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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.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Surprise at Means Nursery

No trip to the Portland area is quite complete without a visit to what I call the Highway 30 Trifecta, Cistus, Joy Creek, and Means Nurseries.  It's kind of convenient, really as Highway 30 is a sometimes faster route home.  Last weekend, I had the great good fortune to attend the Portland area Garden Bloggers' Plant Exchange.  Somehow Alison (Bonney Lassie) and I got lucky enough to be included in this group activity even though we would be considered Seattle area folks.  Anyway, the exchange took place at Tamara's (Chickadee Gardens) wonderful new home and garden (post to follow)  which is also just off of highway 30.

Means is a large multi-state wholesale grower that has one retail outlet for overstock and clearance plants.  One doesn't usually find anything very unusual here but they have great backbone plants at great prices and sometimes their special sale items have ridiculously low price tags.  Having just attended a plant exchange full of unusual plants and shopping at Joy Creek Nursery,  I thought this would be just a cursory walk around and it pretty much was. 


Hanging baskets all over the place.  It was Mother's Day weekend after all.

German bearded iris are so seductive when in bloom.

Unfortunately, the ho hum foliage requires a place in the sun and looks quite a bit less lovely as the season progresses.

Caladium foliage is gorgeous and we usually don't see these offered until later in the season.  They're not at all fond of the cool evenings we get in the Puget Sound area.  I tried keeping some over winter in the greenhouse and they didn't do very well.

I was tempted by this Begonia boliviensis (some name with red in it) as these do very well for me and happily spend the winter ignored in the basement.  There is not space for another hanging plant anywhere in my garden so unless I want to pierce my ears and wear them as earrings, hanging pots should probably stay at the nursery.

As always, a nice selection of trees, especially Acer palmatum. 

All sorts of lovlies!

Then my eye caught these two, the last two left.  You may be thinking that a topiary tree is the last thing you'd think I'd be interested in and you'd be right most of the time.  Topiary isn't my favorite thing but these were just what I'd wanted for a project  last season.  However, the only specimens I'd found cost three times what the Means price tag said and I didn't want to spend that much for them.
You see, there are two matching pots flanking the bottom stair of the back steps.  For years they'd contained nice Arborvitae 'Forever Goldie' but they had  outgrown the pots and space despite a bit of pruning. I hated to get rid of them as the color was quite nice but was happy that someone took them who would enjoy them. Because so much else in my garden is a bit unruly and jungle like, I thought that a little evergreen structure would be a good idea.  Since the price of the topiary which would have perfectly framed the view and echoed the structure of the big topiary tree in my garden was so high, small and inexpensive evergreens that were supposed to keep their shape really well with no pruning were selected. They would have achieved the desired height in about 8 years.

Not bad but they do get a bit overwhelmed here and the big brugmansias that occupy larger pots behind these are still in the greenhouse. 

At their young age, they didn't frame this view at all. 

Sweet plants though. 

Beautiful blue color.  Please ignore the pot behind.  The winter arrangement that was in it is being taken apart to make space for a brugmansia.
Here are the new trees at home waiting for a haircut. 

It's difficult to capture this view without a wide angle lens but you get the idea, topiary on both sides frame the view of the topiary below. It's much more obvious in person and will be even more so in winter.

they certainly add some much-need structure and symmetry to this otherwise rather random arrangement.
You just never know what you might find at Means!  Now, what to do with those cute little trees that these replaced?

22 comments:

  1. That's a fine idea Peter, to frame the view with a formal touch such as a topiary!

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  2. Excellent find and excellent placement. I'll like to see one more view with the brugmansia once it comes out for the season.
    And thank you for not hanging Begonia boliviensis from your ears.

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  3. Perfection! So glad you found them.

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  4. I love topiary as well Peter, but I think it's complicated to keep them in a shape.

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    1. I used to think that but if it's already in shape you can just clip off the new growth each season. Not too complicated.

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  5. Perfect for the spot! Means really is all about the thrill of the hunt, isn't it? I found a surprise there myself last Saturday: a healthy gallon-size Hesperaloe parviflora for just $6.99. Score!

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    1. It's amazing what shows up there. Nice score.

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  6. Any topiary I bought would soon return to its unclipped form I fear. Just no time for such fiddly tasks, but they look great where you placed them!

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    1. It's not too bad, just a little snip a couple of times a year.

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  7. Oh, they look nice! And it sounds like you had a great time at the nurseries. :)

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    1. Thanks. The day was a delight from start to finish!

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  8. Replies
    1. I admire them in public gardens but, with the exception of the big tree we've had for years, never thought I'd have any more in our garden.

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  9. I've had to cut myself of from Means, temporarily. I have too many plants waiting to be planted, and I know if I stop there I'll buy more.

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    1. Pish posh. One always needs a good supply of plants in pots to keep watered. (Really, I admire your self control.)

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  10. Glad you hit them on a good day. You needed a reward for driving all that way. Fun to see you at the swap.

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    1. Oh Rickii, seeing you and the rest of the gang was reward enough. It's always a joy to see gardening friends who most of the time live in the computer!

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  11. Where are they located? I hated we missed meeting you. Had planned to be at Tamara's but had to work. :(

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    1. They're Located right on Highway 30, past the turn off for Sauvie Island (Cistus.) If you turn left, you're on the road to Joy Creek Nursery, right puts you in the parking lot of Means. 27400 NW St Helens Rd, Scappoose. I'm sorry you had to work but I usually make it down to the Portland area quite a few times during the growing season. If you ever make it up to my neck of the woods, let me know. I'm always happy to do a bit of nursery hopping/garden touring!

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  12. Dear Peter (Mr. TOG) haha
    You have made me so darn jealous with all the wonderful nurseries around you and these are just what I would love to have too ! Symmetry is one of my "faults" it can be obsessive yet very difficult to achieve in the garden at times .. here you are with it BANG ! you lucky devil : D
    I hope you just thought of me for a second while you were at "my" nursery ?
    Joy Creek ? haha ... I don't know how you get the energy to work in the garden, go on wonderful plant expeditions, work, post ... you are amazing!
    It was 29 degrees yesterday .. I was working in the garden and it was HOT with no breeze .. today we finally have some rain and I keep grumbling "please KEEP raining!!" ... in any case sweetie .. love those perfect topiary !
    Joy ... still dealing with naughty compost issues .. ugh !

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