Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

More of that Wonderful Day in Portland

After leaving Cistus, Alison, Loree, and I continued up Highway 30 to visit Joy Creek Nursery.  Unfortunately, we arrived at about 4:45 and the nursery closes at 5:00  this did not deter us from quickly shopping our way through the nursery but I didn't stop to take pictures.  For previous visits to Joy Creek, look here.  

This beautiful old barn is one of the great parts of Joy Creek!

Then we stopped by Means Nursery.  Here's Loree proving her saying that if you look hard enough, there's always an agave!  Means is known for it's extremely low prices.

You never know what you'll find here but if you're starting a new garden and need a volume of plants, this is the place to find the basics that make up the backbone of our gardens.  There is always a nice Acer palmatum selection at rediculously low prices.

Remember when Petunia 'Pretty Much Picasso' was new, hard to find and expensive.  I thought the color combination was cool but wish that it had the fragrance of some petunias.

The color of this begonia is delicious!

As is the foliage of this one.  (Alison bought a couple of these.)

Every now and then, there'll be something a bit more unusual at Means like this Sciadopitys verticullata

There's also usually some sort of crazy cool bargain like these magnolia trees that are about eight feet tall for only five dollars.
 Or these soon to be very fragrant deciduous azelias for the same price.  One can see large growing fields behind the nursery so I knew that some of what Means sells is grown there but the clerk who collected my money told me that Means is a large wholesale grower with fields here, in another location in Oregon, in California and in Ohio.  They have clients such as Lowe's and the Home Depot on the east coast.  This is their only retail outlet and explains why the prices are so low.  Check out their website to find current special sale items.

How to round out such a great day?  Visit a mortuary, of course.  This used to be the Chapel of the Chimes funeral parlor but has been converted by the wizzards at McMenamins into the Chapel Pub.  Loree, Alison and I had a lovely dinner here.  What a treat to sit and catch up with dear friends!
After dinner, we went to Sean Hogan's house for his post Hortlandia party.  His home garden is as  fabulous as his nursery (Cistus.)  He is a delightful person and his garden is equally special!  I didn't take any pictures as the light was fading and I've heard that flashing at a party is in poor taste.  (I guess it depends on what kind of party it is.)  but if you'd like a peek, look here.

I had so much fun with Alison from 7:00 a.m. until we got home way over twelve hours later.  Here are the obligatory plant conquest shots. 
 The plant mobile still had lots of empty space!

Although from some angles, it looked a little full.  

I'm so looking forward to another summer of garden adventures!  

Monday, April 28, 2014

How Do You Spell Paradise? C-I-S-T-U-S!

I still remember the first time I went to Cistus Nursery years ago and was blown away by the experience. The car was filled with plants!  As I recall, there was significant emptying of the wallet.  The staff was very kind and gave me a Cistus tshirt. (This was before I liked agaves, yuccas, or palms.)  Even without those, which often get featured in posts about this exceptional nursery, the place is amazing.  For previous visits, look here and here . 

Here are some shots of our recent visit to Cistus after attending Hortlandia.   They get ever larger specimens of yucca rostrata.  Didn't even look at the prices of the ones pictured here behind my gardening partner in crime, Alison.  

 This is what my babies will look like in about 15 years.  Don't mind waiting as they look really sweet when they're tiny as well.

Although these are pretty tempting.  Maybe when I clear out the parking strips, another summer project, there'll be space...

So much to love about these sweet plants!

A random shopper checking out some of the succulents.  I sometimes wonder if Portlanders know how lucky they are to have this place in their back yard?  

A stroll through  Cistus's "Big Top" area is like stepping into California without  that pesky air travel.  If you miss removing your shoes and being patted down, you could certainly  take your shoes off and probably one of the staff would pat you down if you asked - they're really very nice here. 

These plants love our warm, dry summers.  Our soggy winters are another story but let's not talk about that right now o.k?

My rodocoma capensis made it through the winter but it's got a great deal of brown foliage from the winter freezes.  I remained firm in my resolve to be done with restios after 10 years of growing many members of the family and watching them expire during especially cold winters.  Then I saw these... Aren't they gorgeous?  No, I will remain strong until I have a greenhouse large enough to drag one of these into during the coldest part of the winter!  (and I already found a very inexpensive gallon on sale recently...)

Heather, Scott, and Loree shopped with us.  It's always fun to shop with other addicts plant enthusiasts and bloggers.

Hosta 'Hyuga Vrajrro' has cool sword like foliage with nice yellow variegation.  Not this time.

Danae racemosa (poet's laurel) description on the tag:  Out of the Middle East comes a slow-to-propagate and rare evergreen shrub for the shade garden.  Handsome AND drought tolerant, this 3ft shrub has arching stems with waxy green leaves once used to crown atheletes and poets.  A nobel history!  White summer flowers are not showy but produce large red-orange berries that last through autumn and winter.  Part shade to shade with water to establish. Frost hardy to at least 0F, USDA zone 7.

