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Farwest Show reveals best winning varieties

August 24, 2021  By Farwest Show

Kimono Hydrangeas declared People's Choice

New ornamental varieties emerged victorious from the Farwest show last week.

Horticultural professionals were tasked with voting for the attendee-chosen People’s Choice award and judge-chosen Best in Show award among 74 new selections that were on display at this year’s event. The show ran Wednesday, August 18 through Friday, August 20 held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore.

Winning the People’s Choice award was Kimono Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hokomareki’ USPPAF), hybridized in the Netherlands by Kolster BV and introduced by Curoplant Co. “Voter interest in the new selections was strong, as it always is,” said Allan Niemi, director of events for the Oregon Association of Nurseries, which produces the show. “People were excited to see what’s new on the market and can give them better performance or new design options.”


Kimono Hydrangea offers a unique combination of heavy re-blooming, compact size, dark foliage and flower coloration. It has dazzling blooms of white and pink florets with red margins sitting atop dark green foliage, all wrapped into a compact 2–3-foot package, suitable for the modern outdoor space. It prefers part sun and is suitable for Zones 5–8. It is available from Farwest Show exhibitors Van Belle Nursery, Walla Walla Nursery Co., and GardenScape Nursery Inc.

Sensational Lavender

Winning Best in Show was Sensational® Lavender (Lavandula intermedia ‘Tesseract’ PP31786). The plant was discovered by Lloyd Traven and Richard Grazzini and introduced by Peace Tree Farms based in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania. Sensational Lavender is available from Farwest Show exhibitors Walla Walla Nursery Co. It is described as “the next generation of Lavender Phenomenal.” The plant boasts “incredibly large and think flowers and sturdy stems,” along with “broad silver foliage that is “thick and tough” and a “thick floral aroma.” Other attributes include a dense habit, heat tolerance, humidity tolerance and cold tolerance.

“We are pleased to be back in person, after a one-year lapse where the in-person show was postponed and voting took place online,” said Allan Niemi, director of events for the Oregon Association of Nurseries, which produces the show. “There’s no substitute for seeing the industry’s best new plant introductions in person, where they shine the brightest, and we do have some great ones in the show this year.”

Runner-ups to the People’s Choice award included:

  • ColorBlaze® El Brighto Coleus

    ColorBlaze El Brighto Coleus (Plectranthus scutellaroides ‘El Brighto’), introduced by Proven Winners North America LLC. This fiery, frilled coleus has purple and red centers with yellow margins and works well in containers. It works as a houseplant as well. It prefers sun or shade and will perform outdoors in Zones 10–11, growing to 24–40 inches tall by 18–36 inches wide. It is available from Proven Winners.

    Cascade Sunburst Huckleberry

  • Cascade Sunburst Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum ‘Vacbri2’), discovered by Briggs Nursery in Elma, Washington, and introduced by Briggs. This huckleberry offers distinctive, variegated foliage. The finely serrated leaves are vivid coral when they emerge, gradually turning green with creamy variegations. Its racemes of pale pink, urn-shaped flowers bloom in spring, followed by glossy purple-black, edible berries in the summer, providing multiple seasons of interest. The plant does well in shade or sun and tolerates most soil types but prefers acidic soil. It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and is deer resistant. It grows to four feet wide and tall and is suited for Zones 7–9. It’s available from Briggs Nursery
  • Serendipity Ornamental Onion (Allium ‘Serendipity’ PP32023 CPBRAF), discovered by Eric Sal at Walters Gardens Inc. in Zeeland, Michigan and introduced by Walla Walla Nursery Co. and Proven Winners. This new selection is a sport of the popular A. ‘Millenium’, and has similar qualities, but with attractive blue foliage. It has globe-like, rosy-purple flowers that appear profusely in mid to late summer. It likes sun exposure best and grows well in Zones 4-8, reaching a size of 15–20 inches tall by 10–15 inches wide. It’s available from Walla Walla Nursery Co.


