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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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Visiting Dragonfly Farms and Celestial Dream Gardens

The next stops on the Geek, the Nut, and  the Outlaw tour of cool nurseries (after Valley Nursery and Windcliff) were Dragonfly  Farms and Celestial Dream Gardens.


Where's Waldo Evan?  Watch out Vickie, that gunnera is trying to get you too!

Dragonfly Farms always has a great assortment of plants and cool garden art.  Notice the Wollemia nobilis in the black square container!  ( From Wikipedia - Wollemia is a genus of coniferous tree in the family Araucariaceae.  Wollemia was only known through fossil records until the Australian species Wollemia nobilis was discovered in 1994 in a temperate rainforest wilderness area of the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales, in a remote series of narrow, steep-sided sandstone gorge 150 kilometres north-west of Sydney.
In both botanical and popular literature the tree has been almost universally dubbed the Wollemi Pine, although it is not a true pine (genus Pinus) nor a member of the pine family (Pinaceae), but rather is related to Agathis and Araucaria in the family Araucariaceae. The oldest fossil of the Wollemi tree has been dated to 200 million years ago.
The Wollemi pine is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List, and is legally protected in Australia. A Recovery Plan has been drawn up, outlining strategies for the management of this fragile population; the overall objective is to ensure that this species remains viable in the long-term) 

It's always exciting to see this "living fossil" tree.  Just to the right of the tree is another rare sight, Heidi, the nursery owner, actually standing still.  Heidi is so full of energy and enthusiasm for plants and gardening that she's most often leading a lucky customer to see a cool plant or keeping the gardens and nursery looking great!


At the time of our visit, the annual poppies were spectacular.  Such lovely and carefree plants!

Mosaic hat anyone?

These would make beautiful hose guards at the edges of beds!

The dish desert was in bloom!


If I had the space, this would be an idea that I'd definitely copy, maybe with a big agave in the center.

'Drama Queen' living up to her name!




 
 
Notice how few flowers are in this shot and yet how much color is present - masterful!

And, as Loree says, if you just believe hard enough, there's always an agave.  The great thing about the metal ones is that they're hardy in any climate and take our wet winters in stride!


Ditto for their cacti friends!

It's a joy to walk through the gardens and see what new scenes Heidi has put together.  This poppy field with a rusty piece of farm equipment was especially delightful!



The branch shadows make this area even more lovely.

Sweet and shy Lilium canadense var. coccineum from Edelweiss Perennials

has a surprising  interior!

Eryngium 'Miss Willmott's Ghost' which we'd later see in many of the gardens at the Portland Garden Bloggers' Fling.

Jeff at Celestial Dream Gardens was kind enough to open for us.  I was so busy enjoying the many cool plants that I forgot to take pictures of them (bad blogger!) That didn't stop us from buying quite a few!  Here's Jeff behind one of our boxes of plants.

It never ceases to amaze me that there can be so many fabulous nurseries in our area, each of them carrying slightly different inventory so that they all must be visited! 

Celestial Dream's Facebook page says that they'll be at the Fronderosa Frolic on August 9 so I'll start nagging now.  Do plan to attend this cool event which "has become the horticultural equivalent of Woodstock."  It's a great sale which includes independent growers and yard artists (some who only sell here)  from Port Townsend to Eugene!  Not only is the sale itself great but the setting is gorgeous and you are encouraged to pack a picnic and eat either at tables in a forest glade or on the sandy river bank below.  There are interesting produce/plant stands, antique stores, and yard art places on the way in (or out) and we always get at least one case of fresh peaches to freeze for the winter on this trip.  I hope to see you there this year.  Also, you can hit Flower world and Molbak's on the way back to Interstate five. (And Wells Medina if you still have the energy!)  Portlanders, come on up for the day,  spend the night and explore Seattle (Bedrock Industries, Swanson's Nursery, City People's, The arboretum, Sky Nursery) the next day before heading home!

26 comments:

  1. What an amazing place! It looks so interesting and a riot of colour in your photos. That Lilium canadense var. coccineum is a stunner!

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    1. It's always got lots going on; there's no bad time to visit!

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  2. That looks like a fun garden Peter, and that agave is definitely hardy!

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    1. I brought home one of those ultra hardy agaves from an earlier visit to Dragonfly and it seems quite happy in my garden!

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  3. OMG, so much to love at Heidi's that I haven't seen. That lily with the spots inside is awesome, and I need one of those mosaic hats. She always has the most beautiful poppies too. I tried growing Miss Willmott's Ghost from seed this winter, but nothing sprouted. I'll just have to seek them out to buy them, or try again. I do hope some Portlanders come up for the Frolic. Wouldn't that be fun?

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    1. Heidi always has something happening at her place! Portlanders at the frolic would be great fun!

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  4. Is that agave gold? Not sure I can go for that, must seek out a silver one...

    Looks like this is another year without a Frolic for me...

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    1. I think it appears gold now as the rust is just starting on the shiny metal.

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  5. Every garden could use a Heidi, especially mine.
    Do you suppose all shy creatures are hiding a wild side like that lilium?

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    1. I'm thinking so on the shy creatures hiding a wild side.

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  6. How fantastic! really love that Wollemia nobilis. I'd heard of that being rediscovered. How did she get one for her collection? That gunnera is pretty impressive too. I can't grow them here. Just too dry in the summers. Great post Peter, TFS

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    1. Wollemia nobilis is being grown by San Marcos Growers. There were also some available at Cistus Nursery in Portland when we were there.

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  7. I needed another leaf to hide my legs. Lol. I was hoping you'd take pictures at Celestial, but I feel a little better not being the only one to become to mesmerized by the plants to take pictures. Celestial is such a treasure (as is Dragonfly)! I love that spotted lily at Dragonfly, too. I missed that!

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    1. Celestial Dream is a great place and I felt bad for not taking more pictures. The lilies were above in Heidi's personal hoard area. It's always fun to see what she's keeping for herself.

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  8. You are SO right, Peter. It boggles the mind that so many small, independent nurseries can all be so different...no two alike and "different" plants in each and every one. We are beyond lucky to have so many so close to us. My daughter just emailed me about the Gunnera picture and said, "You look happy!" No duh! Look where I am! Terrific day.

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    1. Independent nursery operators are my rock stars and here in the PNW the sky is bright with so many of them! We must do it again!

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  9. Wow...I think the gardens and the colors are incredible. You are making me want to be in that side of the world again...I´m impressed with the size of the gunneras there.

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    1. Maybe you could have a summer place here and spend your winters in Spain. Gunneras seem to like it here.

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  10. The poppies were done on our visit to Dragonfly last week, but there was still so much color just in the foliage, the plants themselves. Fun to see your photos!

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    1. I enjoyed your post too as it showed how much changes in the garden in just a few weeks!

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  11. I went to the Fronderosa Frolic last year for the first time, and really enjoyed it. I am hoping to go again this year. What a great list of Seattle-area recommendations you put together. Bedrock is one of my favorite places to hunt for random garden paraphernalia. I would add Theo Chocolate Factory to your list, even though its really about (delicious) plant derivatives rather than gardening. But on their tour, they do explain how cacao grows!

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    1. I'm definitely going to check out Theo Chocolate Factory next time I'm in Seattle! When I eat too much chocolate, I can say, "The Devil made me do it!"

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  12. Heidi is such a character --my friends and I were very entertained by her local gardener gossip when we visited a couple years ago. Her display gardens are wonderful.

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    1. You're so right. Heidi can always be counted on to share the latest in garden gossip in such an entertaining way. I love her!

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