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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.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Stopping by Portland Avenue Nursery

Late last month, we stopped by Portland Avenue Nursery in Tacoma to see what was happening there and maybe even get a plant fix. Fritillaria meleagris is a spring favorite despite it's checkered past.

Every spring I vow to order bulbs in the fall but I usually forget.  It's best to admire them up high on a nursery table anyway.

A double pink hellebore. Can't get enough of looking at these.

Euphorbia 'Rudolph' has a nose bright enough to guide Santa's sleigh!

Isn't this exciting? Deciduous plants on the verge of leafing out.  Summer can't be far away!

Evergreens are a specialty at Portland Avenue Nursery.  These tiny babies in four inch pots would be great for miniature gardening.

A visit to this topiary is a must when you're at PAN.

Pinus koraiensis 'Oculis Draconis' looks like messy hair. Cousin Itt?

Chief Joseph Lodegepole pine seems to be very popular right now!   

Yet another winter gold pine is Pinus sylvestris 'Nisbet's Gold'

The streets might not be paved with gold but this walkway is edged with it.  Considering the price these beauties fetch, it might be cheaper to decorate with the precious metal itself which will never be bothered by pine beetles or any of the other diseases and pests that can beset pines.

Who says that evergreens are all green? 

It's sometimes tempting, when seeing so many great colors and textures of conifers, to be done with those silly plants that disappear for a season or leave a mess to be tidied by the gardener.  Wouldn't a garden of evergreens be lovely?

There wasn't a price; I didn't ask. 

I spoke with a nice young couple who were choosing a Chief Joseph.  I asked why this pine rather than one of the other winter gold conifers (there were many beauties at the nursery.) Their response was that they'd seen a Chief Joseph a few years ago and were smitten.  They weren't alone as this one was going to a new home as well. 

Holly is a commonplace plant here.  Birds plant it everywhere and it can be a bit of a pest but I still remember the first time I saw holly actually growing from the ground and not just as something in pictures.  Still makes me happy to see it, especially the variegated ones.  Hedera helix growing everywhere also seemed magic.  I'm over it.

There was a new archway cut in the old atlas cedar covering a couple of buildings.  Upon investigation, they'd added a new bathroom.  I had to peek inside.  Interesting toilet paper holder, no?

More gorgeous evergreen winter color  supplied by euonymus. 

Sure they may be overused but they're hardy, tough as nails, amd very handsome year round.


Speaking of over used but beautiful, viburnum davidii looks especially nice in berry.


There was a forest of Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide,' the sight of which makes one feel as if it were ten degrees warmer outside.  It's the opposite of wind chill.

Aptly named Camellia japonica 'Debutante' seems to glow from within. 

More coniferous texture and color.

I'm not a rose person but I grow some disease resistant varieties for fragrance, others for hips, some for color.  O.K. I like roses but refuse to grow any that need to be sprayed or coddled in any way.  'Westerlund' had been recommended by several gardeners as a great fragrant rose.  I'd looked for a couple of years but usually folks were out of it.  I was delighted to find one at PAN and threw it into my cart.   The picture on 'Ketchup and Mustard' caught my eye but I'm not sure about that color combination and it only has a slight fragrance.


It stayed at the nursery.  I packed up 'Westerland' and we headed home. 

Do you have a favorite rose and if so, what makes it special?

Happy weekend all! 


27 comments:

  1. I love the colors on the Ketchup and Mustard! But I don't grow roses for the flower. I am planting one single Rosa glauca in the front garden, and if I see a Rosa sericea this spring/summer, I might buy one. I'm glad you found the one you were looking for. I often forget about Portland Ave Nursery. It looks like they have quite a lot of stock in. Wondering how much that enormous Chief Joseph was. I like my Nisbet's Gold.

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    1. I forget about Portland Avenue a lot myself. It's just a few minute drive across town for me but I don't go there very often. I grow the two you mentioned as well but I love the fragrance of the flowers of some others so...

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  2. 'Ketchup and Mustard'??? Omg.

    My one and only rose is Rosa pteracantha / Wingthorn rose, for those lovely red thorns of course!

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    1. I know, right? Who would name a flower after condiments?

      I remember your post when you bought a rose and we all thought the apocalypse might be at hand!

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  3. You post the best pictures and your comments on each one are funny and interesting! That checkered fritillaria just slays me - it looks like something Dr. Seuss dreamed up. My favorite rose is whatever grows without extra help from me so I totally admire the miniatures for that and they don't always stay so small! And my evergreens must be green or blue!

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    1. I'm with you on the no extra care from me roses! So, no purple, red or yellow evergreens for you!

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  4. Another nice nursery - is there any end to them up there?! I have a few roses, all inherited with the house. The hybrid teas, while pretty in bloom, are too needy for my taste; however, the pink Meidiland shrub roses in the front border are attractive and relatively care-free - and, as there are 6 of them, I'm not replacing them anytime soon.

