Portland's 2015 Yard Garden and Patio Show

After visiting Seattle's Northwest Flower and Garden Show on Valentine's Day, I decided to compare Portland's parallel version, the Yard, Garden and Patio Show. I've been several times, but this year for the first time it was put on by Metropolitan Productions, Inc. so I was unsure what to expect. Up until now, it had been a production of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. Coming off the heels of Seattle's NWFGS, I wasn't that enthused; however, I felt it my duty to go. So we went on a Friday night.

I was not disappointed. A few things made this much more enjoyable than Seattle's. First of all, it's local, an obvious advantage. It's more manageable, which sounds counter-intuitive considering more = better when it comes to horticulture for me. Frankly, there were more plants and foliage, and that alone made it worthwhile. It also helped that we breezed through---on a Friday night, there was hardly a soul there. It was divine! Lots of room to roam around (quickly though as it closed at 7:30). One more thing, it smelled nice. It was fresher, as if the doors had been open all day and it smelled of the outdoors. Very pleasant. Thumbs up for me.

Let's break it down into three components: The plants, the show gardens and the vendors. This is a long post, so please hang in there.

Some succulents at the Remarkable Green Market. Represented at the market were: Cistus Nursery, Gossler Farms Nursery, Dancing Oaks Nursery, Highland Heather, N & M Herb Nursery, Out in the Garden Nursery, Rare Plant Research, and River Rock Nursery.

The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon was there in full force. They had fabulous display tables set up with not only information but cuttings of broadleaf evergreens, coniferous evergreens, deciduous trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials, you name it. Blooms were everywhere as spring has sprung on the West Coast so it was a delight to see this front and center as you entered this area of the show at the Oregon Convention Center.

Fabulous flower display in the HPSO arena. Do I see some hardy eucalyptus a la Sean Hogan of Cistus Nursery in there?

Some examples of quince, camellia and other blossoming beauties.

Narcissus blooms in there, too.  OK, see what I mean? For a Yard Garden and Patio show, the garden part takes center stage and I like that.  It's their "Winter-In-Bloom Display" and is quite refreshing.

Everything is labeled, people are on hand to answer questions. HPSO is a fantastic organization with so many activities, open gardens, lectures, classes, benefits, book sales, tours, friends and just fun. If you are in Oregon and SW Washington, I highly recommend joining.

There's the coveted edgeworthia blossoms on the right. I still don't have one yet.

Some hardy lovelies for the Pacific Northwest garden (and beyond). Blechnum spicant or deer fern on the left is native and wonderful.

Fatsia japonica variegata leaf.

The ubiquitous late winter hellebore blossom bowl. These things are amazing.

Now moving on to the marketplace vendors mentioned earlier.

Highland Heather had a gorgeous selection.

Pachypodium saundersii, compact form. An oddball to be sure found at Rare Plant Research.

Goodies at the Cistus table.

Some "too big for the shelves" plants at Rare Plant Research.

Rhubarb. I had no idea. I'm conflicted now.

Here's a treat, a Wollemi Pine or Wollemia nobilis, thought to be extinct. I saw these in Australia at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, and I blogged about them here. Quite a treat to see in Oregon!

Comprosma 'Fireburst' - to zone 8. Colorful evergreen shrub and shiny.

Aloe variegata.

 Opuntia 'Sunset' from Cistus Nursery.

Now here's some fine foliage.

Oh, the selection. There were a lot of plants offered in the marketplace and the cool thing is that you gather up all your plants from the multiple nurseries and pay all at once at the cashiers - Master Gardener volunteers! It's a great system, one I certainly appreciate. We did walk away with a few treasures, I am sorry to say I did not photograph them! Bad Tamara. So sorry. They're in the ground now, I will highlight them another post another day. Moving on.


See - on a Friday night there aren't many people! Airy and fresh. Plus, you can walk through the gardens, unlike most others where they are fenced off.

This is the "Eat Play Glove" garden designed by Dennis' Seven Dees.

I enjoy the patterns and tapestries of plants here, heavy on foliage.

Orange pots and edgeworthia, two things I see a lot of lately.

Nice use of a pocket planter with more foliage.

Rich with greens.

Love these stock tanks, just my size!

This is the "Eat Drink and Be Merry" garden by Showscapes Landscapes Specialists. All of these gardens are heavy on the hardscaping, true. But they had a lot more foliage than the NWFG show and also felt more open, fresher and realistic. Not quite so much for entertainment value.

OK, except maybe a bocce ball court. But how cool would this be? There are a couple of these in parks around Portland.

