Plant Nerd Night 2015 – crowds, people and nerds… and plants!

Last Friday, I went to my life’s second Plant Nerd Night. It is an annual plant geek revelry, hosted by Mike Darcy, local radio plant nerd extraordinaire, and sponsored by a number of great garden related companies. Both times I’ve been, the evening has centered around presentations by unique growers in our area who also bring some of their favorites in to sell. Interspersed between the presentations plants and items are raffled off to a few lucky people. The event is held at Lake Bible Church in Lake Oswego, and is popular enough to fill this huge church. Get there early – parking can be tricky if you’re late!

I got there about when it opened, and headed upstairs to keep an eye out for my friend and co-worker Gina, who was braving rush hour traffic to make it down after work.

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Here is Dancing Oak‘s booth seen from up above. You can see that it was very crowded. In retrospect, I wish I would have elbowed my way in – during the presentations, I realized that these guys special offering was one of my favorite plants talked about that evening – an Epimedium called ‘Arctic Wings’ – a shade-loving, drought-tolerant perennial with HUGE snow-white flowers. Now, I would totally have made some sacrifices in my cramscaped garden in order to make space for one of those. By the time I got there, they were all gone. Bummer…

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Leonard and Fred of Dancing Oaks did a booming business in the entry hall. I stayed away from the crowds up under the rafters until Gina got there. Here, she has just walked in and – being a big fan of Dancing Oaks – dove right in to find her must-haves. I wish I would have not felt like such a recluse – I really missed out on that Epimedium. Oh well – you snooze, you loose.

 

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Thomas and Kirk from Sebright Gardens hawking their wonderful plants on the opposite wall from Dancing Oaks. Their special offer was a miniature hosta. I didn’t buy one, thinking anything that small would only get smothered by all the other plants in my garden. It was pretty though… I was severely tempted by some of their ferns, but since I spent the earlier part of the day exploring both Garden Fever and Xera, I had started to feel uncomfortable not only with the crowds, but with starting at  the bottom of my nearly empty wallet. Besides, I want to make a road trip down to visit Sebright some time this year anyway. I don’t shop too well under pressure of both time and crowds – I’m sure a leisurely visit will be far more conducive to fulfilling my fantasies.

 

 

An hour after the doors opened, the the presentation part of the program began. Nowadays, it starts with all the presenters singing the Flintstone song – with new lyrics by Linda Beutler. Kinda goofy, but all in good cheer… In previous years, there have reportedly been a  plant nerd chorus which they – also reportedly – are trying to revive. Perhaps next year – I’ll be on the lookout for sure. Both times I’ve attended PNN, Mike Darcy has brought his grandson in to play the piano. All the presenters have a set time to run their spiel, and after that, the Sound of Music tune of “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye” nudges them off the stage. It’s adorable!

Here are Tonya and from Petula showing some of their latest faves. Petula is a sidekick company of WeHoP (Western Horticultural Products), and they bring lots of cool plants up from California and other places, and test their performance here in our cooler, wetter climate. Through the arrangement of Peter - the Outlaw Gardener, a bunch of us bloggers visited Wehop in September 2013. You can read more about that here. I meant to go up to Tonya and say hi, but she was constantly surrounded by a swarm of people. No wonder - the stuff they brought to share was fantastic!

Here are Tonya and Molly from Petula Plants showing some of their latest faves. Petula is a sidekick company of WeHoP (Western Horticultural Products), and they bring lots of cool plants up from California and other places, and test their performance here in our cooler, wetter climate. Through the arrangement of Peter – the Outlaw Gardener, a bunch of us bloggers had a chance to visit Wehop in September 2013. SUCH a good time – you can read more about it here. I meant to go up to Tonya and say hi, but she was constantly surrounded by a swarm of people. No wonder – the stuff they brought to share was fantastic!

