The only other nursery I've seen it offered at was Digging Dog, and they have been sold out for quite a while. I love those rich, saturated blooms...which, depending on the light, can look either deep claret, or, as here, rich red-purple.
I'm sort of fascinated by seedheads, and am super excited to say those of the Cirsium are very striking...I love how each seed still has a dark purple petal still attached...so striking. Unfortunately, they are apparently completely sterile from seed...wouldn't you love to have a huge patch of these! I've heard they clump up fairly quickly...here's to hoping.
Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Golden Arrow'
This is the last plant I picked up. I've recently become slightly addicted to Persicarias...they sort of exemplify my admiration of "natural-looking" plants...sort of half-wild things that you could easily mistake for a weed, were it not so beautiful! I love, love, love the yellowish foliage...and it really enhances the rich pink blossoms...which are pretty numerous. I set these down at a table with my partner, who served as a reluctant guard, and he reported that more than a few people asked him about it. At the end of the day, one lady even stopped me as I was paying and asked for a stem to root. If Far Reaches had any left to sell, I would have said no, but as they were out, I didn't see the harm...she was thrilled! That has to count toward some good garden karma...right?
Here is one of the Persicaria (I bought two) in the spot I've chosen for it...mostly in shade. I haven't been able to figure out exactly how much light it needs/will take yet, so will put them in differing conditions and see which does better. In too much shade, they turn green...too much sun, they scorch...what a tightrope we gardeners must navigate!
How about all you...if in PDX, did you attend...what did you get!?! If elsewhere...do you have a similar sale you go to?