Awards of Merit for Best in Show included:


  • Heart to Heart® ‘Burning Heart’ Sun Caladium

    Heart to Heart® ‘Burning Heart’ Sun Caladium (Caladium× hortulanum ‘Burning Heart’ PP27071), introduced by Proven Winners North America LLC. It is a bronze, fancy leaf variety with pink to orange spots, representing “a completely new color for caladiums,” according to the company. It is intermediate to tall in height, and works well in combinations, patio planters and landscapes, either in full sun or shade. The color is best expressed in the sun. The plant is available in quart, 6½-inch and 8 ½-inch containers from Farwest exhibitors Proven Winners

  • NewGen Independence Boxwood (Buxus‘SB108’ PP28888), discovered by a boxwood enthusiast in the Williamsburg, Virginia area and introduced by NewGen Boxwood, Saunders Genetics LLC. Independence was chosen for the NewGen brand based on very high tolerance to boxwood blight and strong performance in boxwood leafminer trials. It has a habit similar to Buxus microphylla ‘Green Beauty’, but with more elongated leaves. It has rounded habit, deep green color and medium sized plant, and can be used in formal plantings where a medium sized round plant is desired. The branching structure is very strong, so it withstands snow loads. It is also deer resistant. The plant is available from Farwest exhibitors Bountiful Farms Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas Inc. and Sidhu & Sons Nursery

    NewGen Independence Boxwood

  • SunFern™Olympia Russian Wormwood

    SunFern Olympia Russian Wormwood (Artemisia gmellinii ‘Balfernlym’ PPAF), hybridized by Christa Klevit in the Netherlands and introduced by Darwin Perennials. This novelty evergreen shrub with fern-like textures can be used as an accent plant in containers or as a groundcover in the landscape. It is low maintenance, tolerates drought, and does well in full sun. The plant is available as 50, 72, 102, 128, URC and URC AutoStix from Farwest exhibitors Ball Seed

All of the New Varieties Showcase selections are viewable the Farwest Show and at

Show welcomed over 3,500 industry professionals

More than 3,500 nursery industry professionals — including growers, retailers, suppliers, landscape professionals and others —took part in show offerings, which included the trade show expo, educational seminars, social events, show features and more.

“People were glad the Farwest Show occurred, for the opportunity to get together,” Niemi said. “Our industry thrives when we can be face to face. We realize these are unique times, and we appreciate everyone who supported the Farwest Show.”

Farwest included 49 new exhibitors this year. Among them were houseplant grower Cascade Tropicals (Snohomish, Washington), plant hanger supplier Soul of the Party (Tustin, California), hard goods supplier Farmers Defense (Watsonville, California), wholesale grower Breeden Family Farm (Lebanon, Oregon) and hard goods provider Zaydoe Creative (Cannon Beach, Oregon), which brought its new Gard-N-Hook utility tool to the show that can be used to hang or move nursery containers easily, making it ideal for nursery retailers to both use and sell.

Anna Busse, a trade show representative with wholesale plant grower Cascade Tropicals, found strong interest in its assortment of lush houseplants. “Given all the context, we’ve been happy with the turnout. We weren’t sure people were going to turn out,” she said. “It definitely felt busy for all of Wednesday and Thursday.”

For Cascade, having a booth full of lush, green plants was a difference maker. “People can see plants in person,” Busse said. “[If they had] just seen them on our availability list, I don’t know if they would have been interested in them. Sometimes, plants on our website don’t represent as well as they do in person.”

Kaz Kosciolek and Ian Nabal, trade show representatives with farmwear supplier Farmers Defense, said they had strong traffic to their booth all three days. They sell hats, arm sleeves, masks and other protective gear for farmers and gardeners. “As a first time exhibitor, we had a great experience,” Kosciolek said. “We were very happy with the attendees, exhibitors and buyers. It was really great for making connections with the industry, both on the business-to-business and business-to-consumer side. I definitely think we got our value’s worth at the show.”

Derry and Celia Breeden were first-time exhibitors with Breeden Family Farms, a wholesale grower based in Lebanon, Oregon. They were not just new to Farwest but to the nursery industry.  “We had a wonderful time meeting people, getting to know people in the nursery industry and making connections,” Derry said. “We were able to get orders in, build our contact list and make some sales.”

Kevin Hsu, trade show representative with Soul of the Party, a supplier of macrame hangers, was another first-time exhibitor who had a positive experience.

“Everything went well, from the logistics, to setting up the booth,” he said. “I can’t wait to come back next year …. We did better than what we expected. We were here at the right time, at the right place. It felt so good to see people in person and have that interaction again.”

The show was held under unpredictable circumstances, with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown implementing a statewide indoor mask mandate shortly before the gathering began. “This presented a challenge,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. “The Oregon Department of Agriculture helped us get proper masks for the show, which we were able to give out to any attendees or exhibitors who didn’t already have one. Thanks to their partnership and assistance, we were able to put on a safe show.”

The next edition of the Farwest Show will take place Wednesday–Friday, August 24–26, 2022 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. “We can’t wait to be back next year,” Ian Nabal of hard goods supplier Farmers Defense said.

With files from: Farwest Show


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