I would love to have this simply so that I could rest on my laurels or at least tell the story of the plant to unwary passers by but I didn't love it so it stayed at Cistus.  Then I saw this article and this.  Maybe it should come home with me on my next visit.  I have an urn that would be perfect for it.

It's always a good time to check out the Schefflera delavayi in the garden.  He was posing so handsomely this day.
 Ginkgo biloba 'Mariken'  is a cutie!

Danger in her element!

Here's Heather's haul.

Loree's lovelies are to the left of the stylish purse while Alison's acquisitions are to the right.

Peter's plants.  I'm very excited about the one to the far right.  It's a hardy variegated yucca but resembles a much less hardy cordyline.  Totally cool!

Time to pack up

And ease on down the road to our next adventure.
I'm pretty sure that Cistus will be on the fling itinerary.  Can't wait!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Portland Nursery Deux: Stark Street

You may remember this post about visiting Portland Nursery on Division Street (website here) after attending the Portland Yard, Garden, and Patio Show on the first of March.  Today, we visit the nursery's other location on Stark Street. It's interesting that they are two locations of the same nursery as they are very different from each other and both need to be visited!  Loree and Hoover Boo posted about Alstroemeria 'Rock 'n' Roll' and both Alison and I loved the way the foliage looked.  When Loree told us that she saw it at a nursery in Portland that wasn't too far from where we were going next (Cistus) we jumped at the chance to make a side trip.  So, while Loree, Scott, and Heather enjoyed lunch together, we hopped into the plant mobile and headed out to Portland Nursery on Stark Street.

The first big surprise was that there was stop and go traffic on the street as cars waited in line to get into the parking lot.  It was a warmish and sunny day but I was impressed.  These Portlanders take gardening seriously!  By the way, for any of you wondering if Portland is anything like the television show "Portlandia,"  it behooves me to say, "No, not at all!"  Although, stereotypes come from somewhere... The triumph of gardening  over the city painting on this van made me smile and start humming "If You're Going to San Francisco (Tell her to wear a flower in her hair)"
 I  love Portland and the people I've met there!   Who could not love a city with people this interested in gardening?

 I love the color combinations of the displays!

Chartreuse, yellow and orange are enough to brighten the rainiest day the PNW has to offer. 

Unless you enjoy feeling a little blue.
 Notice how the teal/aqua pot brings out those tones in the tulip foliage. 

Camellia japonica 'Bob Hope' caught my eye - so red and cheerful!

Lots of fun statuary.

We started by thinking that we'd just go in, inquire about the plant, get a couple and then take off but then there were all of these cool things to admire.  Soon enough, we were coming closer to our prize.  Do you see it there in the orange pots?

The foliage is spectacular and Hoover Boo is using it in her California garden as a substitute for hostas which don't like the summer heat in her area.  Serious crush on the foliage but the blooms are pretty wonderful too! For those of you with refined taste who are fond of understated pastel flowers, please avert your eyes lest you be offended by the brashness of this foliage/flower combination.

I'm crazy about the thing which Loree says is all over the place in Portland right now but I haven't seen in my area at all. Sources say it's hardy to zone 8, 8b, or 9.  Alison and I think that we'll keep ours in pots and drag them in during the coldest part of the winter just to be on the safe side.

It was with a slight twinge of guilt for my premeditated murder of a couple of lilacs in my own garden that I bent to inhale the heavenly fragrance of this beauty.

Doghouse with a green roof - cute!

These brightly colored pots were tempting as they were in the sale area and the colors are so vibrant.  

We could have gotten lost in this huge rose area so decided not to start looking after all there were more places to go and people to meet (Heather, Loree, Scott.)

Like the Division Street location, there are a lot of beautiful bonsai trees and stock to make new ones.  Oh to have the talent, time, and patience.

Acer palmatum 'Mikazuki' has gorgeous leaves and almost jumped into my cart. 

One of my favorites, Rhododendron sinogrande, looking especially nice.

And then this happened - 

I'd read about Acer palmatum 'Purple Ghost' and admired pictures on the internet but this was my first live encounter.  I tried to remind myself that I don't need another maple in a pot but that color was too seductive.  It's just as lovely out of the sun by the way.
 Wheeling our carts inside to pay  we noticed this nice assortment of tillandsias.
 The Division location has a huge houseplant section that even a non houseplant person can spend quite a while exploring.  The Stark location has far fewer houseplants but a more expansive outdoor area.
I'm in love with Portland Nursery, both locations and have a bit of a crush on the city itself. Anyway, we added our newfound treasures to those already in the plant mobile and raced off to nearby Sauvie Island to continue our adventure.