On our yearly early spring plant buying road trip we always go to Joy Creek first, then on to Cistus on Sauvie Island. The first time I went to Cistus I recognized only a small proportion of the plants on offer. Here is a true collectors’ nursery. I have heard that Dan Hinkley shops at Cistus. (True or rumour? The gardening elite do all know each other.) Any nursery with so many cutting edge plants is highly educational and I now recognize maybe one third of what owner Sean Hogan sells. I hope you enjoy perusing the photos of these unusual plants.
3 May 2010
27 April 2011
I adore this water feature. In 2011 I acquired from the city of Long Beach two big wooden boxes in which glass had been delivered. I placed them just like this, sort of offset from each…and filled them with soil and plants. What was I thinking??
Psuedopanax ferox: I saw a big specimen when touring with Allan in north Seattle in 2005. It did indeed look like a metal sculpture. Later, much later, I acquired a tiny six inch pot of it, so small and slow growing that it got buried by a weed. In spring of 2011 I found one tough leaf sticking out of that pot, but that particular plant never did put on any size…Thus my gallon, acquired in 2012….Will I succeed with it this time?
I did acquire in 2011 this gorgeous Chaenomeles (Japanese flowering quince) and planted it in a rough area in my little woods. It still survives. The deep mahogany blooms spoke to me. I hope it gives me a flower or two in 2012.
I don’t know what was wrong with me that day. I rejected some plants at Cistus cos my new garden has almost too lush soil and ended up with some room left in the car…unheard of. But I made up for it in 2012….
12 April 2012
The disadvantage to going so early is that the display gardens are not yet showing as spectacularly as just two weeks later, although a Daphne outside the main greenhouse filled the air with intoxicating sweethouse.
I did very much want to buy the Echium but feared that it would simply rot away from moist cold in my garden. It is so beautiful. I would have taken a chance if it might have bloomed during the upcoming garden tour.
At Cistus part of the enjoyment is the entertaining plant labeling. For example, on the Pseuodpanax ferox which I did buy for myself: “One of those cool dinosaur plants found down Kiwi way that catches the eye and triggers the lust gene in plant geeks and adventurous gardeners. Juvenile leaves are dark brown, long, very narrow, stiff, and saw-toothed, growing downward from a central stem — odd indeed. Slow growing, trees reach 20 ft in 20+ years, only then producing adult foliage, shorter, wider, and green. Sun to dappled or bright shade and regular summer water. Frost hardy in USDA zone 8b in a sheltered location, though even in Portland we keep most of ours in containers and shelter during winter cold.” You can read all sorts of information like that in their mail order catalog.
I have no budget for the plant tour, and by that I mean I will buy any plant I want for just this one year. (Uh huh.) Time will tell whether before July 21st we make another trip inland to feed the frenzied tour-driven plant lust. I’d like to visit Sheila and Joy Creek/Cistus could very well be on the way….but down Sheila’s way we have Dancing Oaks and Gossler Farms, and my friend Shaz sent me a gift certificate to Ferguson’s Fragrant Nursery with an invitation to visit her near Portland….and our car is simply nowhere near big enough.