I like the look of this fire pit, rebar, perhaps?

This is "Modern Simplicity" by Western Interlock Inc. This is very heavy on the hardscaping, not much in the garden arena here. Fire, though. Lots of that.

I fell into a burning ring of fire. Or rather, David did. Or rather a light bulb- heated craft project of fan-powered cellophane. Note: No Davids were harmed in the making of this blog post.

There were a few plants among the flame-delivering devices.

Dream, dammit.

Lots of bricks. I dubbed this one the man-garden.  I took many more photos of this but they ended up all outdoor showers, bricks, concrete and fire. And bricks. You get the picture.

This is "Your Own Northwest Paradise" by Northwest Outdoor Living and Landscapes. The taller trees in back felt nice with the open airy feel sweeping across the foreground.

Hi guys! We were having some laughs. I think this was the end of a very long day for them. Looks kind of cozy, really. Nice fire pit, glass of beer,  some conifers, what's not to love?

They were good sports. We chatted about the differences between the YGP show and the NWFGS. I mostly pointed out how more down to earth the Portland version feels with its focus on the foliage, the ability to walk through the displays and its accessible nature.

It has a very Pacific Northwest vibe, and sorry, I can't articulate exactly what that is. It just has it.

This is the "Toe Dippin', Wine Sippin' Timeless Pleasures" garden. Kind of a mouthful. Designed by L. Meyer Design and JP Stone Contractors.

Heavy on the entertaining aspect of outdoor living.

Pretty cozy cool place to lounge, I have to admit.

As far as these "Showcase Gardens" go (and they are not all pictured here, Flutter and Hum blog has a nice writeup of others), I have my opinions about these. While overall they appeal to the home improvement sector of consumers at the show, there are some plant-ish elements that speak to me sometimes. These are certainly fresher and more livable than those at the Seattle show with many more take-away ideas that I would possibly use myself someday.


 It seems that the floors were less crowded this year, not just because of our Friday night visit. There were less vendors, perhaps. I did not see Bauman Farms, a nursery I always enjoy so that was too bad. But there were a lot of wonderful booths, here are the highlights.

A favorite, Little Prince of Oregon. My fellow bloggers and I just paid their fabulous wholesale nursery a visit this past week thanks to a generous invitation by Mark. You can read about some of those outings by bloggers Danger Garden, Sprig to Twig, Mulch Maid, and Rainy Day Gardener .
Here are two more to add: Gravy Lessons and Plant Lust. Oh, and here's my original post from last fall.

Here's a new Portland garden shop for me, Hammer + Vine just off of West Burnside at NW 21st.

A local store filled with treasures galore. I love seeing local vendors and supporting them, too. She had such a wonderful variety, I would encourage anyone in the neighborhood to stop by.

And very very reasonable prices. Pick up four or five - they make great gifts.

How about those sea urchin-looking creatures?

Nice variety of succulents. I'm going to go do some shopping there for some succulent planters for which I have plans.

That is a tillandsia bargain, my friends.

How about for wedding favors or party favors? Nice. Great to see her there, welcome to the YGP show, Hammer + Vine!

Casa de Mexico Art. He has the best ceramics, I know Bonnie Lassie picked up a few at the NWFGS last month, I should have bought a few, too! Love his wares.

Here's the "Urban Edible Garden" designed by Matt Holt of Grasstains Landscape Design and Build. I suppose this should be in the Show Gardens sections but it was cleverly tucked into the vendors section. I found it refreshing.

 Veggie gardening is something I dream about doing on a bigger scale and doing right. I have had the right training but have not put it into practice into my 10' x 2' veggie bed yet and my seed starting skills, well, they aren't really there. Scenes like these make me drool.

 And planters like these, too. I appreciate the mix of herbs, edibles and ornamentals here. I believe that's Pacific Northwest native Vaccinium ovautm on the right (evergreen huckleberry) mixed with Salvia starts and onions, too, see, there are no rules. Make it up to suit your needs.

 Those planters are a great idea, and the shape is something that could be useful in a tight spot.

Back to the vendors!

Here's the fine books of St. Lynn's Press.
They are an independent, organic gardening and sustainable lifestyle press, one worth seeking out.

Publishers of such lovelies as my fellow garden blogger Christina Salwitz and Karen Chapman's book Fine Foliage. It's a keeper, I go through mine weekly at least.

Dennis' 7 Dees was a major sponsor and had a fabulous HUGE booth this year right in the heart of the show.

Wares of all kinds in bright shades of springtime.

