Check Out the Top Varieties On Display at Farwest 2017

A panel of judges selected ‘Mesa de Maya’ Southwest Oak (Quercus x undulata ‘Mesa de Maya’) as the Best in Show winner at the 2017 Farwest Show New Varieties Showcase.

‘Mesa de Maya’ was just one out of 40 new selections that were displayed at Farwest 2017 and available from at least one show exhibitor.


“Farwest has a long legacy of showcasing the best new selections the horticulture industry has to offer, and our 2017 show continues that proud tradition,” says Show Director Allan Niemi of the Oregon Association of Nurseries.

‘Mesa de Maya’ Southwest Oak was selected from seedlings grown by Dr. Allan Taylor, oak explorer and expert, in Boulder, CO. It is part of the curated program of Western adapted oaks branded as Southwest Oaks, released by Heritage Seedlings & Liners of Salem, OR.

‘Mesa de Maya’ Southwest Oak has large blue-gray leaves that hold their color late into autumn. The foliage lacks most prickles and to many people it doesn’t look like oak foliage. The tree, reaching 25 feet in height at maturity, will be a stunning contrast to most background colors. Because it is grafted onto adapted rootstock, it will have a broad range of application from Washington to Colorado, to West Texas over to California. In the West and the Southwest, it will thrive in arid and drought-prone plantings but it will also flourish in irrigated sites. Suitable for use as a specimen and in commercial plantings, it enjoys full sun, and adapts to drought and high pH soils, but also thrives in irrigated landscapes. This grafted form will grow with a single stem to 25 feet tall with a 20-foot spread. It could also be branched low and grown as a multi-stemmed tree, as is common to its wild sisters.

In addition to the Best of Show award, three Awards of Merit were given by the judges. They were as follows:

Gardenia ‘First Editions Sweet Tea’ (Gardenia jasminoides) — Introduced by Bailey Nurseries, this new, reblooming double gardenia has fragrant tennis-ball-sized flowers. Sweet Tea is more upright and larger than Double Mint and is more winter hardy. It survived 4°F to 6°F temperatures in 2013–2014 in an aboveground container with no injury and is currently being tested for Zone 6 hardiness. It blooms on new wood and requires partial shade and medium water with soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Growth habit is compact and rounded, reaching 3½ feet tall and wide.

• ‘Burgundy Lace’ Hazelnut (Corylus avellana ‘Burgundy Lace’) — This variety was introduced by Heritage Seedlings and Liners and selected from seedlings at Oregon State University from crosses made in 1998. It is attractive in spring and early summer with lacy red foliage, and in winter, when its catkins stand out against gray skies. Resistant to Eastern filbert blight, it is moderately sized and easily managed even in smaller yards. It is an edible ornamental tree with edible nuts held in ornamental red husks. It is a moderately fast grower, with a mature height of 35 feet and spread of 30 feet.

Corydalis ‘Porcelain Blue’ — Bred by Hillier Nurseries in the United Kingdom and introduced by PlantHaven International and Skagit Horticulture, ‘Porcelain Blue’ is best in Zone 5. Most corydalis selections are summer dormant, whereas ‘Porcelain Blue’ blooms from early spring through fall. It has a strong growth habit and produces masses of electric-blue flowers, with profuse repeat flowering. It has an attractive blue-green foliage and works well in pots and containers, as a garden border, and in modern landscapes. It grows best in well-drained soil, and has a tidy, clumping growth habit, reaching 10 by 12 inches.

People’s Choice Awards Winners

During the Farwest Show, people in attendance were able to vote for their favorites. The votes were tallied, resulting in the selection of three People’s Choice Awards that were announced on the final day of the show.

• Black Diamond Purely Purple Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) was chosen for the People’s Choice Best in Show award. Bred by Jim Berry of J. Berry Nursery, it is an aesthetic standout with dramatic dark foliage and stunning purple blooms. It performs in the most challenging landscapes due to its sun and drought tolerance. It can be pruned to tree form, shrub form, or perennial form, and is stunning as an annual in a patio container or landscape for Zones 5 and below. It features black foliage from spring until first frost, along with masses of purple blooms from early summer until frost. It takes full sun and is drought tolerant once established, and has an intermediate habit with a mature height of 10 to 12 feet tall and width of 8 feet.

In addition to the People’s Choice Best in Show award, two People’s Choice Awards of Merit were also announced as a result of the voting:

• ‘Strait-Laced’ Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) — Developed by Ken Tobutt and Fiona Wilson in the United Kingdom and introduced by Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs, this is a narrow, upright variety that takes up only a few square feet of ground. Feathery black foliage covers broomstick-straight stems that shoot upward in a narrow column. Early summer brings hundreds of pink flowers to contrast with the leaves. It is hardy and easy to grow, and a columnar habit offers many landscape uses. Dead wood should be removed in early spring. Any errant shoots can be pruned out to the ground as needed. Plant in full sun for best color and shape. It is not recommended for warm climates, and grows in part sun to full sun.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’ — Bred by Ryoji Irie from Japan and introduced by Concept Plants, this plant was presented as a debutant at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, winning “2014 Chelsea Plant of the Year” because of its vivid colors and special qualities. Double-petaled, sterile flowers have deep-rose margins. This color softens to white in the center and forms a nice contrast with the dark foliage that turns burgundy in spring and autumn. ‘Miss Saori’ has a long flowering period that starts in June. It flowers even on first-year wood. Ideal location is in full sun or semi-shade. It is beautiful in borders or containers, and also as a cut flower. It matures to 40 inches tall and wide, and is available as 4-inch liners from Silver Falls Nursery.

More information on the winners and all of the New Varieties is available at