Tuesday, September 10, 2013

First Ever HPSO Fall PlantFest!

plantfest banner
This past weekend marked the return of the Fall HPSO plant sale...in an altered form...but one which I think worked wonderfully! It's no secret that I really missed the Fall sale last year...I'm such a lover of fall plants...and fall is the best time for planting here in Portland. Luckily, the HPSO decided to try a new, smaller format, to help keep costs down, but still offer area gardeners a great event.

clematis banner
I arrived early enough to see some of the vendors still setting up their booths and display areas.

dancing oaks boothmini conifers
It's always so exciting to see dozens of plants...just waiting to be whisked away in another gardeners excited hands!

Even though the vendors were still setting up, I could already tell there would be a nice variety of things to ogle later in the day.

I just adore Cimicifuga (Actaea)!

There is something wonderful about being surround by the harbingers of autumn...like this classic Helianthus.

panicum shenandoah
And, of course, my loves...the grasses, like this Panicum 'Shenandoah'.

slide 1
In addition to the sale itself (as if that wasn't enough to get me there), the HPSO arranged to have Dave Salman, of High Country Gardens, as a speaker. I have to say, he was great...very engaging and with a great sense of humor.

phone pic
Slide after slide of beautiful plants prompted many to document future purchases!

audience 2
Kudos to the HPSO for getting Salman to speak...it's always invigorating to hear and see examples of people who garden in such harsh conditions (Santa Fe), but still have amazing gardens. It makes me feel very spoiled, here in Portland, with our mild weather.

ricki at jockey hill
Once the speech was over, however, we all rushed out to SHOP! I was happy to see fried and fellow blogger Ricki working at the Jockey Hill both. As luck would have it...I found a grass I'd been on the lookout for all year (well, for several years, really), Sporobolus heterolepis! I also ran into another friend and blogger, Linda...we hung out together and walked around...pointing out and exclaiming over plants.

Those who attended the lecture got an hour to shop before the gates opened to the general public...and, I have to say, it was nice! Unlike the Spring sale...it seemed far less hectic and rushed.

sunny shopper
While the morning had been pleasantly cool and cloudy, by the time we emerged from the lecture hall, it was already getting hot and sunny...blech! Still...it wasn't bad...and I prefer shopping for plants outside...with the natural light...it gives you a much clearer idea of what a plant looks like.

greg expounding
Greg, from Xera, was in fine form, helping out shoppers and offering advice. If you haven't checked out their retail space on SE Clay yet, you simply MUST go!

xera displayrobert hyland
On the right, two of the events chief organizers, Bob Hyland and Lucy Hardiman. I can't even begin to imagine how much work was involved getting this together.

Of course, logistics and schedules are all forgotten once the shopping starts!

pennisetum red head
I'm always happy to see the grasses at this time of year.

pennisetum redhead
Two of my faves, Pennisetum 'Red Head' and Bouteloua 'Blonde Ambition'. I've been waiting the last few years for 'Blonde Ambition' to find it's following.

blonde ambition
After Dave Salman showed a slide of it during his presentation, which was met with "oohs" and "aahs", I had a feeling that the few being sold at the sale would be swept up in short order...I was correct!

more blonde ambitionearly shopper
Another 'Blonde Ambition', safely bagged and ready to find a spot of honor in this shoppers garden!

shopper with pennisetum
Yay for so many people buying grasses...they are so stunning right now!

dancing oaks purchasecheckout
One big difference between this sale and the big spring sale is that the vendors were the ones who took payment for the plants...I have to say, it seemed to go off without a hitch.

ladies with gaura
Look at those beautiful Gaura...I wish I had room for some!

I always think about getting this Eupatorium (Eupatorium capillifolium) when I see it for sale...but then I have to ask myself if I really want it...or if it's just the novelty of it. I decided that with limited space right now...novelty isn't reason enough.

sporobolus 2Sporobolus 1
While I could have theoretically bought tons of plants, I just don't have room...and have to limit myself to things I REALLY must have...and which will contribute to the garden. The one, lone plant I bought was that Sporobolus...and I'm in love with it. They only had one...but in talking to the owner, it turns out they have quite a few in stock...so I'm planning on journeying out there to pick up a few more. As it turns out, they are near Joy Creek...and if I just HAPPEN to stop there...well, who could say "no" to that ;-)

Boots seems to be saying what Norm was thinking "Not another grass, you nerd!"

sporobolus seedheads
But isn't it lovely! Delicate, thread-like foliage...wispy wands of blooms which smell faintly (or strongly, if you get really close) of coriander...and, if they get enough sun, glorious pumpkin-orange fall color!

