Yesterday was the first day of the always highly anticipated Hortlandia – the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon’s annual spring plant sale, where area nurseries ply their astonishing and varied abundance. I figured this year, I’d help out a little, so, for a few hours, I volunteered to help man the book booth. Spring time in Oregon is littered with great plant sale events, and this one is usually the one I frequent. It is only a 10-15 minute bike ride from my house (or a couple of MAX stops). This year, I dropped Kid #1 off at tennis practice before heading up there, so I actually drove. Driving always proves detrimental to my resolve not to shop, as bringing the loot home is suddenly so effortless. This time around, to make things worse (and effectively speed up the dissolution of the above mentioned resolve) I learned that those who volunteer are rewarded with an hour and a half of pre-show shopping, before the doors officially open. In other words – volunteers get first dibs on all the goodies. In the end, with the gracious help of my friend Tamara (who is normally quite the enabler) I managed to whittle down my selections to about 3/5 of my original choices.
Check out the marvelous abundance. HPSO volunteers wore little red aprons, for easy recognition. Here is one early shopper, scurrying her pre-show stash to the Plant Holding Area.
While we were enjoying our privileged preview, plant enthusiasts from all over the PNW were gathering outside the doors. Here, they have just opened the flood gates to let the public enter.
My fellow book booth volunteers – Nancy and Loreene.
Here are the books – both new and used. One can really find some interesting books here. On the used end, HPSO receives many book donations, and have an impressive library. Books not needed for the library, are resold here, and at other events. The proceeds go to support the organization. I grabbed a fascinating NYT bestseller titled ‘The Secret Life of Plants’. Can’t wait to read it!
Here is my haul – the whittled down, edited version.
I can’t wait for my Hardy Tapioca (Manihot grahamii) to reach the 8′ stated on the tag. What a supercool plant – I have wanted one for years! This marvel came from a table belonging to The Tropics. Unless it is from this California company, I’m not sure I got the right website… Supposedly it is hardy to Zone 8. We shall see…
The flowers of the Smilacina fusca (a Himalayan False Salomon’s Seal) is what sold me on it. So adorable with their little black edges! This one came from Keeping It Green Nursery.
Berberis jamesiana – learned about this via a Google search a few weeks ago, and was filled with instant plant lust. Sure enough – Far Reaches Farm had one. I know it gets big, but in a case like this, one simply has to buy now, and find a spot later. This was too cool to pass up. If you are curious as to what the berry clusters will look like later, check out what Plant Lust has to say about it.
Normally, I’m not a frilly kind of person, but I went a little crazy over these leaves – here seen at the early stages of unfurling.
Here are the red stalks carrying those funnel shaped leaves – Farfugium japonica ‘Shishi botan’. Pretty cool, huh? This wonder plant came from Secret Garden Growers.
This is quite the opposite of frilly – these delicious upright stripy reeds. Scirpus zebrinus – Zebra rush. I’m not a 100% sure, but I think I grabbed this from Bird’s English Garden & Nursery.
Ever since I figured out that Begonias are so much more than those sad little waxy things in annual city plantings (which was – sadly – a rather recent development) – Begonias have peaked my interest on an amateur consumer level. The leaves of this one caught my eye – Begonia sp. off. pedatifida. Nice, big, red-veined leaves, and supposedly large white flowers in summer, if I don’t kill it first.
There are always exciting native plants offered at these events – this start of Lilium pardalinum sip shastens – Shasta lily – (a pretty orange turk’s cap) came from Wild Ginger Farm. Excited to give it a home!
Ivy has a bad rep here in Oregon, but I think it’s a shame to judge them all by the sins of one, and limit your possibilities to the invasive English one. As a genus, they really are quite amazing, highly useful plants, well worth your time and investment. Here is Headera canariensis ‘Sulphur Heart’ – quite a beauty. Found it at Cistus.
I had never seen a Wasabi plant before, but according to the woman manning the Frog Eyes Wasabi booth, they will give you lovely, glossy, evergreen, heart- shaped leaves up to 8″ across – in full shade. All you have to do is add water. And, you can eat them – the root as well as the leaves. Just had to try one of those!
Killed one of these last year, so I’m trying again. I left it in a pot, and forgot to water it during a hot-spell. Was so mad at myself, but found a new one, and will give it another go. Athyrium otophorum – Eared Lady Fern – this one from Fancy Fronds. Love those burgundy stems!
Finally – the photo is a blur, but the remaining flower doesn’t even look half as fabulous as it did when I first saw it, so no big deal. Epimedium x ‘Arctic Wings was Dancing Oak‘s feature plant at last year’s Plant Nerd Night. I was crowd shy, and stayed out of the stampede. When I finally got to their table, they were all gone, but the one on display was magnificent! In terms of wings, we’re talking Albatross here! I hadn’t seen it since, but figured I’d check if they had one here at Portlandia. They had one single, over- bloomed start left, and I grabbed it. So now I can strike that off my wish list. 🙂 Gina – if you read this, and I manage to make it expand, I will share with you!
I put six plants back – all pretty much irresistible! Thank you Tamara for your level head in times of lusty greed. I have not mentally let go of them though – I made sure to photograph all the tags, so I can find them later. I think my haul was still pretty impressive – with those other six, it would have bordered on obscenity!
In conclusion – it is still early morning, and the second day of the event starts at 10 am. If you are in the Portland area, and are one of those that get chills when you see cool plants, take a few hours and go check Hortlandia out. It’s a great way to support our smaller (but far mightier) independent growers of horticultural fanfare. I guarantee – you will see things you never knew existed! It’s pretty cool! 🙂