Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Big Garden Show

The Northwest Flower & Garden Show this past weekend was once again a visual feast abounding in imaginative garden design and cutting edge horticultural knowledge.  The first time I attended was in 2005 making this my 10th show.  It has definitely improved over time.  Remember the days having to sneak into seminars because they ran out of tickets?  My favorite part of the show remains the seminars and so this post is really seminar-focused. 

Spiky plants meet Ikea
First off, Kelly & Sue from Far Reaches Farm talked about Plant Crack for Plant Junkies.  They did not have handouts so I tried to make as comprehensive a list as possible.  Most of these plants are unavailable in the trade and a few don't even have pictures on the Internet yet.

Maianthemum (Smilacina) aff. flexuosum - Pink False Solomon Seal
Podophyllum aurantiocaule - You can only but this plant if you live in the UK
Mertensia maritima - Blue bells
Hebe recurva - One of the hardiest hebes - to Zone 7 (0 degrees F/-18C)
Meconopsis baileyi 'Hensol Violet'
Rhododendron kamtschaticum - Deciduous, dwarf alpine/rock garden rhody
Leposaurus - Fern (not sure which species they were discussing)
Mahonia eurybracteata (syn. M. confusa)
Dactylorhiza fuchsii 'Bressingham Bonus'
Gold leaved blue poppy - Beautiful contrast of colors.  Unfortunately not for sale yet.
Lobelia excelsa x lobelia tupa - A cross between the shrubby L. excelsa and perennial L. tupa
Roscoea 'Red Gurkha' - FRF is currently working on hybridizing different Roscoea species
Illicium sp. KCSH# - Star Anise
Disporum cantoniense
Epimedium pseudowushanense
Daphniphyllum sp. (longiracemosa?)
Dendropanax proteusen - Evergreen tree in the aralia family
Evergreen Corylopsis - I think this is an unknown species
Actinoitum purple flowers
Ligularia nilumbifolia - Big leaves
Styrax japonicus - White leaves?
Tripterospermum - Climbing gentian relative
Daphne wolongensis
Disporopsis ginfosinensis
Neolitsea sp. - Broadleaf evergreen (unknown species)
Nothotsuga longibracteata - This is the tree Far Reaches Farm has on their logo
Native salal with pink flowers
Variegated Mahonia nervosa
Stenanthium angustifolium - purple bell-shaped flowers
Campanula - Native to the Olympic mountains
Paris quadrifolia
Berberis jamesiana
Tropaeolum vine - Perennial, summer-blooming nasturtium
Desfontainia spinosa & Desfontainia fulgens
Lapageria - National flower of Chile
Gentiana "Asiatic Hybrids" - Fall blooming gentian
Gentiana ternifolia
Colchicum agrippinum
Pittosporum 'Tom Thumb' - Red-burgundy evergreen foliage

Hey! I have these!
Dan Hinkley talked about Good Weed (aka Sedges, rushes, grasses and restios and not the other kind that just became legalized).  He admitted he held out using ornamental grass in garden landscapes until well after it became popular but having personally seen his garden at Windcliff, it is clear that he has fully embraced the concept.

Acorus gramineus 'Ogon' - Looks great year-round and very foolproof
Muhlenbergia dumosa - Not hardy
Carex elata 'Bowles Golden' - Boggy grass
Carex pendula - I was glad to hear Dan recommend this plant because I've wondered about its potential invasiveness.  It makes a nice 4' tall clump and looks great 365 days a year.
Carex flagellifera - One of several of the bronze-colored sedges.  It only has a lifespan of 3-4 years but reseeds readily.
Carex buchananii - Taller bronze sedge
Carex testacea - Soft and orange

Luzula nivea - Snowy wood rush
Luzula sylvatica - Wood rush

Stipa gigantea - Evergreen early blooming sparkles in the sun
Stipa tenuissima - Mexican feather grass
Panicum virgatum 'Northwind' - Autumn switchgrass (2014 perennial plant of the year)
Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah' - Red foliage 2-3 ft tall
Panicum Virgatum 'Blood Brothers' - Better color than 'Shenandoah'
Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila' - Dwarf pampas grass
Molinia caerulea 'Skyracer'
Molinia caerulea 'Strahlenquelle'
Molinia caerulea 'Variegata'
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' - Plantings of this withstood several years of complete neglect at Heronswood and still look great after 30 years
Chionochloa rubra - Annie's Annuals used to sell it before Dan Hinkley mentioned it

Elegia capensis - Not a horsetail!
Apodasmia simili
Rhodocoma capensis - Large plumes flowing in the wind give the effect of it being underwater

That does it for my coverage of the show.  Next year's show will move to February 11-15th, 2015.  If you live in the Pacific Northwest be sure to check it out!


  1. Justin - thanks for the great notes on the seminars I had to miss the plant crack seminar, it was the same time as my daughters play (no getting out of that one!) I wrote down the list from Dan's 25 plants he could not live without (I counted 46)

    1. No problem. How can there only be 46? I have a feeling the number of plants Dan Hinkley can't live without is something like 37,000.

    2. Only because he allotted a timed slot for the show I guess!

  2. Thank you so much for this! I had to miss Kelly and Sue's talk but your list will keep me busy for quite some time trolling the internet! It's amazing what a little plant crack can do for an addict! Happy Valentine's Day!

    1. It will definitely keep you and me busy...especially since most of them are unavailable!

  3. Ooh, I wish I could have been there for the plant crack lecture, but like outlaw, your list will keep me busy for a while. Thanks for taking notes!

  4. I grew P. auranticaule....not sure where it is or if I still have it. It grew quite know what....I think there are some planted at the Rhododendron Species Foundation!!!!!