Farwest – the biggest nursery trade show in the West – sees a 10 percent jump in attendance
The 2015 Farwest Show promised members of the nursery industry a “Far From Ordinary” trade show experience — and it delivered. More than 6,000 industry professionals turned out for the three-day expo, which was a 10 percent jump over 2014, and over 40 new exhibitors also took part.
Farwest was held Thursday–Saturday, August 27–29, 2015 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. The show, founded in 1973, is produced by the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN), which represents Oregon’s $830 million nursery industry.
“The industry wanted an enhanced trade show experience, so we made that our goal,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. “To market the show, we launched the Far From Ordinary campaign, featuring the unmistakable, hort-headed Farwest Fanatics. We know it connected because advance registrations were way up. The people attending told us they enjoyed the new look, but more importantly, they liked what was under the hood. The show now has strong forward momentum, and we hope to continue that momentum in 2016.”
This year’s show included the successful debut of the Solutions Center for Growers, featuring 28 mini-seminars right on the show floor. It also had outstanding exhibitors, with an increased presence of retail goods; compelling seminars with industry experts; interesting nursery and retailer tours; fun networking events such as the Farwest Pub Crawl; and, earlier in the week, the International Trials Conference, which brought plant breeders from all over the world to Portland to discuss trialing standards and to network.
Attendees responded positively to the changes, as well as the combined synergy of all the show features.
“There was something about it this year that was better,” said landscape designer Linda Eggiman of Portland. “I could tell from the first time I walked through the door. It was well laid out and organized, and the seminars and classes were superior.”
Exhibitors were happy, as well.
“We made good contacts, and the show was much improved from the last time I was here,” said Forrest Jones of exhibitor Star Roses. “People were asking for product who hadn’t purchased from us before.”
“We met quite a few new customers,” said Rick Enthoven of Plantafor USA Inc., a first-time Farwest exhibitor. “Building relationships always works out, especially the first time meeting people.”
Farwest 2015 featured a free keynote presentation by globally-known customer service expert Ron Rosenberg. Other highly regarded experts also appeared, including Dr. Allan Armitage, Anne Obarski, Lloyd Traven and many others. They shared new ways the green industry can anticipate and meet evolving customer needs and capitalize on the market opportunities of the future.
Continuing Farwest features included the following:
• New Varieties Showcase, with 49 amazing new plant introductions;
• Idea Center for Retailers, with mini-seminars aimed at garden center owners and operators;
• Growers Showcase, a show floor display highlighting the exciting possibilities of edible plants;
• Walk the Show Floor with Experts, where Armitage and Traven gave small-group tours highlighting some of their favorite plant picks on the show floor; and
• Equipment Innovation Day, which had live equipment demonstrations in the field.
Planning and marketing efforts are already underway for the 2016 Farwest Show, which will take place next August 25–27, 2016 at the Oregon Convention Center.
“We understand the importance of Farwest to the nursery industry, not just in the Northwest but nationally,” OAN President Mike Coleman said. “People need outstanding networking, learning and marketing opportunities, and Farwest exists to meet the demand. We created a show that people agreed was ‘Far From Ordinary,’ and now our goal is to make Farwest 2016 even more compelling. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
New Love Clematis and First Editions Ruffled Red Magic Crape Myrtle win top honors in the 2015 New Varieties Showcase
There were 49 outstanding new trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and vines on display at the 2015 New Varieties Showcase. But for the plant professionals on the judging panel, New Love Clematis (Clematis ‘New Love’) stood out from the crowd.
The star-shaped, self-supporting vine was chosen by the judges for Best in Show honors. It was developed by Wim Snoeijer from The Netherlands and introduced by Concept Plants. It is available from Farwest exhibitors JRT Nurseries Inc. Canada and Silver Falls Nursery.
The 2015 showcase featured plants with interesting shapes, colors, growth habits and other characteristics, all displayed in an attractive format.
“New Varieties Showcase remains one of the most popular tentpole features at the Farwest Show,” OAN Director of Events Allan Niemi said. “Every year, growers and breeders put their newest and most impressive introductions on display for the green industry. Every year, the plants you see are unique and eye-popping. And this year was no exception.”
The judges also chose three Plants of Merit: Golden Belltower Columnar Ironwood (Parrotia persica ‘Golden Belltower’ PPAF), First Editions® Summer Ruffle™ Hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Aarticus’ PPAF), and Happiness Euonymus (Euonymus japonica ‘Happiness’).
Golden Belltower Columnar Ironwood was discovered growing at Chrishaven Trees in Washington state by Ken Christianson, and introduced by Plants Nouveau LLC and Heritage Seedlings & Liners. It is available from Farwest exhibitor Heritage Seedlings & Liners.
First Editions® Summer Ruffle™ Hibiscus was discovered by Steve Bruin, Lincoln Nursery, and is offered by Farwest exhibitor Bailey Nurseries Inc.
Happiness Euonymus was developed by Johan Nouws from The Netherlands and introduced by Concept Plants. It is available from Farwest exhibitors JRT Nurseries Inc. Canada and Silver Falls Nursery.
Crape myrtle wins People’s Choice honors
First Editions® Ruffled Red Magic® Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia ‘PIILAG-VII’ PPAF) won the People’s Choice Award in the New Varieties Showcase, based on votes from show attendees. The plant was bred by Joshua Kardos and Dr. Michael Dirr of Watskinsville, Georgia. It is offered by Farwest exhibitor Bailey Nurseries Inc.
