A little-known secret is that here in Portland we have one of the best horticultural trade shows on the west coast, and nursery and plant people from all over the west travel here to do their ordering for next spring. My friend Sylvia and I were able to get guest passes to this incredible display of plant intensity through the kindness of Bainbridge Gardens on Bainbridge Island in Washington, a wonderful place with an amazing breadth of some of the healthiest plants I've ever seen at a single nursery.
A three-day event that combines seminars, nursery tours and speakers with an extensive trade show of everything from ground cloth to golden sumacs to garden fashions to tropical trees, this is so large it overflowed most of the lower level convention halls at the Oregon Convention Center. There is so much to see, in fact, that we had to break our odyssey into two days, and even then we couldn't really spend the kind of time it would take to talk to all the people about all the plants that we were interested in.
This is a must-see for all you garden maniacs planning your plantings for next year and it would be well worth bribing your favorite nurseryman with whatever it takes to get a free pass into this event. We came away with lists of plants we fell in love with, and information about local growers and when they open their stock to the public. Also, many of the booths liquidate their display stock at the end of the show on Saturday evening, so you can get some incredible deals on those plants that stole your heart at the show. So make plans now to get to next year's show, Aug. 23-27 at the Convention Center.