I don’t suppose there is a gardener anywhere near the Portland area that is unaware of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon’s big plant sale this weekend. I will mention it anyway, just in case. All of the best nurseries show up with their best merchandise, so it is like an epic road trip without the road…making the $7 fee for parking seem like the bargain that it is. Whatever your stand on the fall planting issue, you won’t want to miss out, so head on over to the expo center. You can click on HPSO in my blogroll if you need to know more.
Last Saturday HPSO brought in renowned plantsman Roy Lancaster to give a presentation. His plant sense doesn’t really match up with mine, which is probably a good thing: I came away with a shorter list of plants to watch for than I might have. The man himself is a delight. Puckish and exhuberant, his imitation of insects coming in for a landing in search of pollen was worth the price of admission. His emphatic gesture of running a hand through his shock of wiry white hair caused it to stand on end…looking much like Earl’s friend in the ‘Pickles’ cartoon.
His advice to those of us waiting overlong for a magnolia to bloom: first, talk to it nicely; threaten it; if those tactics fail to produce results, make arrangements for someone to dig it out. After ten years of anticipation, he went through these steps a year at a time. Step 3 had the desired effect: the tree burst into magnificent bloom, as only a magnolia can. The next year, when his contact called to ask “You know that magnolia you wanted me to haul away?” his reply was “What magnolia?”
Many of these events take place on the beautiful campus of Reed College, which takes me past the Reed Hell Strip. I’ll tell you about that and share some pictures next time.