Lots more plants! Yes, thank you!

Sweet little bee themed pots. I would have bought it, but it was made in China. That's just me. I really really try not to.

This is the N & M Herb Nursery Booth, they are here every show and I always enjoy shopping with them. N & M has great variety and prices. This was a well-stocked booth prepared for the weekend of shoppers ahead.

 Here's another favorite we see at many garden fairs, Salem's own Sedum Chicks.

They specialize in hardy succulents and it seems they have expanded into the vertical sedum planter craze. I always enjoy the hyper tufa troughs, especially with alpines or succulents. That never goes out of style.

Their selection just gets better and better!

And here's the Sedum Queen! Thanks for the photo!

Last but certainly not least is Glass Gardens Northwest, winner of the Best Garden Decor 2015 for the YGP show. Well deserved! Out of Washington, they were also a presence at the NWFGS where I bought my first "bee preserver". What the corn is that you ask? A bee preserver is a glass float that has partially melted glass pieces on the exterior of the globe so bees can hold on and get a drink of water while floating around, lounging on a hot summer's day. Truth is they need the water and, well, it's just clever. Plus, they donate a portion of sales to the Foundation for the Preservation of Honeybees. How cool is that? Win-win. I bought three more. Knowing my husband's favorite color is orange, guess which ones I bought? Yes, the two orangies plus the cobalt beauty came home with us.

At this time, the bell was ringing 7:30, time for dinner and homeward. It was a great show. I left feeling refreshed rather than beaten down. What I covered in this post is just a small sampling of everything offered at the YGP show: in addition to what I covered there were also cooking classes, wine events, kid-centric events, garden seminars and demonstrations, and yes, lots of wack-o vendors that have nothing to do with plants but something to do with Yard and/or Patio. I admit, after much grumpy thinking I have come to terms with the fact that these shows need to attract a lot of foot traffic in order to stay open, and I highly doubt that there are enough people like me who are interested primarily in plant material to keep it afloat with simply greens. So they need to have the monster hot tubs, super barbecues, wine tasting and hot dogs. So be it. Make it a family outing. Maybe along the way one or two of the hot tub-loving burly men will fall in love with a Pachypodium saundersii and a new passion will begin right then and there. That's ok by me.

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens, thank you for reading! Happy gardening!


  1. Excellent wrap up of the show! I love the more laid back feeling of the Portland show and the more numerous plant vendors! We were there on Saturday and there were lots of people there but because there is so much more space at the Portland show, the crowd didn't press in. People were in a happy mood to see things. I think that the vibe at both shows reflected that of the cities in which they were held and am glad that Portland is still such a friendly and garden oriented place! Can't believe that I somehow missed Hammer and Vine! I've drooled over their stuff in other blog posts and saw a few things that I would have picked up at their booth. (Oh the prices on those tillandsias!)

    1. That's wonderful, you guys had a great trip to Portland it sounds like. It is pretty laid back here, fresh and green too. Maybe that's it, Peter - the whole thing is more laid back?? You could be on to something. Hammer and Vine…next time you're out, let's go!

  2. It looks fun! And very tempted to attend next year...

    1. OK, deal! We'll take you! It was a lot of fun and breezy easy. Not outside but still lovely!

  3. OK, that show looks like a lot of fun. I love all the plant and cool pot vendors. Thanks for sharing it with those of us in the land of no garden shows.

    1. Oh, Pam it was fun. You bet, glad to share the green pix with everyone. We're really quite blessed out here in the Pacific Northwest.

  4. That looks like a fabulous show. I am in Ohio so I will never see it. I don't think we have any shows which feature my favorites, the succulents. Those are awesome.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Kim! Succulents are my weak spot, I do adore them too. Happy spring!

  5. Great wrap up Tamara, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that there were no Davids harmed.

    1. No Davids were harmed and he even got a cookie.

  6. Here in SoCal, I'd never even consider going to a show with "yard" or "patio" in the title. Here that means hardscaping and tools - oh, and lots and lots of outdoor kitchens. Plants are an after-thought, if not an outright anomaly. Clearly, things are very different in Portland!

  7. Dream, dammit! - you crack me up!!! :) I totally agree with your assessment - it's such a downer to see all those clunky hot tubs, and massive grills. I much prefer circulating in my own little plant world instead. If you really have regrets about not buying Casa de Mexico's wares, we do carry some at Drake's. Besides, you need to come see me there some time!

  8. It would not hurt my feelings to be the proud owner of one of those outdoor fireplaces. Wow, a swim up one, even. Gorgeous.

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