FarWest 2015 – a flurry of fun and fabulous!

This past weekend the who’s who of the hort industry gathered in our fair town for the Oregon Nursery Association’s annual extravaganza – the FarWest show. Gina, William and I left our worries behind and went together for a day of fun and revelry. Brace yourselves, dear readers – this is a long post of sensory overload…

The sign looks somewhat diminutive against the backdrop of the Convention Center dome, but hey - we weren't there to look at signage, so in we went...

The sign looks somewhat diminutive against the backdrop of the Convention Center ceiling, but hey – we weren’t there to look at signage, so in we went…

The first thing we saw was - to my mind - the best part of the whole show. Ryan and Mark of Little Prince adorned in the best Portland hipster beards you could possibly imagine - made from Spanish moss and Sempervivums. So very awesome!!!!

The first thing we saw was one of my favorite parts of the whole show. Ryan and Mark of Little Prince adorned in the best Portland hipster beards you could possibly imagine – made from Spanish moss and Sempervivums. So very, very awesome!!!!

A close-up!

A close-up – aren’t they beautiful?

Everyone - including William wanted to pose with them.

Everyone – including William – wanted to pose with them.

Are you ready for a whirlwind of images? I’d say it’s near impossible to see everything in a day, especially through the softening filter of of a few beers, but we did our best. 🙂 Here we go:

There is always an area full of novelty plants. When you enter, you get three tokens that you get to vote for your three faves with. I wanted to vote for the shelf...

There is always an area full of novelty plants. When you enter, you get three tokens that you get to vote for your three faves with. I really wanted to vote for the shelf…

This yellow marvel caught my eye, but there was no information on it, oddly enough, and nowhere to vote for it. Mystified - I just stuck the token in the flower pot. Someone will get the gesture, I'm sure. But I really wanted to know what it was...

This yellow marvel caught my eye, but there was no information on it, oddly enough, and nowhere to vote for it. Mystified – I just stuck the token in the flower pot. Someone will get the message, I’m sure. But still, I really wanted to know what it was…

Much later, I found a tagged one elsewhere. Holy crap - I had no idea I actually had it in me to get so excited about a Privet, but I really love that golden texture, and the way it fades into chartreuse. That would be a great filler plant for something...

Much later, I found a tagged one elsewhere. Holy crap – I had no idea I actually had it in me to get so excited about a Privet, but I really love that golden texture, and the way it fades into chartreuse. That would be a great filler plant for something…

These buds looked interesting, and turned out to be a Clematis in shrub form.

These buds looked interesting, and turned out to be a Clematis in shrub form.

Later I saw one in bloom, and decided right then and there that I like the vining kinds better. For a few seconds I mused over what drives the development of new plants. Is it to improve on the existing? Or, is it to make something different?

Later I saw one in bloom, and decided right then and there that I like the vining kinds better. For a few seconds I mused over what drives the development of new plants. Is it to improve on the existing? Or, is it to make something different? I’ll save that meditation for another day – there was way too much to see that required my attention.

Gina with a new fave - a Cercis. Soon, she will be gardening on 5 acres with nearly unlimited possibilities. Sometimes, I just want to kick her... Just kidding... :)

Gina with a new fave – a Cercis. Soon, she will be gardening on 5 acres with nearly unlimited possibilities. Sometimes, I just want to kick her… Just kidding… 🙂

The scrumptious wavy foliate of Prunus persicaria.

The scrumptious wavy foliage of Prunus persicaria.

Stacks upon stacks of cool pots...

Stacks upon stacks of cool pots…

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Where's the beef?

Where’s the beef? A topiary marvel in Bountiful Farms‘ booth

One can never have too many ferns, in my humble opinion… From the venerable Casa Flora:

Asplenium scolopendrium

Interrupted fern

Interrupted fern

Three in one - ferns mounted on a panel.

Three in one – ferns mounted on a panel.

Stag horn fern

Stag horn fern

Don Sprague's Garden Gallery offered lots of great. creative ideas.

Don Sprague’s Garden Gallery Iron Works offered lots of great. creative ideas.

Here the entire pot fits right in...

Here the entire pots fit right into the circular openings…

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The curlicue charmed me…

Recycled rusted corrugated metal panels used for planter boxes.

Recycled rusted corrugated metal panels used for planter boxes.

These look kinda familiar, don't they?

These tubular planters look vaguely familiar, don’t they?

Except these have that nice stabilizing thick metal edge. Oh, to have access to a metal studio....

Except these have that nice, stabilizing, thick metal edge. Oh, to have access to a metal studio…. The fun I could have…

Another great idea was the light fixture made with up cycled water bottles.

One booth offered a great scavenger idea – a light fixture made with up cycled water bottles.

Another fantastic material for creative types is bamboo… Sigh…

The arch at the Bamboo Garden Nursery's display - so cool!

The arch at the Bamboo Garden Nursery‘s display – so cool!

This is wonderful! The woman who made it told us she had bent the bamboo as it was growing, to force it into shape for this creation.

