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Farwest’s a Wrap

Ellen C. Wells
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In August, the 50th edition of the Farwest show took place in Portland, Oregon. From what I hear, it went pretty well and folks had a good time—and I heard that the networking events were very much worth the experience. More proof that getting out and meeting people is a good thing, personally and professionally.

Pictured: Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea from Bailey Nurseries.

Like a lot of shows, Farwest offered several opportunities for plants and products to head home winners. It may come as no surprise that show attendees voted Bailey Nurseries’ innovative Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea the People’s Choice winner in the 2023 New Varieties Showcase. Not only that, it also won a Retailers’ Choice Award at the show, too—just a month after it took a Retailers’ Choice Award home from Cultivate’23.

If you’ve been under a rock for the summer, here’s what Eclipse looks like, and I’m sure you’ll agree that it is indeed innovative.

The People’s Choice runners-up included:

•     Banana Split Winter Daphne, introduced by Monrovia. It’s a variegated variety that shines as a foundation plant in dappled shade. It’s 3- to 4-ft. wide by 3- to 4-ft. tall and hardy to Zone 7a.

•     Variegated Frydek Alocasia, introduced by Andrej Suske and Cascade Tropicals LLC, based in Snohomish, Washington. This variegated elephant ear is a sought-after form of Frydek for its unique variegation on velvety, soft foliage. Its mature leaves can get up to 18-in. long. It’s 3-ft. wide by 3-ft. tall and hardy to Zones 10a to 12.

•     Thuja standishii × plicata Leprechaun, introduced by Kogut Nursery. This unique, hardy compact form of Thuja Green Giant is soft textured with a tight habit. It’s 6-ft. wide by 15-ft. tall. Hardy to Zone 4a.

The show’s professional judges had an opportunity to distribute awards, too. That same Variegated Frydek Alocasia mentioned above caught the eye of these judges, as well, giving it the coveted Best in Show Award.

In addition to the Best of Show award, judges gave Awards of Merit to:

•     Double Scoop Watermelon Deluxe Coneflower, introduced by Darwin Perennials. Double Scoop Watermelon also won a Retailers’ Choice Award at Cultivate’23. It’s 22- to 24-in. tall and 18- to 20-in. wide. Hardy to Zones 4a to 9b.

•     Banana Split Winter Daphne, introduced by Monrovia and mentioned above as a People’s Choice runner-up.

•     Peppermint Patty Heartleaf Bergenia, introduced by Walters Gardens/Proven Winners. It offers a very unique look for bergenia, with white flowers that have a pink throat with color radiating down each petal, which are edged with a matching thin pink picotee margin. It’s 22-in. tall and 16- to 18-in. wide, and is hardy to Zones 4a to 9b. GP

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