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 8, 2014

Groovin' On A Sunday Afternoon at Vassey Nursery

One of my favorite things to do after work on Sunday is to visit the nurseries located near the road home.  One of my favorites is Vassey Nursery in Puyallup.  (Several previous posts here.)
Here's a small sample of their great evergreen offering.  So many evergreens, so little garden!  Notice those nice looking Sciadopitys verticillata in the center.  Yummy!

I'm not saying that we have moist winters or anything but...
It's really quite beautiful.

Iris  bucharia foliage is delightful!

Yes, I am a magpie and I love looking at stuff.  this collection of  glass spheres is very interesting!

Cute little baby hand stand for a tiny sphere was in my basket for a while but when I rremembered that there's no space in my house that isn't covered with plants right now, it went back on the shelf.

More spheres displayed around this new water feature.

If I could only grow one rhododendron, it would be 'President Roosevelt.  Or maybe Sinogrande.  On the other hand Ebony Pearl is pretty special.  I digress.  Look at the President's beautifully variegated foliage!  It's like having a variegated Daphniphyllum without the cool red pedicles but with vibrant pink and white flowers for a month or so each year.  The more refined among us eschew such large, in your face sorts of flowers but for me, in the spring all bets are off.  If one is hosting a party to celebrate the end of winter, why not haul out all the overblown  high school prom decorations he can find?   

Speaking of the spring show, it's magnolia time!  (Yes, all summer is magnolia time but the liliifloras take center stage around this time of year.)

M. 'Butterflies' 

Another beauty!

Can't wait to see this one open!  The color of 'Blushing Belle' is like a watermelon pink mixed with magenta.  very different for a magnolia!
Back inside for another look.  I'm glad they haven't put all of their green glass eggs in one basket!

You need one of these refrigerator magnets!

This display style appeals to me -  Lots of interesting things to find in the three dimensional collage of fun.

Meconopsis paniculata is one of my favorite winter foliage plants.  These form large basal rosettes of this golden hair covered foliage that glows in the low winter sun and as you can see, the hairy leaves hold on to droplets of water that sparkle .  It's an easy Meconopsis to grow.  After two or three years, a three to five foot single candelabra of  many gorgeous golden fur covered buds (so soft that you want to brush your cheek against them) emerges and the month or so of bloom commences.  When it's finished blooming, this monocarpic plant forms nice hirsute  seed pots.  I've not had any luck with simply scattering the seeds on the ground and haven't tried sowing them in pots.  When these bloom, I'll try harder.  This isn't very common but I've been very lucky to find a few of them each time mine have finished their cycle so my garden is never without them. Vassey is the only place I've seen them so far this year. 

There were some other uncommon treasures including pink Erythronium and this wonderful red trillium, a native of east and northeast North America.  I remember one of my sisters picking "Nosebleeds" from our woods in Vermont.  The common name may originate with the idea that the astringent extract could cure nose bleeds or that the smell of some of the blooms might cause them. 

Epimedium 'Red Beauty' Any plant that will thrive in dry, tree root laden soil is a winner in my book!
Hellebores  continue to look great when going to seed.

After all of this shopping, I have a lot of planting to do but first, several beds need to be cleared (again!) of  Spanish Bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica.  I wouldn't mind them so much if their foliage didn't suffocate any other plants trying to grow around them. Some day maybe I'll get the connection between shopping for plants and dirt work.
Since you sometimes ask what I bought, here's my list:
Rhododendron 'President Roosevelt'  (yes, I already have one but the price of this was really great and I'm going to remove a rhody this year which will leave space for a more handsome replacement.
Three Meconopsis paniculata
A red trillium to join the northwest native white ones and others in the shade garden.
Two pink Erythroniums
Camellia Japonica 'Janet Waterhouse' because the price was great and I want to replace a Lonicera nitida which is such a quickly growing puppy that I have to keep hacking away at it.  That's no way for that poor plant to live. 


  1. You're lucky that you have plant places to pop round to on your way home.It's nice that way as you get to check out new plants without having to spend too much time doing so. That Iris bucharia is something special, love the foliage!

    1. It is convenient that they've put nurseries on my way!

  2. Yes, buying plants is lots of fun, but then the work required to get them into my rocky, concrete-like soil is the hard part that I also do not look forward to. I may have to check out that Meconopsis at Vassey. I seldom go inside at Vassey, except to pay for my plants. I should explore more.

    1. They have fun stuff inside! You should definitely get some of those meconopsis before they run out!

  3. That "Blushing Belle" is beautiful!

  4. Lovely foliage on that Meconopsis paniculata!

  5. I'm not a huge Rhodie girl but the President is pretty dang sweet looking. I can see why you had to have it. Do you get the Fine Gardening reader photos daily email? This morning it featured a gardener in Alaska who grows blue and lavender meconopsis. Here is the link if you're interested. http://www.finegardening.com/item/32498/barbaras-garden-in-alaska-revisited

    1. I don't get the fine gardening daily email. Thanks for passing this on! Some parts of Alaska are perfect for growing those gorgeous blue and lavender poppies. They grow pretty well here as well. We don't get as hot and humid here as Portland and points south so they're a little happier with our summer conditions.

  6. And how often do you discard plants for something shiny and new? I have to admit that I do that with some frequency - as an alternative, I've begun to wonder if my neighbors would notice if I encroach upon the property boundaries just a wee bit...

  7. Vassey's is a great little nursery. Looks like I have to be there when they open tomorrow so I don't miss out on the Meconopsis paniculata.

  8. I've got to get to that nursery....soon!

  9. I think I was bitten by the "President Roosevelt" bug here some time ago, but we need to solve our Azalea lacewing problem before I bring him here...polio is affliction enough, don't you think?


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