Written by Mike Darcy

Plant Nerd Night arrives this year on Friday, March 7.  If you have never been, I invite you to attend.  This is our 13th year to have this event and it seems to be like a snowball and keeps growing!  It is a fun and social event and it also a learning experience with lots of plant information given out by the presenters.

The format is that there are six specialty nurseries from throughout the area that have a 12 minute ‘window’ of opportunity to show some of their favorite plants and also new ones.  The presenters supply door prizes as do other garden businesses.  The presentations begin at 7pm, but for an hour prior (starting at 6pm), the presenters sell plants!!  After the presentations, plants are once again for sale.

We expect a capacity crowd of 500+.  Try to imagine being in the same room as 500+ other enthusiastic gardeners and you will get an idea of the energy as we all anticipate the arrival of spring and a new gardening season. Some call it plant lust!  Plus there is the added bonus of entertainment!

Friday, March 7
Lake Bible Church
4565 SW Carman Drive in Lake Oswego
(corner of Kruse Way & Carman Drive)
Doors open 6pm
Presentations begin 7pm
Free event, all welcome

Presenters this year are:
Cistus Design Nursery, Sean Hogan
Far Reaches Farm, Kelly Dodson & Sue Milliken
Joy Creek Nursery, Maurice Horn
Petal Heads, Dave & Annilese Doolittle
Wind Cliff, Dan Hinkley
Xera Plants, Paul Bonine & Greg Shepherd

Each year I ask each presenter to select one plant and offer it, often in limited quantities, at a special price.  I also ask the presenters to send me information on several of the plants they will be presenting.  I have heard from two of the presenters and they are Windcliff and Far Reaches Farm.  The following is the information they have sent.

Far Reaches Farm, Kelly Dodson & Sue Milliken

Our special plant will be a snakebark maple species we collected in China – Acer davidii var. metcalfii.  Beautiful striped bark with red new growth and good fall color.  This is a real rarity and they will have 20 to be sold at 10 bucks each.

Another new introduction from China will be a Clematis armandii relative, Clematis finetiana.  Evergreen with small white flowers.  Certainly these are among, if not the first, introduction to this country.

Tripterospermum pallidum is a very fun gentian relative from China which vines to 10’ and has white flowers in the fall.  Great addition to the fall garden and of course, very rare.

From the same mountain as the Tripterospermum, we will have young plants of an evergreen Magnolia which used to be in the genus Michelia.  This was a beautiful fairly small-leafed species to 25’ with showy red fruit clusters.

We will bring down some really nice gallon pots of martagon lily hybrids such as Claude Shride and Slate’s Morning.

Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’.  This is a fantastic thistle that is sterile and has amazing red flowers to 5’ tall.  It looks fabulous in late June and July and is perfect in the English Cottage Garden.

As for edibles. We will bring one of the many wild species of Actinidia or Kiwi  from China.  This wild species has tasty fruit kind of midway between in size between the grocery store varieties and the boutique quail egg sized ones.

Windcliff, Dan Hinkley

The special plant is Galanthus nivalis ‘Pewsey Vale’  49 @4.00.  I brought this form of Galanthus nivalis back from England years ago and find it to be the most dependable and vigorous of any snowdrop I have grown. The charming white flowers, with the inner tepal tipped in green, are somewhat smaller than the typical species, however the clumps quadruple from one year to the next.  If you want masses of snowdrops in your garden, this is the one to grow.

Some other exceptional plants that I will be bringing along in small quantities
Roscoea purpurea ‘Red Gurkha’
Arisaema thunbergii var. urashima forma alba.
Parrotia subequalis
Hepatica x media ‘Buis’

Joy Creek Nursery

The plant special from Joy Creek Nursery is Clematis ’Anita’.  This has small bowl-shaped, creamy white flowers growing on a large vine, 10-14 ft.  10 only available at $15.

Other plants that will be talked about include:

Clematis ‘Brewster’

Helenium ‘Tijuana Brass’

Hydrangea ‘Eve’

Lobelia ‘Firewalker’

Miscanthus ‘Gold Breeze’



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