If you’re in Portland for the 2014 Farwest Trade Show, welcome! And likewise for those joining us only in spirit. From now until they roll up the carpets on Saturday evening, we’ll be posting here regularly about show happenings and highlights. Here are some can’t-miss experiences and opportunities Farwest has “on tap,” in one case literally, for Thursday (and Thursday night):
- Dr. Michael Dirr on Woody Plant Introductions — We have two morning-long seminar tracks focused on new plants — one on this year’s selections themselves, and another on developing and marketing new plants. The former will be led off at 8 a.m. by none other than Michael Dirr, one of the world’s foremost experts. He will discuss new woody plants that stand above all the rest, and which truly speak to growers and consumers. Just purchase your seminar pass and head over to room B110–112. Details here.
- Keynote Speaker: John Stanley — If you have a ticket to Farwest, then you have a ticket to see garden center and retail consultant John Stanley talk about the future of sales and customer service. “Don’t Serve Me … Make My Day!” will discuss a model of success that is already being used in other segments of retail and can be transferred to horticulture. The key is making sure your team has the skills to grow sales. This session begins at 11 a.m. in Room C123–124. Details here.
- The Idea Center: Chopped! Mission: Radical Container Garden — All new for this year’s Farwest Trade Show, The Idea Center is a place to learn new ways to grow and succeed. Located at the end of Aisle 25000, it will offer something different at all hours of the expo. Chopped! Misssion: Radical Container Garden looks to be one highlight. Four of the industry’s most talented individuals will be challenged to create a container combination using a selection of everyday plants. The audience will decide who wins and who is “chopped.” This session will be at 2 p.m. Details here.
- Young Nursery Professionals Meetup — This is an opportunity for up-and-coming nursery professionals (age 40 and younger, please) to network and socialize. Josh Robinson of Robinson Nursery and Crystal Cady of Sunshine Acres Farm & Garden will host; horticulture expert Sid Raisch will talk about the future direction of the industry. The gathering gets underway at 4:30 p.m. upstairs in the VIP Lounge on the second floor. Details here.
- Pub Crawl — This Farwest tradition is now in its third year, and gets better every time. It’s an opportunity to socialize with old and new friends, and enjoy some of the finest brews that Portland — the city affectionately known as “Beervana,” and justifiably so, in our admittedly biased opinion — has on tap. This year’s locations are Green Dragon Bistro & Brew Pub (directions) and, new this year, Base Camp Brewing Company (directions). Make your way to either location at around 6:30 p.m., or if you want to be escorted by our Beer Sherpas via streetcar ($1 fare), just meet up with us in Lobby C, beneath the dragon boat, at around 6:15, 6:30 or 7 p.m. Details here.
Stay tuned today, as we will be covering several of these events here on the blog. You can also check back to find out which plants from the New Varieties Showcase were favored by our judges, and which booths are taking home Ted Van Veen “Best in Show” honors (by category and overall)!