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.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Stop in the name of love

The other day, after sitting all day in a class in Maple Valley, I was headed back home on highway 18.  Traffic looked like it was getting pretty congested on I 5 south.  What was a gardener to do?  This one exited on Weyerhauser Way South to wait for better traffic and my car led me to The Rhododendron Species Garden.  That car seems to find places like this.  If you haven't been, the garden is on the Weyerhauser campus and is run by the Rhododendron Species Foundation.  The grounds are also home to the Weyerhauser Bonsai Collection (Awsome!)  Twice a year the RSF sponsors a plant sale here which draws vendors from around the state and this gardener seldom misses it.  Unfortunately, I arrived at 3:30 and the extensive botanical gardens close at 4:00 but there was still time to wander around the plant sales area.

Rhododendrons may not be your favorite plant but I'll bet that there are one or two in the collection that might change your mind.  There is even one variety, Rhododendron williamsianum, (above)  whose tag boasts, "The rhododendron for people who hade rhododendrons."  Look at that cool foliage, it's like a half sphere of giant wire vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa.)

Baby Rhododendron sinograndes.  I grow this one for the huge foliage which can reach three feet long - sort of like a Loquat on steroids.  The new leaves are purplish and spangled with white spots.
In addition to rhododendrons and azaleas, there are lots of (sometimes quite unusual) shade loving plants.

That red fir...cool!  Sorry, don't know the variety, do you?

On the left you can see the newly-opened  Rutherford Conservatory.

It still has a very new feel about it but contains great plants.

Perfect place for an agapetes

At the center  is an attractive water feature.

And a Schefflera macrophylla which is at the top of my current plant lust list!
Does anyone know where to find this plant for sale besides England?

Another look at that Schefflera just for you Loree!

 Pyrrosia Sheareri - much bigger than mine from  Far Reaches which has made it through a couple of winters in the ground. 

Back on the road,  southbound traffic looked even worse than before but I 5 north was speeding along nicely.  Hmmm.  Ferney's Nursery in Des Moines is open until 6:00 and is right on Higway 99 which is sometimes a less congested way to get home. 

The first thing most people notice as they pull into the parking lot is the eaves of  the street side of the nursery which are totally covered with screamingly bright petunias (not pictured here.)

This is a long-established and very well-stocked store.

I always head to the "new, rare, and unusual plants" area first.  Eryngium 'Jade Frost' with beautiful variegated foliage.  Those blooms will be brilliant purple...may have to go back and get one or three.

Gunneras a go-go!

 Phormiums and Palms

 This wind chime is about 14 feet high and vibrates your whole body when it sounds it's dulcit low tones. That experience alone is worth a stop! 

 "Next Gerneration Reblooming Hydrangea 'Pistachio' remains compact and does well in pots" which is a good thing because it wanted to come home with me and I don't have much space left in the ground. The actual flowers inside are a pinky lavender.  Gaudy? Tasteless? Tacky? I must have it!

 Objets d'art (?) pour le jardin

For those who like faces.

I double dare you to put this in your garden next to your gunnera. 

I love this large gothic tracery but lacking a really great place to put it and being unwilling to part with $500.00 (that's a lot of plants!) it remained on the wall.

If you ever find yourself in heavy traffic, I highly recommend finding a nursery or two at which to wait out the worst of the commute.  It's much more enjoyable than sitting in your car on the freeway and it's a fact that vehicles run better when full of plants.  Really, I read it somewhere.


  1. You knew exactly what I was thinking..."wait, please go back, I want to see that Schefflera macrophylla again"...so beautiful. It would go perfectly where the huge Hydrangea is next to the garage.

    Oh and that Dino would be COOL next to my Gunnera stock tank...

    1. The nice thing is that the hydrangea spot is close enough to the shade pavillion that carting the pot in and out wouldn't be too much of a trip. Hmmm. We must find this plant!

  2. Oh, many years ago we had a blow-up Godzilla about the same size as that dinosaur but since we moved I have no idea where it went. We might have chucked it, and now I wish we hadn't. I could put it next to my Gunnera, and deflate it whenever I wanted to pretend my garden was tasteful.

    I saw that Pistachio Hydrangea on another blog, and it is so cool. I want one! Thanks for showing us the trip to Furneys, I keep meaning to go there, and I never seem to get around to it. Isn't the Rhododendron Species Garden wonderful? I went to their sale this year for the first time, and it was a great sale, so much easier than going all the way into Seattle.

    1. Your blow-up Godzilla sounds really cool. Sorry you can't find it but I bet that a little internet search could bring another to your door in no time! Love the Rhododendron Species Garden & that sale, ooh la la as Cisco would say.

  3. that Schefflera macrophylla is wonderful! I hope you find one for sale!!!! As for that t-rex ... I SO would put that in the garden!!!!

    1. It would look right at home with all your palms!


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