This is wonderful! The woman who made it told us she had bent the bamboo as it was still growing, to force it into shape for this creation. I’m in awe…

This bamboo mandala was stunning.

This bamboo mandala was stunning.

Here is a close-up. Pretty, no?

Here is a close-up. Pretty, no?

Inspired by the vaginal mandala – as so often happens in our merry band – the discussion turned to other sexual forms in nature, and the relative anonymity of a Twitter account. (Or, perhaps it was a Twatter account – I can’t remember…) Here are two more we came across on our day in the big world:

The Male...

The Male…

... and the Female.

… and the Female.

Air plants were amply represented, especially here from Plantaflor USA:

Tillandsias

Air plants tillandsias

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I like to think that these were named after me!

I like to think that these were named after me!

Foliage and flowers galore – everywhere you looked!

Check out the foliage of this variegated Alstromeria - so beautiful!

Check out the foliage of this variegated Alstromeria – so beautiful!

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Wish I could remember what this was…

Lovely succulent planters.

Lovely succulent planters.

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Astrantia

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Some kind of Sedum…

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Allium ‘Millennium’

Admittedly not a huge fan of pink Hydrangeas, but these were remarkable in that they were completely hard to the touch - like a dry sponge. I suggested they might be a compostable alternative to packaging peanuts. No, I wasn't trying to be rude - they were pretty amazing. And once they were properly dried out, they would be both voluminous and light weight - a shipper's delight!

Admittedly not a huge fan of pink Hydrangeas, but these were remarkable in that they were completely hard to the touch – like a dry sponge. I suggested they might be a good compostable alternative to packaging peanuts. No, I wasn’t trying to be rude – they were pretty amazing. And once they were properly dried out, they would be both voluminous and light weight – a shipper’s delight!

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Unlikely bedfellows in real life situations, but the Heather and the variegated Acanthus are indeed a smashing display combo – here in T&L‘s booth.

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William making a crack at something in the fabulous Skagit display.

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The fabulous, ferny foliage of Eupatorium capillariensis – one of my most recent faves. This plant is something else… 🙂

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Self-serve salad greens?

Self-serve salad greens?

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A kind of Sophora in the fabulous Youngblood display – a nursery with its own sense of style. 😉

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Pretty much back where we started – Spanish moss which was used in those marvelous beards.

Whew – that was a lot! If you’re still with me – I hope I managed to convey at least some of the excitement. The three of us had a very, very fun day! 🙂

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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18 Responses to FarWest 2015 – a flurry of fun and fabulous!

  1. Alison says:

    I sometimes think it would be fun and interesting to attend this show. I know it’s as nursery people’s trade show mostly, not a flower and garden show, so there’s no plants for sale. But it’s a great way to get a sneak peak at what’s up and coming.

    • annamadeit says:

      It really is, and it makes a big difference to not have to lug around a bunch of plants. They weigh a lot less when they’re just floating around in my head. 🙂

  2. Well done, now I don’t need to do my post! It was wonderful to bump into you guys repeatedly throughout the day.

  3. rickii says:

    I was hoping someone would do a post like this. You brought the show to life with your beautiful photography and artist’s eye.

  4. Wow, what fun!
    The shruby clematis is Clematis stans, a native of Japan. It’s a nice foliage plant, but I agree that the tiny blooms can’t hold a candle to the vining ones. I have one in a pot and I grow it for the nice foliage. That said, the one in your post has a much nicer bloom — deeper color than the one I grew from a seed I got from a friend:

    http://raingardenartsblog.com/2014/06/19/june-bloom/#cstans

    • annamadeit says:

      My reason for growing most of my Clematis is so they can ramble through other shrubs and poke their flowers out wherever they like. This year, I bought a C. durandii. This one in bloom reminds me very much of the durandii. Perhaps this is a new twist on the one you have? I had never even heard of a shrubby Clematis before…. Live and learn, I guess! 🙂

  5. mattb325 says:

    It looks like a fun day – those bamboo sculptures are extraordinary…especially the archway!

  6. Kris P says:

    You folks in the PNW have all the fun…

  7. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Now I want a beard like those! Perhaps the plant whose name you forgot is Ilex x meserveae ‘MonNieves’. Thanks for the great coverage of the show!

    • annamadeit says:

      You’re welcome, Peter – you would look great in one of those beards! Maybe we can get Little Prince to make and sell them?As for the plant ID – I bet you’re right – it does look like an Ilex!

  8. Ditto Rickii’s comments. Your post is a great alternative to a long drive to see it live. 🙂 I really like the Gallery Iron Works and the hydrangea is really interesting. Not that I need yet another pink hydrangea. 🙂

    • annamadeit says:

      Agreed – GIW have a lot of cool ideas… Really, that hydrangea was so unusual. You know how the sepals are usually soft and pliable. Not this one – they were very structural. It really felt very odd to the touch…

  9. rindymae says:

    Gah, drool worthy!!! And I’d want to kick someone with five acres of dirt, too.

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