Did you make it out to the sale last weekend...if so, what did you buy...inquiring minds want to know!


  1. Scott, my 'cat' is rusty, but I'm thinking he's saying, "get this in the ground, it looks soft and lovely and I'll fix those nice uppy pieces and smooosh them flat on the soil and it will all be perfect". It is a beauty - and the glamour shot is excellent.
    p.s. I'm going to remember when I'm out shopping for plants to put a smile on my face - you just never know where your "this smells bad face" might turn up on the net.....

  2. Looks like you had a great time! I'm promising myself that this spring I'll make it down to the HPSO spring sale. Sounds like you simply need more garden space! So many grasses, so little space. (That isn't already overflowing with gorgeousness!)

  3. Love the shot of Boots doing a kitty facepalm. Looks like it was a fun sale. I was worried earlier in the season that my Blonde Ambition was looking kind of sparse, but now that fall is pretty much here, it is looking better.

  4. Great shots- you really captured it- I would love to go to something like that. The grasses are showing off here as well- slowly but surely we will enter into fall.... ha.
    Cute pic of Boots.

  5. I really hope this was successful enough to do it every year. This looked so much nicer than being crammed in a convention hall!

  6. I spied that eupatorium earlier this spring and stood for the longest time trying to make up my mind about it. I was captivated by the texture. But when I went home and researched it on the net--I wasn't so sure I'd put it in my yard. Of course, it might not be hardy here but, if it is, it looked like weedy invasiveness might be an issue.

  7. Hooray for putting the event out in the sun! Beats the distant fluorescents of the Expo center any day! I'm with Heather - I hope they do it again. Funny, my cat - and my entire family for that matter - made the exact same face when I came home from the Kitsap romp. But, what's a girl to do?

  8. Looks like a great day, love all the photos. I'm intrigued by the Blonde Ambition and don't think I've seen it around here. I'm going to be looking for it at the Garden Center!

  9. Looks like a great (but dangerous) event. I came back from the nursery at Great Dixter recently with the lovely dark purple Salvia Amistad I've had my eye on for some time, Miscanthus Undine, and a lovely purple and white flowered, almond-scented clematis.

  10. Thank you for pointing out that Sporobolus. I've set it out along side Panicum and the 'blue boa'....just waiting for Philip to strip that lawn out!

  11. What fun that must have been. You really need to get more planting space. Take over the neighborhood!!!

    You'll have room for plenty more!

  12. I was thrilled that we had your dream plant. It really is super-gorgeous. I had every intention of snapping up one of those 'Blonde Ambition', but I blinked and they were gone.

  13. Thank you for making me feel a little bit like I was there. So sad to have missed it, not that I really suffered since my day was full of gardens and plant purchasing opportunities...but still we shouldn't have to chose, we should get to d it ALL!

  14. Looks like a great time - I couldn't drag myself there. Having it outside seems so nice, especially if there is a lot more elbow room.

  15. Fun. I love outdoor sales. Both psychologically and logistically they're just more comfortable than indoor plant sales. Love your grass. I'm sure that after Boots got over his initial shock, he walked over, nuzzled it a bit, then took a few bites and determined that it was a keeper.

  16. I was wishing Nashville would have a sale like this, but, seriously, we don't have the dedicated gardeners that you have. I think folks give up after spring's big show and just enjoy fall. I found two 'Blond Ambition' earlier this summer and love them.

  17. I love your choice. I would be so overwhelmed I might not have enough room to drive all I would want home...I love sales like this but boy my wallet doesn't...

  18. Dang Scott, you're making me think I need to buy a new truck, one that could get me down to Portland for a weekend and back to Vashon loaded with plants. Your photos are sublime and retelling of the day engaging. Thanks for taking us along on the tour and sale, and sharing the best of the best.