Monday, September 12, 2011

HPSO Fall 2011 Plant Sale!


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!

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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.

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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.

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As always, I suffer from a slight case of sensory overload at these 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 often do you see someone walking around with a Hedychium towering over their heads?

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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's that!

Teucrium stems
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 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's to hoping.

Persicaria Golden Arrow
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?

Persicaria in situ
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 you have a similar sale you go to?


  1. must be having problems with flikr. Some of the photos aren't loading. Wish I could attend however. No sales in Kansas that I know of. shucks!

  2. And you have room for these?
    There's ALWAYS room for just one more.........

  3. I love our parking lot guessing game: "Gun show or plant show?" I can't imagine a more unlikely pairing of events.

  4. You get some really great plants there. I do have to say I sure like what you picked up. Love the position of the Persicaria you show. Really looks lovely there.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  5. Greggo: Thanks SO much for the heads-up about flickr...fixed now!!!

    Sue: Not really...I have to dig up some more of the parking strip now...oh well :-)

    Norm: Me too ;-)

    Sunray Gardens: Thanks! I hope it will do well there...I'm totally smitten by it!

  6. Cirsiums have become very popular in the UK since Piet Oudolf and Arne Maynard planted them in their Best in Show garden at Chelsea. They clump up very quickly and ae easy to divide. I seem to have two slightly different colours. One is more a pink the other purple.It looks a great sle Scott. I'd have needed a wheelbarrow...

  7. Hey Scott the photo loading issue is still a problem for me, I couldn't see several of your fabulous finds!

    I was trying to remember who it was that mentioned the parking lot guessing game, it must have been you! So Norm was at the sale? I wish I could have met him. I'm also happy to read a post from someone who loves the fall sale, maybe it's my predilection for plants on the edge of our zone that makes me not so excited? Anyway...nice to see you to! (always haha...thank you!)

  8. That is some kind of HUGE plant sale!! I saw a number of plants I would be walking out the door with.
    I had some photos that didn't load for me either...just noticed Loree's comment.

  9. What a fun sale! I love these types of events, but I also have some sensory overload. Earlier this spring I was at a sale by a local native plant society and it was chaos; I couldn't find things I had planned on getting, ended up leaving with plants I hadn't intended to get, and nearly got run over by wagons a couple times. Still, they're great ways to get unique plants!

  10. Sometimes I wish I had unlimited money and space for plants. This looks and sounds like it was great time. Chris Las Aventuras

  11. What a great sale! Love all the plants you got. I think I'm going to skip most of the fall plant sales up here, I have quite a few things still languishing in pots that will need planting once the rains come back.

  12. It looks like many of those plants are tropical plants also. That Pennisetum and Cirsium you bought are considered weeds here! A lot of them are in marginal lands. Just like the Mimosa which is one of farmers' nightmare is being sold in temperate countries as ornamentals. On the other hand, some of your weeeds and grasses there, we consider as lovely ornamentals. It is just right that others trash are someone's treasure.

  13. Love that Selinum. I tried it from Heronswood several years ago, but it seems too delicate for our NJ climate. It was beautiful while it survived.

  14. OMG, I would have to be sedated! Beautiful plants and they look so healthy. Have you finished your back yard project?

  15. What a great opportunity to pick up some native and great plants. I was wondering what that giant flower was that a customer was carrying. LOL!
    The Teucrium hircanicum is fantastic. I would be a sucker for those pretty stems too Scott. Now where to put them. LOL!

  16. Janet: Ahh, yes...Piet Oudolf continues to influence me...even when I don't realize it! I'm very excited to see it clump up!

    Loree/Danger Garden: Argh...stoopid Flickr! I'll have to figure that out. That's a very good point about hardiness...I forget about that...I'm sure it's hard for people who push the limits...especially the idea of establishing something borderline hardy when winter is closer.

    Janet: It's a great sale...twice a year...I ALWAYS look forward to them :-)

    Ramble On Rose: Hahahaha...that sounds VERY familiar! Luckily, at this sale anyway, wagons and carts are not allowed!

    Rohrebot: and I both ;-)

    Alison: You are a wiser woman than I...I have ALMOST everything I just have to dig up some more of the hell-strip for these babies...

    Andrea:'s all very subjective, isn't it! I had wondered about the Pennisetum...I could have sworn I saw it on an invasive list somewhere...but that was probably Califiornia.

    James Golden: It does seem to be on the delicate side...cross your fingers for me!

