Canby Spring Garden Fair

Every spring for the past several years, I have attended the Canby Spring Garden Fair hosted by the Clackamas County Master Gardeners. It is certainly one of my favorites. It is outdoors on a sea of grass, and it's nearly all plants. Now in its 31st season, it's been held the weekend before Mother's Day since 1984.

 Native Cammasia quamash from Buggy Crazy Nursery.

There were 162 vendors, all plant or garden related. Just wonderful. There is also the "10-minute University" for quick classes with topics such as pruning, growing veggies and raised beds.

With fresh air, green grass and wagons-a-plenty, it's an easy plant sale to love.

The Spring Garden Fair is a major fundraiser for the Clackamas County Master Gardeners group. Proceeds fund horticulture scholarships for students at Clackamas Community College as well as go to community grants and free educational programs. Your $3 admission goes to very good causes.

A Young Man and Wagons: There is a free taxi service if you don't bring your own wagon or cart. Students from local schools work for tips and donations.

There's also a potting station, the "Ask a Master Gardener" clinic, New Plant Introductions, a raffle, exhibits, free pH soil testing, "Bees, Bugs & More" and children's activities. There's a food court, too. There was a new plant introduction - a tomato grafted onto a potato! No kidding.
Guess its name? Ketchup and fries.

The sedums were-a-plenty.

One of my favorite vendors, Rare Plant Research in nearby Oregon City, was there. I have yet to visit; their open days are limited and it always seems to conflict with work schedules so events like this are great for me.

So do we! Here are more offerings from Rare Plant Research:

Salix nakamurana var. Yezoalpina. Can that be right?

Dasylirion wheeleri

 Acacia bailyana - full sun, sharp drainage, to zone 9, rapid growth, yellow flowers in spring.

Another favorite we've been patronizing for some years now is Namaste Clay Works or Muddy River Clay Works, and our friend Mark. My husband has commissioned him to do a few gifts for me in the form of our two cats.

His prices are so reasonable. Everything on Sunday was half price! Such a jolly artist with a great spirit and really fun work.

We purchased a sweet coffee mug, a small vase and a Namaste garden wall hanging, all treasures. Thank you, Mark!

People out and about stocking up. Many come here to buy flats of annuals or visit the "Tomato Guy" who has hundreds of varieties of tomato starts. I'm not kidding. This place has it all, under the big, bright Oregon sun.

Could these be dazed plant zombies confused by the sun and too many choices?

Brugmansia looking for a new home.

There were some good deals to be had.

Here's Sedum Chicks! They display at all the best garden fairs around.

Another wonderful organization, the Rogerson Clematis Collection.

This guy has been here every year since I've been going. I don't know where he finds his plants but he has some amazing native perennials, hard to find ones, too. I found a Lewisia tweedyi from him last year that did really well up until a week ago. They are really difficult to find.

Pretty home-made looking, but that's part of the charm of this place.

The great thing was, there were a few native plant nurseries at this year's fair, it seems they are becoming more popular, something I am am thrilled about.

Great plants if you go! Seek him out.

OK, these guys were selling these:

I kind of wish I needed a chicken shirt. Maybe I do need a chicken shirt.

Then there's fabulous Sebright Gardens, known for their incredible variety of hostas and shade perennials. I have done some wallet damage here before.

And the ever-wonderful Dancing Oaks Nursery from Monmouth, Oregon. This is a destination nursery that I blogged about in 2013. This is the place dreams are made of.

This is also where I bumped into fellow garden-blogger Jennifer of The Rainy Day Gardener who was shopping with her mother-in-law, looking for some interesting shade plants. I think she took home one of these fantastic Podophyllum pleianthum, the same I have in my garden (the Jurassic plant as we call it).

 Here it is at Chickadee Gardens, at about three feet high. This is what it will do, Jennifer!

Moving on, there are lots of standard beauties to be found here, too.

The Shady Lady has a lot of hot hot hot going on. Looking good.

Knowing Mexican food was on the horizon, Mr. Chickadee was a trouper.


Doesn't it just feel inviting? It's a great setup. Free parking, too, I might add.

There was a new-to-me native nursery from Eugene, Oregon, called Doak Creek Native Plant Nursery. Cynthia the owner is very knowledgeable and kind, I would visit her nursery often if Doak Creek were in the Portland area. I was not thinking when I did not take a photo of the booth, but took a couple photos of plants such as the native camas seen here. A real gem of a place, and if you are in the south Willamette Valley, I would definitely pay a visit. There is a fabulous selection with great prices. I think this warrants a visit and blog post in the future. Perhaps the Eugene area is getting on board with creating habitats for pollinators too! How wonderful!

