The plants and products are fun and it's great to get stack of new catalogs for the new year, but I think most of us go to trade shows to see people we might not see otherwise. I see Kathy pretty regularly because she's...she's...she's, well everywhere that gardeners gather. She's the editor, publisher, and one of the authors, ... of Washington Gardener. I see Don Shadow only now and then. Don is the dean of nurserymen/persons?; he has discovered, introduced, imported more exciting new woody plants than the rest of the trade put together. Well maybe almost that many. It's always fun to talk to him and I was amazed to find him alone at his booth this morning. Most years there are so many people that I listen for a while, wave, and move on. Today Michael, Kathy, and I had him to ourselves for a bit.
We discussed Aesculus for a while. Apparently he has one seedling from a cross of Aesculus chinensis and some large Vietnamese species with buckeyes the size of baseballs.Wow! I Can't wait. Then he segued into the story of finding a spectacular fastigiate Japanese Maple. As in so many of these stories, while walking through a nursery in Japan, a particular plant drew his attention. He asked about it and found out that it had been there for years, no one had ever shown interest, so it wasn't even named. If I remembered the name now I'd tell you but.... The best feature about it is that the trunk is single and straight and there are quantities of branches evenly distributed from the ground to the apex. We have a fastigiate Acer palmatum in the collections but it branches irregularly, sparsely, and mostly towards the top of the plant. Always good plants and good stories from Don.