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 30, 2013

Portland Area Garden Bloggers Plant Swap

Jenni at Rainy Day Gardener did a great post about the Portland area garden bloggers' meet up and plant swap.  Like me, she was nervous about meeting so many great garden bloggers.  Bonnie Lassie Alison and I were invited to be honorary Portlanders for a day and participate in the event.  Turns out that all of these people were wonderful, kind, intelligent, and generous folks.  What a treat the day was.  Jenni's post contains a complete list of attendees with links to each one's blog.  I've really nothing to add except to express my gratitude for the opportunity to take part.  Thanks PDXers!   Both Alison and I, like Jenni, had a blast!  Our host, Linda's garden was beautiful!

Approaching from the street, it's obvious that we're in for a treat!

 Inside bed. In addition to being gorgeous, this garden is also clean and tidy.  I didn't see a single weed. 

The opposite side of the front garden.

Ricki admiring this path of Leptinella 'Brass Buttons.'  Linda was so generous that when someone admired a plant in her garden, she pulled out a spade and started digging a bit to share!

 The brass button path leads to this calm seating area behind the house.

 Our host talking about her success with her Acacia pravissima, the monster being admired.  She planted it only a year ago thinking that it would probably die during the winter.  It's now heavy with bloom and a huge focal point in her back garden.

Scott, Rhone Street Gardens  and Heather, Just a Girl With a Hammer showing off the impressive size of this cordyline.

Euphorbia  wulfenii and one of the lamiums make a sweet combination!

Loree, Danger Garden, and Alison, Bonnie Lassie talking with the kids who kept us entertained.

 I fell in love with this little girl!  She wanted to be picked up and when I obliged, she repaid with me with many kisses.  As soon as possible, she found some grass to eat. This helps dogs to vomit.    I  have this effect on people.

A beautiful garden,

gorgeous weather,

wonderful people,

Who could ask for anything more?  Thanks again to all the wonderful Portland bloggers and especially to our host, Lynda, a Washingtonian, for such a fun get together!

Here are links to the blogs of those in attendance stolen directly from Rainy Day Gardener:


Oh gosh, forgot to mention all of the free plants!  I'd never been to a plant swap before and it was amazing to bring some extra things I had started from cuttings,   (I have a hard time throwing cuttings away when I prune plants.) and swap them for treasures from other people's gardens. 

Tomorrow we'll continue with the Highway 30 nursery visits.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Highway 30 Triumvirate Part One; Cistus Design Nursery

Alison posted here about  part one of our grand adventure in the Portland, Oregon area on April 20.   Being much lazier than she (well, I've been playing in the garden o.k.) I'm just getting around to posting.  There was a very special reason that we drove down on that day about which you can read in  Rainy Day Gardener's wonderful post  here.  Alison and I were invited to be honorary Portland area bloggers for the day & participate in their plant exchange. 

Whenever I'm in the area, I try my darndest to visit three nurseries that are on or fairly near Highway 30, Cistus, Means, and Joy Creek.  I love them all for different reasons.   Alison had never been to Portland before having recently moved from the Boston area so it was fun to accompany her to these great spots.

We began at Cistus Nursery, one of my favorite places on the planet and before I knew about the other nurseries in proximity, I'd drive nearly three hours each way just to visit this fabulous business.

By the time we turn in to this driveway to the parking lot, my heart is always pounding with the thrill of being here.

 Looking back.
Beautiful glaucous leaves and exfoliating bark of a eucalyptus tree along the drive.
Checking out the opuntias.  This is not really an area for shopping but it's close to the restrooms at the end of the parking lot so it's fun to look around.   Please forgive us if we've committed a Cistus Sin. 

That's a lot of spiky sharpness!
What do you see?  Cute little teddy bear ears? Soft wooly cuteness?  I see pain.  They are pretty cool looking though.
Walking toward the main entrance...

Having moved from zone 6 to zone 8, Alison's  excitement at seeing such a broad palette of plant options was palpable and brought back memories of my own zone shifting amazement!  Kids on Christmas morning, fun; plant geek at a really cool nursery full of a few extra zones worth of plants, orgasmic.

Here we are at the entrance to the main house.  We've made it through the enchanted forest drive and the prickly maze, now one test remains, will the fearsome beast find us worthy to pass?

If your riddle answering and sorcery skills are not expertly honed, you may wish to bring dog treats.  Seriously, this dog is extremely sweet.  We made it!  Louis, I see your yucca rostratas.  They're calling out to you!

Take me home Louis!
Agave safety.  Clever.
What's better than an Agave americana variegata?
  Four Agave americana variegatas!

An Agave americana 'Mediopicta Alba' came home with me. 

I'll shut up and let you enjoy the plants. Some are from the nursery and some are growing in the faboo gardens that surround it.

Magnolia bevifolia in bloom. 

Senecio petasitis
 Solanum pyracanthum
 Made in the shade.

Dioon somethingorother

Solanum quitoense

Rhodocoma capensis, so beautiful, so tempting.  Two is enough for my tiny garden.  Must say no.  But look how soft & sweet they are, like kittens or puppies...hard to resist...one gallons so reasonably priced...Finally able to break away.  These plants are in the Restio family which, with the exception of one Tasmanian cousin, are native to the Fynbos area of South Africa.

Petasites palmatus 'Golden Palms'  a form of our PNW native Coltsfoot with yellow leaves.
 Next trip, that glaucous-leaved palm may need to come home with me.

 So many palms, so little car.

Symphytum x uplandicum 'Axminster Gold' which has partly reverted to green.  My entire sepcimen reverted  so it became compost. See Sue's great growing tips for this one here.

Blue spruce, eucalyptus, yucca rostratas. color echoes.
In this part of the grounds, we can see the outlaw garden influence.  Notice the clever combination of natives like horsetail with exotics like Dandelions from Eurasia and  Ajuga from Europe among others.  Throw in some Spanish Bluebells and you've got a picture of my yard.

NOID Camellia japonica with waxy deep red blooms.  Yum.

Loving this color & those veins!  I'll check their plant list to see if they sell these.

Epimedium wushanense

Hypericum 'Albury Purple' (guessing about the Albury Purple part.)

Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham Lace'

More gorgemundous palms! 

This one, whose name has left my memory with a lot of other useful information, has fronds that emerge joined like this and then split apart.  Aren't plants amazing?

Care for a little piece of desert for dessert

The beauty just keeps going. 

Considering a Beaucarnea 'Gold Star' but I really don't need another winter houseguest.  Sure is pretty though.

Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira'   Has anyone seen my socks?  They seem to have been knocked off. 

Note to self: make a point of asking the identity of this sweet opuntia next visit.  I've admired it several times but get carried away by all the offerings inside and forget to inquire.   The sedum pairing is lovely!

This one had me stumped. Kniphofia?  No, there's a trunk.  Yucca?  Agave?  No, the trunk but then some agaves...   Can you identify this? 

One of the red Camellia japonicas pictured earlier was just across and up the path from this huge red pot.

Love this Hedera growing in the bamboo litter.  

Podophyllum delavayi, one of my all time favorites, never ceases to thrill me.

Eucalyptus blooms
Here's our wagon.  My plants are on the right (there were actually eight of them but  some are hiding) Alison's are on the left.
Hope you enjoyed our visit to Cistus.  Somehow there were several hundred images on my camera taken here but to see more, you'll simply have to visit the nursery yourself, you'll be glad you did!