New Varieties Showcasing At Farwest Show

Growers and others attending the Farwest Show at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland later this year can evaluate some of the newest varieties at the New Varieties Showcase, a special display garden featuring an assortment of breeds.

The Farwest Show New Varieties Showcase selection committee only approved into the showcase 60 percent of the varieties submitted for review. The committee, made up of garden designers, retailers, wholesale growers, and garden media, evaluated submissions based on the uniqueness of the plants, value at retail and in growing environments, and desirability in the landscape and containers.

As a result of the evaluation, Farwest Show attendees will see an interesting array of plants displayed in a professionally designed display garden.

“No other show that we’re aware of makes this type of investment in a new plant display, either in terms of valuable show floor or publication space or staff time” says John Aguirre, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. “It provides show attendees, many of whom have an interest in exciting new plant varieties, with a unique buying experience. And they can immediately walk to an exhibitor that offers the plant for sale.”

Criteria for submission are three-fold:

- The plant must be either new to the market or previously available only in limited quantities;
–It must offer unique characteristics that distinguish it from other introductions; and
–It must be offered for sale by a Farwest Show exhibitor.

Upon admission to the showcase, the breeder or grower pays a small fee to help support the building of a well-designed display garden. In return, the plant is well publicized in the Farwest Show edition of Digger magazine, published by the Oregon Association of Nurseries in August.

“We value the partnerships the New Varieties Showcase allows us to create,” says Ann Murphy, director of marketing for the OAN. “The Association of Northwest Landscape Designers pulls together a team to design and help install the garden. This year, we also have a hardscape expert as part of the design team. It gives designers an opportunity to work with new plant material and we’re able to direct interested buyers to the growers selling the new varieties.”

The showcase is staffed with volunteers who answer questions and encourage visitors to complete a survey identifying their favorite new varieties, good feedback for growers, breeders and the industry alike. Plant tags are available for viewers to retain plant information and photo, as well as grower name and Farwest Show booth numbers. A panel of judges selects the best of each category–annuals and tender perennials, grasses and perennials, shrubs and trees–and awards a Best in Show.

For more information about the event or the Farwest Show, taking place August 20-22, click here.

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