    Phillip: hahaha...I was pretty tired at the sale (bad night, no sleep the night before) so, in essence, I WAS sedated! Oh, and the back yard, yes...not QUITE finished...but it will be in a post soon ;-)

    Lona: took me a second to figure it out myself...I'm no expert on tropicals! Glad you like the Teucrium as well!

  17. I was drawn to the Wind Dancer booth as well, but we have to solve our gopher problem before any more of those go in the ground. Fun to see your take on the sale.

  18. I picked up that selinum at Digging Dog in August and it's rushed into bloom with very little leaves yet -- not a good sign! Wonderful spiky perennial choices and plumy grasses. Now I need that pennisetum!

  19. *Gasp!* What a fabulous sale! I've never seen anything like it. You showed great restraint by not coming home with one of everything!

  20. I am often overwhelmed by the many interesting plant options at my local nursery. I want far more than I can usually afford. I enjoyed reading about all your plant sale discoveries.

  21. What's more fun than a plant sale with a lot of great plants?! I love the Pennisetum macrourum; it'll look fantastic in your border.

  22. You must have come home one happy gardener! I love your selections. I'm so happy you found the Teucrium. You'll love it. Mine have been blooming non-stop since, what was it, early July, I think. I love the Cirsium. I grew it from seed one year [Thompson & Morgan sells it] but the plants just didn't have the vigor they needed to survive in my garden. Bummer. I'm sure yours will be great. LOVE that Pennisetum. I hope it becomes more readily available.

  23. great stuff Scott! I'm so sorry I missed the sale this year. That Selenium would have been MINE! And probably all the other Far Reaches plants that you bought, superior choices!

  24. Hi,

    So many plants I want... I too have bought two thistles this year, Brook and Tuberous thistle. I also keep intending on getting some bistort but always forget and then see it on blogs like this and slap myself for forgetting yet again!!

  25. Ricki 'Spring to Twig': YIkes...gophers! That's one problem I'm glad not to have to deal with!

    Denise: I'll cross my fingers for your little Selinum...don't you love that Pennisetum!

    Sheri: Hahahahahaha...I WAS hard to stop putting things in my basket!

    Jennifer: Me too...wouldn't it be amazing to be able to but as much of whatever you certainly would!

    sweetbay: I agree...the Pennisetum is my crush-of-the-moment plant :-)

    Grace: So good to hear about the Teucrium!!! I'll keep my eye on the Cirsium...I've noticed that even it shade it's leaves are very droopy...need to get it in the ground quick! You could totally get some of the sedum...Wind Dancer Gardens is near Salem!

    Ryan Miller: It was super-sad to not have you there (especially since I find the plants others buy fascinating). I almost grabbed the Selinum for you, believe it or not, but felt so selfish after getting the Cirsium...I had a moment of weakness and it was gone.

    gwirrel: I would love to see those thistles!!! I do that all the time...or see plants in others peoples gardens and think "why don't I have that?"

  26. Hey Scott,
    I've visited many times but never left a message. I think you have the most beautiful blog in the biz, hands down.
    I just had to comment after seeing this plant sale. You had me feeling like I was there. The PNW is one of the prettiest places on earth. I'm a quadriplegic now so I won't be returning so I do enjoy posts like this.

  27. I wonder if there is something like this in Washington. Of course, Portland isn't that far of a drive . . .

    Recently, I've been having to really hold back from buying some fall flowers. I want to, but I also want to have a plan for my mostly vacant, but weed-filled front garden before I start buying things. Once I have an established system, it will be easier (hopefully) to insert spur of the moment buys.

  28. Scott, I have found a fellow admirer of Teucrium hircanicum, hooray! It flowers forever in my garden and just lightly, delicately self-sows, so that I can share a plant or two every season with a friend... yay for purple tails!

  29. Patrick: That is quite the compliment…I think you managed to make me blush a little :-) So glad you enjoy the blog…comments like this are the reason I enjoy blogging so much…that sense of community is great! So sad you can't travel to the PNW anymore…I'll endeavor to give you the best taste of it I can!

    Sarah: I think there MIGHT be…but don't quote me on that! I think you are going to be ahead of the game if you get things planned before planting…I've been trying to adhere to my plans that I sort of drafted last winter…I'm not 100% on tracks…but I'm getting better! Those spur-of-the moment buys get me in trouble too ;-)

    Kate: So glad to hear they do well here! Grace had mentioned hers were fabulous…so I'm very excited to see them fill out next year…and yes…gentle self-seeding is a great thing ;-)