Garden Writers Symposium
September, 2008

September 21st

After breakfast we had sessions again until it was time to get ready for our story tours and lunch on the coach. Oregon is renowned for its nursery industry, which ships 75 percent of the stock grown in the state to cities across the U.S. and Canada. Today, we visited two world-class wholesale nurseries, both of which displayed their plants on site in extraordinary gardens. Plants don’t just happen. These nurseries invest time, care and attention to detail to deliver exceptional plants to local garden centers across the country.

Iseli Nursery is nestled in the foothills of Mt. Hood with breathtaking views of the mountain. The nursery is a pioneer in the production of dwarf and slow-growing conifers and Japanese maples and has introduced numerous cultivars of its own. Grown with exceptional care and craftsmanship, the compact conifers, trees and shrubs provide landscapes with distinctive structure, color and texture year round, as we saw in their demonstration gardens that showcased more than 1,500 plants.

Terra Nova Nurseries is a world leader in breeding and genetics. More than 500 perennials and annuals have been propagated through tissue culture, which allows for large-scale introductions of new varieties. We got a glimpse into the process of tissue culture and saw the results of the nurseries’ efforts in the well-designed display gardens.

We returned to our hotel in time to get ready to meet for dinner – this was in the hotel and very well set up. Tonight we were in for a very special treat at it was Plant Nerd Night with Entertainment. Our host for this event was Mike Darcy. NewsRadio 750 KXL, (Portland, Oregon) has hosted Mike’s show ‘In the Garden with Mike Darcy’ for 27 years. There are so many specialty nurseries in Oregon that visiting them all is just impossible, regardless of their expertise, interest, or beauty. So the local committee brought some of the best to us – along with a bit of entertainment. A sample of their best nurseries brought their specialties to show and sell. Each had a few minutes to let us know about new introductions, plant history and breeding programs. All offered door prizes for more fun (and acquisition). The local Chorus of the Goddess Flora (a group of Hardy Plant Society of Oregon members) serenaded us with original lyrics in praise of plants and gardeners, including some composed specifically for the Symposium and the GWA. This chorus was absolutely hilarious and had everyone in stitches … they should be at all of our symposiums…


  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row