Lucy Hardiman at Joy Creek…+ a hot tip

Lucy talks about Great Plant Picks

Talk about a household name: that’s Lucy Hardiman in the Pacific Northwest’s gardening circles and beyond. She’s a dynamic speaker and all-around fun person..also much more attractive than my poor photo conveys (I didn’t want to be too intrusive with the camera). The subject of her talk was the Great Plant Picks program. She serves on their board, and made a good case for the plants they recommend after extensive trials to test their usefulness in our climate. I strongly suggest you visit their website to learn more about them. They are a great resource for researching the plants on their approved list. Lucy is no slave to lists, so her talk ranged from color combinations (she brought cuttings from her own garden to demonstrate some knockout pairings of surprising partners) to other design considerations. One message: proven winners can act as the workhorses of the garden, easing the workload and freeing us to experiment with the divas we so love. I came away with a firm resolve to do a better job of researching the plants I bring home. And a new term: “Nativars” referring to cultivars of natives, ie: a new Ribes, ‘King Edward VII’ which, after some tinkering, sports redder flowers than the strictly native form.

Giant Gunnera

The seminar was one of a series of talks held every Sunday (and a few Saturdays) at Joy Creek. Their Gunnera has reached majestic proportions. I enlisted a fellow wanderer to put her hand on one of the stalks to show scale.

Joy Creek shopping

Revved up by Lucy’s talk, what could I do but go shopping? Starting top left, Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, two painted ferns, Epimedium young. ‘Roseum’, Dryopteris koidzumiana and Salvia o. ‘Gold variegated sage’.

And now for something completely different: that hot tip.

sale at Means

Here’s a partial shot of the trees on sale at Means. Lucy says that dwarf evergreen conifers are the up and comers for their year-round beauty and ease of care. I would have to agree (well, I have loved them since the first visit to the Oregon Garden). These are not dwarfs, but well…

Blue Atlas cedars

Blue Atlas cedars going for $5.00? Unbelievable!


Five foot spruce for $9.99? Ditto.

Deodora cedar & Atlas spruce

Here’s what came home with us. We agreed to agree on any new trees to be added here. R’s comment: what if they get too big? My reply: Well, at this price, we can enjoy them as long as they behave, then give them away or cut them down. No identifying labels were attached, so I have no idea how big that Deodora cedar will get. I am also going against Lucy’s advice to thoroughly research plants and place them with mature size in mind. What can I say? I plead insanity brought on by irrational exuberance.


I know there are a lot of palm lovers out there, so I took one shot of these that they were just unloading (no prices yet).

Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’ and Raoulia australis

Not on sale, but a couple of other things were thrown in for good measure: Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’ (love that icy blue) and Raoulia australis (I’m experimenting with possible ground covers).

15 thoughts on “Lucy Hardiman at Joy Creek…+ a hot tip

  1. One is bound to learn something every time they hear Lucy give a talk!

    Glad to see you bought a couple of painted ferns AND a bargain Blue Atlas Cedar. I had to laugh at R’s comment…too big? In your garden? But you’ve got all that space! He’d be terrified to see what a mess I’ve crammed in here.

  2. Jane~I think I will keep Al in a big pot for a while and move him around til inspiration strikes.

    Loree~R keeps me in stitches a good deal of the time.

    Mark & Gaz~I don’t remember seeing any conifers in your garden. Sales like this one can push a person in new directions.

  3. looks like I missed out again, I was planning on attending that class. gardening just takes too much time up.
    Why aren’t you joining me on my Dancing Oaks trip this Sunday?

  4. Sounds like a great day! “Insanity brought on by irrational exuberance” you’d definitely be acquitted by a jury of your peers (gardeners!) Gotta love Means for those fabulous sales and everyday low prices.

  5. Linda~I hear you. Being 5 minutes away helps. I feel a bit forlorn about missing your Dancing Oaks outing, but this week is packed with activities from tomorrow on. DO is such a wonderful place. I will look forward to your account.

    Peter~I could so easily have missed it. Now I have even more reason to stop by often.

  6. Sweet purchases. I know Lucy is the expert and all but I have to wonder about dwarf conifers. Yes, they look lovely in the garden and offer year round interest. But how many of them are drought tolerant and can handle our long, sunny summers without a little coddling? I suppose time will tell.

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