There were three runners-up in the People’s Choice voting. They were Little Angel Yellow Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia × hybrida ‘Little Angel Yellow’), Ketchup ‘n’ Fries™ TomTato® (Solanum lycopersicum/Solanum tuberosum ‘Ketchup ‘n’ Fries’) and Happiness Euonymus.
Ketchup ‘n’ Fries TomTato was introduced by SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables LLC / Log House Plants / Plug Connection. It is available from Farwest exhibitors Ball Horticultural Company, HGTV Home Plant Connection, Skagit Gardens, Valleybrook Gardens Ltd. and Van Essen Nursery.
Little Angel Yellow Angel’s Trumpet was introduced by Ball Ornamentals and is available from Farwest exhibitor T & L Nursery.
Log on to www.FarwestShow.com/nvs.shtml to learn more about the plants displayed in the showcase.
Retailers vote on favorites from the 2015 Farwest Show
Ten products captured Retailers’ Choice Awards™ at the 2015 Farwest Show. The awards recognize outstanding new live goods and hard goods that are available for garden retailers to sell. Award selections were made by a jury of retailers attending the show. Sid Raisch of the The Garden Center Group served as the facilitator.
The winners were as follows:
Medinilla ‘Magnifica’, from Ball Seed, has amazing exotic flowers that bloom several times. This easy-care selection offers timeless beauty. Its beautiful pink flowers can grow to a length of approximately 50cm and are a joy to behold.
Peppermint Stick Celery (Apium graveolens ‘Peppermint Stick’ Hybrid), available from Ball Seed and from Burpee, is a real culinary delight! The striped candy pink and green stalks shade to green leaves. Intense, full-flavored celery is perfect for any kitchen garden, with abundant yields of ¼-inch stalks.
The Dan Hinkley Collection, from Monrovia, includes great new selections discovered by the man himself. He has traveled to China, South and Central America, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Nepal, Vietnam, Taiwan, Sikkim, Bhutan, Tasmania and Canada, always returning home with plant varieties new to consumers.
Tillandsia air plants, from Plantifor USA Inc., are the hit new year-round indoor gardening sensation because of the ultra low maintenance and ultra high style characteristics. Unique offerings include an Air Plant 6-Pack with in-house design to create a private label for your company.
Pre-Made Planters, from Qualitree, offer exceptional value and sophisticated design. Each planter showcases a strong foliage framework into which are layered seasonal elements such as winter berries or superior long lasting heather. Every component is either evergreen or offers months of seasonal flowers — no more worrying about flowers dying, wilting or going dormant before they sell.
Clematis ‘New Love’, available from JRT Nursery and Silver Falls Nursery, is a clumping clematis with erect woody stems that do not need support. Clusters of large, star-shaped, violet-blue flowers are sweetly scented.
Variegated Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica ‘Spiderweb’), available from T & L Nursery, is a great plant for adding a dramatic tropical feel to shady spots. It has heavy white speckling on glossy green leaves, and is great in containers.
ReviewSprout.com, from Third River Marketing, helps you build, promote and manage your online reputation. ReviewSprout.com is the only reputation marketing and management platform built specifically for the yard, garden and patio industry.
Weigelia ‘Maroon Swoon’, from Van Belle Nursery, blooms an abundance of gorgeous bell-shaped flowers and has rich green foliage that contrasts for a stunning effect. It is an excellent selection for beds and borders, in containers or as a specimen.
Euonymus ‘Happiness’, available from Van Klaveren’s Nursery, is a new variety distinguished by its compact, upright habit and bright golden foliage. ‘Happiness’ is evergreen, with shoots that emerge light yellow-green and fade to deep yellow.
The Garden Center Group, an alliance consisting of over 150 companies, is the industry’s business development resource for garden centers and suppliers. The Group focuses on business solutions designed to help garden centers increase sales, improve operations and retain more profit.
With a support team of leading industry professionals offering business management, financial, marketing, merchandising, HR services, facility design, and more, the Garden Center Group provides retailers innovative resources to maximize their potential for success. For information about The Garden Center Group and the services it provides visit www.thegardencentergroup.com or call Danny Summers at 678-909-7770.
Skagit, Little Prince win top booth honors
Skagit Gardens won the Ted Van Veen Best in Show booth honors at the 2015 Farwest Show. The booth had a clever and unique outdoor dining table as its centerpiece, including plants between the place settings, and a water feature flowing down the middle.
Judges were understandably impressed, also awarding the company best grower island booth.
Little Prince of Oregon won the Far From Ordinary Booth Award. This new award was created to recognize an exhibitor who did something particularly creative.
The booth featured framed art spelling out the company name in sedums, but that was only for starters. What really got people talking was the way company employees Mark Leichty and Ryan Seeley became Farwest Fanatics. They used sedums and Spanish moss to create long, ZZ Top-style beards. For this, they also won best grower 10×10 booth.
Other booth award winners included Plantafor USA Inc. (best grower 10×20 or greater booth), Wurdinger Manufacturing (best supplier 10×10 booth), Victory Organics (best supplier 10×20 or greater booth) and Multione-OLS (best supplier island booth).
Congratulations to all of these companies for their outstanding efforts.