Kelly and Sue – the fun plant hunters from Far Reaches Farm had made a video for their presentation, but there was some issues with the sound. No worries – they improvised the entire thing on stage – it was great! Among other goodies, they talked about this black-flowering clematis they had brought. Intrigued to no end, and although I hurried to their table afterwards, I was too late. The last two had just been snagged by Dancing Oaks and Sebright respectively. Oh well, I suppose that means that we will see them show up here and there in a year or two. A black Clematis… how cool is that??? Well worth waiting for!

Kristin from Hydrangeas Plus introduced her favorites, which of course were Hydrangeas. I like hydrangeas a lot – especially the mop heads, but have never really done well growing them. I have plenty of both dappled and dense shade, but I’m too stingy with the water to make them truly happy.

Roger Gossler did the presentation for Gossler Farms. Again, I fondled the dark-leaved Rhododendron (Ebony Pearl, I think) that I first saw at the YGP show, but again resisted. Pretty darn cool, though… The one that I very nearly fell for is the one below – a Stachyurus. Damn all logic to hell – I LOVE that one! Of course I have no room for it and buying one would be insane, because it would launch a huge garden edit I don’t have time for, but no matter… In my next garden, it will be one of the first to go in, and it will be in an honorary spot, for sure. It is so uber-cool with its long, dangly, green flowers.

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At last year's Nerd Night, I bought this Hellebore from Dan Hinkley...

At last year’s Nerd Night, I bought this Hellebore from Dan Hinkley

... and a Craspedia from Cistus. The photo of the Hellebore was snapped today, but I haven't seen the Billy Ball emerge yet. Fingers crossed it didn't die... it such a fun plant!

… and this Craspedia from Cistus. The photo of the Hellebore was snapped today, but I haven’t seen the Billy Ball emerge yet. Fingers crossed it didn’t die… it such a fun plant!

And that, my friends, pretty much sums up Plant Nerd Night for this time. We left with our goodie bags, our complimentary bags of Black Gold, and new acquisitions, feeling rather pleased with our evening. Oh – one last  fun thing; The following week a gentleman walked in to the nursery where I work. We got to talking, and it turns out he was Michael Snyder –  the man that suggested to Mike Darcy that perhaps FM 101 KXL would want to take over the event when the Hoyt Arboretum decided they had had enough of it, after the two first years. The rest is, as you know, history. Pretty fun coincidence, huh? And guess what… He told me that during all these years, he has never won a single thing at the raffle. What a bummer! It made me feel much better about not having any luck either – if anyone should win something, it’s him!

About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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12 Responses to Plant Nerd Night 2015 – crowds, people and nerds… and plants!

  1. What fun! I wish I could have come. It’s so irritating that Virginia has to be 3,000 miles away. I can’t believe Dan Hinckly has been there! That hellebore is a beauty.

    • annamadeit says:

      I wish you could have come too! Every year they have a different line-up of plants-people, although there seems to be some overlap. It really is a great way to get a sneak preview of all that is offered. It’s a fun time, for sure, and I’m grateful for all the effort involved – not only in putting on the show, but also for all the vendors bringing their wares. 🙂

  2. I really do want to attend this event one of these years..but, I’d have a hard time with the crowds. I will need to make a trip to Sebright this year as well…maybe we can get a group together?

  3. Sebright is fabulous, as are Kirk and Thomas – you’ll love a trip to the nursery. Which I could have been there, it killed me to miss it this year.

  4. Kris P says:

    Only in the PNW! Now, I’m wondering what it would take to convince my husband that we really do need to move up north.

    • annamadeit says:

      Maybe bring him up here for an extended visit? Of course, timed to coincide with one or two of our fave garden events…? We have organic beer festivals too, if that is more his thing… 😉

  5. rickii says:

    Every year when my Stachyrus praecox blooms, little yellow butterflies (same color as the blossoms) appear to flutter around it. As the blossoms disappear, so do they.

  6. Peter/Outlaw says:

    What a great event! One of these years, I have to make it down to attend!

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