There’s an event every August in Portland, Oregon called Farwest. People come from all over the Western States and beyond to see what’s growing at the nurseries, what new plants are about to hit the market and to share information about greenhouse growing. The last piece is what really interested me. I soaked up information from the experts like Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, the Buglady, and Paul Koole from Biobest. Learning about growing plants always leads to learning about their pests. In greenhouse growing we are using insects to control the pest insects. It’s called biocontrol and it works! But it’s a dynamic system and not easy to predict, so I’m constantly learning and gaining new insights into the intricacies of using bios. A lot of exciting things are happening in this field and I hope to share some of them in upcoming posts.
Some of the displays are so creative, like this baseball themed showcase from Little Prince Nursery. One of the best parts of the show is to see what’s new. What new tools are on the market for growing plants, what new colors the calibrachoa are sporting and especially what new plants are making their appearance. A few of the new varieties that were the most popular were Mesa de Maya Southwest Oak, Sweet Tea Gardenia, Corydalis Porcelain Blue and Burgundy Lace Hazelnut. The Oak has blue-gray leaves, grows to 25′ and can thrive in dry as well as irrigated sites. Sounds like a perfect plant for NW landscapes, I look forward to seeing it in the nurseries. The gardenia is supposedly winter hardy in our area. I can’t wait to test that out, since the scent of this plant is in my top three favorites, top five, top ten….oh, there are too many sweet plants, pungent plants, sharp citrus, rosey fresh plants in this world. I can’t narrow down the top ones. This gardenia would make a wonderful addition to Washington gardens. I know already I need one. The corydalis has electric blue flowers and blooms spring through Fall, who could ask for more? The hazelnut boasts that it alone has lacy, cut foliage, red leaf color and resistance to European Filbert Blight. The new growth of the leaves are beautiful and it grows to 35′. As always Portland has great food, good friends and a wealth of information. I’ll be returning next year to Farwest.