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    1. Roses really aren't something that I go crazy for but it's nice to have a couple around for fragrance.

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  5. The topiary is hilarious: quite a departure from the usual approach. The checkered lily is my absolute favorite bulb. I'm happy to see Chief Joseph getting a new round of recognition, even if it is for a plant bearing his name...and only fitting that it bears a high price.
    'Just Joey' is the favorite of this non rose person for its soft apricot hue and heavenly scent.

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    1. Wow, 'Just Joey' is one of my faves too! It's also a favorite of Ann Lovejoy whose recommendation caused me to buy one years ago!

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  6. Rosa gauca; blue leaves, violet stems, and it blooms, too.

    Rosa mutabilis; color changing flowers.

    Deirdre

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    1. Glauca is fabulous and it has nice looking hips as well! I've admired but never had Rosa mutabilis. Maybe I'll add one this summer.

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  7. 'De Rescht' is my only rose. Extremely fragrant and it's in a pot. I consider it a renter. I can tell it to vacate any time. If it behaves I won't, though. That fragrance...

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    1. Funny, I have a 'De Rescht' in a pot too. It gets moved closer to the back steps when it's blooming and then basks in the sun elsewhere when it isn't.

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  8. Peter, it's completely understandable why there should be a "Potland" nursery in Washington, but where's the Pot?;-) I planted Fritillarias last year so hope they return, they look really cool. Disappointingly, it turned out to be a mix where some were white.
    I'm still lusting after some double Hellebores, very pretty. The tiny evergreens look tempting, I've seen gardens designed with all evergreen conifers and they look very sophisticated, but in my garden some have grown steadily and insidiously to gargantuan proportions, so I view them with extreme caution. I'm still waiting for Yuletide to bloom after around 10 years or more. My favorite roses- Zephirine Drouhin for early, late, and continuous bloom; rugosa roses for hips and resistance to deer; Betty Boop for continuous attractive long-lasting flowers, ground cover/floribunda roses Red Ribbons, Sea Foam, Baby Blanket; impressive blooming and growing once bloomers Madame Plantier and Rosa Mundi.

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    1. Oops! Too funny. Sorry about the misspelling but you're right, a potland nursery in Washingtom would seem appropriate. Zephirine Drouhin is great and will tolerate less than 6 hours of direct sun a day and still bloom happily. I've one rugosa but love them as they were the only roses that were hardy in my Alaska garden. Betty is a sweetheart but the others that are your faves are new to me...must check those out!

      Is your 'Yuletide' getting enough sun?

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    2. I planted both Yuletide and Apple Blossom, they are between the house and red cedars but get some sun. Apple Blossom has been blooming the last couple of years... I'm trying to remember to fertilize, water, and prune consistently.

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  9. I really like the David Austin rose 'Gertrude Jekyll"\', a lovely bright pink on a good smallish bush with good foliage and good fragrance.
    That was another fun nursery tour!

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    1. 'Gertrude Jekyll' is a wonderful rose that I've admired but not grown myself. It's always a pleasure to have you along on these nursery tours!

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  10. I DO believe you are closer to summer than we are! It's hard to even imagine it here.
    I like the golden ever-golds....the variegation and checkered0-ness of the lovely (and new to me) plants here.
    Favorite roses? Well, I'm not "up" on all the varieties. We only have one specimen here - a white, hardy sort (transplanted years ago when some acquaintances were wanting to get rid of them. We DO enjoy wandering, sniffing, and admiring a huge variety in Lakeside Gardens in Fort Wayne. They are so well tended & arranged. Can't wait!

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    1. Yes, we have suddenly started to be surrounded by blooms, some of the woody deciduous plants are pushing out new foliage and perennials are beginning to emerge from the ground. The magic has begun here!

      It's a lot of fun to stroll through a well-tended rose garden and the best part is that someone else is caring for them!

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  11. I love fritillarias. Someday I'm going to have them everywhere in my garden. Not my parents' garden. They aren't ready for these. I need to give their garden more "bones" first. I love that narrow, blue-green conifer in the 12th picture, looks fantastic with the purply-grey Cryptomeria in the background and the Chief Joseph in front.

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    1. Glad you liked that combination, I threw the three together for the picture. Conifers with blue foliage are gorgeous! My favorite since I first saw it a few years ago is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Van Pelt's Blue.' It's got the most amazing powder blue foliage that looks simply ravishing near anything gold!

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  12. That topiary is a reason on its own to visit it :) Wingthorn Rose here!

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    1. Oh to have a garden large enough for that topiary! Love Wingthorn!

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  13. - Staff @ Portland Avenue NurseryMarch 10, 2014 at 6:57 AM

    Thank you for capturing in pictures what we get to enjoy daily. Come back soon as we are getting shipments of new life everyday.

    Thank you.

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  14. All of my roses are my favorite but whatever rose doesn't get blackspot this year will be my new favorite. So many great plants in this post. Love that euphorbia 'Rudolph'!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.