I was lucky enough this weekend to be able to attend the Winter Program featuring guest speaker Annie Hayes (of Annie's Annuals)! The program is sponsored by the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon..and was sold out (I believe it amounted to about 300 people). I went with Ryan (of gnomiscience) and got to chat in plant-geek-ese with him and Loree (of danger garden)! Good peeps! I even finally got to me Mr. danger garden himself (props to spouses who indulge us, the garden-crazed)!
The program was held at one of the auditoriums at PSU's downtown campus. Beforehand, attendees got a chance to peruse books for sale. There were even some old copies of Fine Gardening for sale (wish I'd had a chance to really look through them). If they'd been Gardens Illustrated, I'd have grabbed them to add to my collection ;-)
|Items up for Raffle||Seed pod on display|
One plant I needed no help identifying...Hamamelis! I wish I had room for one of these beauties in my garden...their winter flowers and stunning fall colors are extraordinary. Maybe I'll find room for the related Fotergilla...there are some small-ish varieties available.
Anyway...after few announcements and the distribution of the door prizes (Ryan Miller got a Hellebore and Mr. Danger got a T-Shirt!), Annie took the stage before the rapt audience.
For the next 2 hours, Annie regaled us with the story of how she got her start (generously crediting some divine feline intervention) and her philosophy. "I'm just a flower floozy," she said once or twice...and I knew I loved her. I have to admit, she's pretty much exactly what I imagined her to be like. If you've ever read through the Annie's catalog, you know what I mean. She has a passionate, but quirky and irreverent attitude towards plants, which is quite charming.
Among other things, Annie showed us several photos of the seed collecting and starting process at the nursery. Amazingly, they grow around 90% of their plants from seed! Also, most of that seed is collected from their own plants...amazing!
Most of the lecture was spent going through slides of some of Annie's favorite plants...some of them teasingly not hardy in Portland! I saw people feverishly circling plants on the lists we were given, and jotting down notes in the margins. Below are a few I was especially tempted by...click on the names to link to their entry on Annie's website.
Lupinus 'Thomas Church'
I've always loved Lupines, both the flowers and their lovely foliage. Their one downside, however, is their tendency to develop Powdery Mildew…often right as they flower or soon thereafter. My little ears perked up the moment Annie mentioned that this variety has proven to be pretty much completely mildew resistant…oh yeah! I'm SO getting one of these!
|Scabiosa ochroleuca||Silene asterias|
I've wanted this one for the past few years…but just never quite hit the "Purchase" button. Hearing Annie talk about how easy-going and hardy it was, however, really won me over. She says it is really tough…practically impossible to kill. Even better…it blooms for a LONG time…and in blue…how can you say "no". I can't!
I love that this particular Milkweed reminds me so much of the ones I grew up seeing in ditches and fields back home in Nebraska. Those silver, felted leaves and those gorgeous soft mauve blooms...wonderful!
|Dalea purpurea||Angelica stricta purpurea|
I've been wanting to try a Dierama for the past few years...but just can't decide which one to try...perhaps this one? I just love its graceful, arching form...so lovely.
|Phylica pubescens||Teucrium betonicum|
Clarkia rubicunda ‘Shamini’
I had never heard of these...but Annie kept showing picture after picture of them...and they just looked so beautiful...not that I really need MORE pink in the garden...sigh.
So...if you ever have a chance to meet or hear Annie Hayes speak...go for it! Oh, and of course, if you're ever in the Bay area...go to the nursery :-)