HPSO and more HPSO

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.

6 Responses to “HPSO and more HPSO”

  1. Megan Says:

    HPSO – I had hoped for more fall like weather to get me in the mood for plant shopping, but I’m sure once I get in the doors inspiration is going to strike. Funny magnolia story, I know someone who threatened to buy a better magnolia to plant near the non performer, and that did the trick.

  2. ricki Says:

    Megan: they say it will rain tomorrow…maybe that will help. So…maybe it actually does work to threaten those magnolias.

  3. joco Says:

    Aren’t you lucky!
    He is just about the best gardening chap we have over here and I have never been fortunate enough to be able to talk with him like that.
    Breathless on TV can get a bit tiresome, as they are all doing it now, but he is genuine, and knows his onions.
    I chatted with Chris Beardshaw, the lovely A.T., even Percy Thrower a long time ago, I saw the ‘orrible Gavin D. when he happened to walk down our village lane ( and happily ignored him), but the inimitable Roy has so far evaded me.
    There’s time :-)

  4. ricki Says:

    Joco: What about Mirabel Osler? She is my all time fave.

  5. sprig to twig » Blog Archive » ...at last Says:

    […] in 2009, Roy Lancaster told a funny story about waiting for a magnolia to bloom. I wrote about it here. He waited ten years, so I guess our little tree is something of a prodigy. I get all loopy […]

  6. sprig to twig » Blog Archive » ...at last Says:

    […] in 2009, Roy Lancaster told a funny story about waiting for a magnolia to bloom. I wrote about it here. He waited ten years, so I guess our little tree is something of a prodigy. I get all loopy […]

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