 From Doak Creek Native Plant Nursery: Native larkspur or Delphinium trollifolium, attracts bumblebees and hummingbirds. I bought a Plectritis congesta or rosy plectritis, a new-to-me native pink annual that gets about 12 inches tall. Lovely little plant.

 From a different native nursery, here's Western larch or Larix occidentalis.

 Yay, for the milkweed!

 Dodecatheon hendersonii, our native shooting star. This is from Wild Ginger Farms, one of my favorite nurseries around. I'll do a blog about them in the future.

 Achillea ageratifolia or Greek yarrow from Wild Ginger Farms.

A few other booths that I visited but not pictured are Echo Valley Natives (I bought a couple native phlox), Secret Garden Growers, Little Prince of Oregon, Old House Dahlias and Red Pig Garden Tools to name a few I can recall.

The Master Gardener Canby Spring Garden Fair began its life as a small fuchsia sale in 1984 and look at it now. It brings together some of the very best in the Willamette Valley horticulture world in a venue that is refreshing and easy if you are willing to drive to Canby, a mere 30 minutes from Portland. For an easy breezy Sunday morning, it's worth it. They have a plant check, food, carts to rent if you don't have your own, free parking and a great vibe. Relaxed and really, it's all about the plants which is why I keep coming back. All in all, a nice way to spend a sunny Sunday morning.

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens, thank you for reading and until next time, happy gardening!


  1. Fun looking plant fair and luckily the weather looked great too during that day, sunny and warm!

    1. Aah, it is a fun plant fair....sunny and warm, just what you'd hope for in a plant fair. Nice!

  2. This looks like a great sale. I think I need a chicken shirt too! Thanks for the link to Muddy River Clay Works etsy shop. Nigel is often willing to put up with a lot from me if there is food in the offing.

    1. Alison, you DO need a chicken shirt. Yes, you're welcome for the Muddy River Clay Works link, he's the nicest guy. I should send you pix of the cat stuff he's made for us. HILARIOUS sense of humor, just great work. And food, tell Nigel the food is-a-plenty at this place, they have the "Good Thyme Food Court" with some decent options. You'd dig it!

  3. Another fan of the chicken shirt! I love an outdoor sale too.

    1. Yay! Maybe chicken shirts all around? Hmm.....and yes, an outdoor sale is the way to go in my humble opinion!

  4. Loved running into you at the sale!! Next time you venture to Wild Ginger..drop me a note..I'll meet up with you. I checked out Echo Valley and Doak...very cool vendors! And yes! The MIL got the Podophyllum!! :)

    1. Me too, Miss Jennifer! So glad she got the Podo and you were able to check out Doak....nice! I'll let you know when I get out to Wild Ginger, would love to meet up with you - it's a date :)

  5. I love outdoor garden fairs! Those are the exception and not the rule in my area. Your event looks like a great way to spend a day.

    1. Aren't they the BEST, Kris? It makes such a difference. They are the exception here, too, don't be fooled. I think this is the only one that comes to my mind, anyhow. It is a wonderful easy way to spend the whole weekend, actually!

  6. I almost went to this fair, but used the nice weather to work in my garden instead. I like that it's outdoors and people can spread out more. I think I could handle the crowd better than the garden shows in convention centers.

    1. I know, Evan - it was such a great weekend that I could see wanting to just be in the garden and not go anywhere. It is a good one to go to if you ever get the itch, though :) I can handle these crowds as there's room to breathe, literally. Sunday is typically easier, I have found if you are a bit weary of big crowds as I am.

  7. Looks like a really sweet fair! One of these years I'll attend!

  8. Wow, looks incredible. Another thing to put on my garden bucket list. I hope to go to the Hardy Plant sale in Eugene on Saturday on my way to work. Unfortunately I won't have long. Next year I'll need to get these dates on my calendar and make sure I have the day off.

    I really liked those face planters. Fun!

    1. The face planters are really charming. He's a great guy, too. The Canby Spring Fair is always the weekend before Mother's Day, so you can mark your calendar well in advance :)

  9. It looks as too much fun! I love the Jurassic plant!! Wish we had events lie this here :)

    1. I wish you had events like this too! I bet you have some kind of fabulous other thing that we don't have....what do you have...fabulous food for one! Incredible plants...what else.. awesome people in Spain....awesome weather...I could go on and on :)

  10. This was going to be the year I finally attended. Then what with the swap on Saturday, and the sp greenhouse FINALLY coming down on Sunday, well, I didn't make it. Maybe next year! (Oh and David looks like such a good spirited trooper!)

    1. Well, you are one busy plantswoman. Someday, Danger! It's really a ton of fun and chill. And outside. In the sun. On the grass. How could you go wrong? :) And yes there are many agaves. :) And food for the partners in crime, and shade, too :)

  11. Oh my gosh, this looks and sounds like heaven!!!


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