The Farwest Show in Portland this year was fulfilling, fun and fresh. My top three things were the new plants, new ideas and old favorites. As always, I enjoyed seeing the new varieties showcase. Most striking was the Flame Thrower Redbud tree from Star Roses and Plants. A Cercis with fantastic leaf color from burgundy to orange to lime, all on one branch. It was a showstopper and won the people’s choice award. The best of show award from the judges went to the Japanese Painted Fern ‘Crested Surf’ from Proven Winners. This unusual fern has fronds with tips that are crested or divided and it looks unlike anything I’ve seen before. It has bright and vivid color as well. I also loved the new Coral Bells Little Cuties ‘Shimmer’ with big silvery leaves, the soft lavender flowers of the Japanese Catmint ‘Blue Prelude’ and the Manzanita ‘Panchito’, hardy to zone 4b.
I discovered new products and new ideas as I walked the show floor and attended seminars. I found a beautifully designed new planting container called RediRoot Breathe, described as a decorative air-pruning planter. It was so attractive I bought one and can’t wait to see how it works with the Aeonium I’ve planted in it. Listening to Michael Dirr discuss Hydrangea breeding was super. It’s always fun to hear a plant expert talk about their favorite subjects and he was no exception.
Old favorites included the delicious Portland food, the Portland Rose garden, and the colleagues and friends that I connected with at the show. I look forward to 2020!