2011 Yard Garden and Patio Show

This past Friday, I went down to the Portland Convention Center to check out the Yard, Garden and Patio Show. I went straight there after dropping the kids off at school, so I got there more than an hour early. To my great joy, this year the organizers had opted to put a plant book vendor outside the entrance gates, which gave me an entire hour to peruse the displayed goods undisturbed, which is quite a luxury to a mother of young children.

Once inside the gates, the first stop is always is the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon’s display table. This is a great place to see plants up close, sniff them, compare, and see which winter-blooming wonder you really can’t live without. It’s always a fun place to learn about cool plants that are new to me. This year, the effect of the colorful variety of decapitated hellebores floating in a bowl of water, blew me away! Made me want one of each! Unfortunately though, this event was not the place to buy one.

Not sure if it’s just me, but it seems that for the past two years there has been a significant decrease in the representation of nurseries and plants people in favor of a growing emphasis on stuff – porch swings (one clunkier than the other), composite decks, garden knickknacks, footwear, wine, outdoor cooking etc. I suppose it might all have its place in outdoor enjoyment, but since I’m a plant nut I would lie if I told you I wasn’t a little disappointed. Sure, there were some definite highlights – like Ivan McLean’s steel sculptures. Although a few places sold at least some kind of hellebore (per my newly awakened desire), I shudder to think what the past couple of years’ economic nose dive has done to the fiscal health of our local growers and retailers. Maybe I’m mistaken, but I cannot think of any other reason the producers of some of the lush bounty of our planted environment would be curiously absent from this highly marketed event. Anyway, I missed them…

One grower that bucked the trend and showed up was the Little Prince of Oregon Nursery. I got a kick out of the way they had assembled – in alphabetical order – plant tags, representing all the offerings of their various product lines, into easily manageable fan decks of the type you can get in a paint store. They made it really easy for you to paint your garden floor with ground covers, some of which they conveniently sold on the spot!

Of course, you can always count on some beautiful displays from the show’s sponsors – so also this year. A fire and water theme with lit up dogwoods planted and reflected in still water – very lovely. And of course elaborate water installations to tease the imagination. Best of all, though, were all the conversations I had with garden designers and plants people alike. There is a very real joy in exchanging snippets of information about your common passion, with total strangers! For total rapture, however, I’m holding out for the HSPO’s spring sale at the Expo Center in April. Can’t wait…

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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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