So, I went to the Far West show. Rare Plants Research is a nursery that used to do a lot of exploration and introduction of new plants. Some of the things they were showing at their booth were this fancy orange Clerodendrum paniculata, a ‘Butterfly ‘Korean thing and a bronzy grass from New Zealand.
I saw a Golden Spanish Fir which was unusual looking. Skagit nursery from Washington was showing off their very dark purple Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’. I was prepared to be so impressed by the show, but there was a lot of the same stuff over and over again. And it’s spooky to have so many plants in one place and have it be so clean. They could have all been fake. Not much really jumped out at me. I was looking specifically for native plant wholesalers, but most that I talked to were awfully far from Portland. I did get some good catalogues for cutting up to make mood boards.
The most useful thing was hearing the talk on Native plants by C. Coleston Burrell. He worked at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for many years and now lives in his native Virginia where he does native planting design and consulting and writes books and articles. His perspective was interesting.. he views gardens very wholistically, as a system and considers the plants within that system when he is defining what is ‘native’. He considers an isolated native that is not part of a reproducing population to be just like any ornamental. Though growing native plants regardless of this issue can help to raise awareness about habitat preservation.