3-nursery spree

If you come to stay with us for a weekend, you can expect to be entertained by trips to the wonderful nurseries that surround us. My dear friend Susan had given me a gift certificate for Joy Creek. Does she know me well, or what? R’s sister Kathryn had come to stay, so we started there. Their display gardens are beyond compare, so it’s a great place to start. Even non-gardening guests can appreciate a stroll through paradise. I have taken you there many times, so I will simply show you the plants that came home with me.


R spotted this Abies Koreana ‘Horstman’s Silberlake’. Maurice Horn, co-owner and plant expert, was on hand, so we were able to get the straight scoop on the plants that caught our eye. I had lost another Abies, so was a little leery of blowing a good part of my wad on this one. The goner had been a smaller specimen than this, and when I saw an adult sporting dark, upright cones I was the goner.


Sometimes a plant seen in another garden lurks in the back of one’s mind. I didn’t realize the need for Carpenteria Californica ‘Elizabeth’ until I came across this one. The scent is elusively intoxicating.


Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’ will replace the ‘Vandehberg’ lost in last winter’s harsh cold. It is supposed to be one of the hardiest.


Not many agaves at Joy Creek, but Maurice assured me that Agave neomexicana would survive here. I have it in a pot for the time being, just to be on the safe side.

Next stop, Cistus, down the road and across the bridge, to Sauvie Island.


You know you are in the presence of engagingly quirky minds when dead trees present this kind of opportunity.


You know those phormiums Portlanders have mostly given up on in the last 2 years? Here’s what happens when they live in a greenhouse setting…they bloom! My greenhouse envy was ratcheted up at least three levels.


I had promised myself an agave from Cistus, which is the only way to narrow the choices in this candy store. Agave furkiana ‘Blue Haze’ will live in a green pot to set off its wonderful pattern.


While the wavy cloak fern, Astrolepis sinuata. a fern that thrives on sun, will go straight to my dry berm.

My mission, besides doing something fun with Kathryn, was to find some showy plant material to fill big pots around our entry. Our first two stops brought us face to frond with the exotic, the sought-after…the costly. Now it was time for some big, bold, ordinary stuff. Means Nursery, here we come.


For about the price of one very special plant at the other places, I picked up some Phygelius ‘Devil’s Tears’ and a couple of Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’ to echo the black stems of the taller plant and spill over the edges of two of these large terra cotta pots.


This Pieris was one of several shrubs that will live in pots to liven up the entry for a season and then move to borders later on. I thought we might have overloaded Kathryn’s tolerance for nursery visits, but she went back to browse on her own the next day, and was full of plans for an overhaul of their grounds to go with a recent remodeling. Another gardening fanatic in the making?

7 thoughts on “3-nursery spree

  1. Well, Ricki, I’m going to have to traipse on out and stick my nose in the center of my Carpenteria blossom.

    What a fun outing it must have been. I’m thinking I’ll have to get up that way. These nurseries sound very interesting.

  2. Don’t believe it: more coincidences. I’m getting tired of them, and just a touch worried.
    Abies Koreana: fell hook line and sinker, like you did, three days ago.
    Brought it home from the garden centre, and thought: no snail nor slug will touch this. In a pot by my new arbour, to drool over with coffee every morning, eagerly awaiting the blue cones I was promised.
    Know what?
    This morning, with said coffee (and cake), I looked at the new treasure:
    Five shoots hanging by a thread, three discarded by the side of the pot.
    What is it with me and critters? Can’t they even give us a decent interval to enjoy things?
    Anyways: my suitcases are packed, air ticket bought: I’m coming. Not really, but one can dream.

  3. Grace~How big is yours? I was thinking that the scent would waft over us once it reached a good size.

    Loree~Your influence is showing in the taste department.

    Jo~Such a sad tale of woe. I am going to run out and check on mine right now!

  4. Ooh plant shopping… The carpenteria looks like a major score.

    Most of my local nurseries are pretty industrial, but some farther away have little demonstration gardens attached that make the drive worthwhile. (45 miles one way for me to buy a couple gallon plants doesn’t seem so green, but I’m sure there are less green forms of entertainment.)

  5. Megan~Something burrowed right next to the fern, but it seems to still be doing OK. Having lost several things in that berm, a hex is suspected.

    James~I think we can be forgiven for the occasional plant excursion. We spend the rest of our time at home building up the canopy…right?

    Wendy~Yep, lots of space, which, like most things, has its pluses and minuses.

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