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Posts Tagged ‘Dancing Oaks Nursery’

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Hardy Plant Study Weekend in Salem, Oregon

evening soirée at Dancing Oaks Nursery

Prepare for a looooong blog post.  I have not been to this nursery since I visited it with Sheila before the Eugene Hardy Plant weekend of eight years ago.  It is glorious and we are going to look at almost every bit of it.

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I was overwhelmed by plant shopping excitement and I forgot the part about the Beardless Irises garden book.

It goes up and over a steep hill.

The gravel road to Dancing Oaks is long and mysterious. It goes up and over a steep hill.

Eventually, one comes to the pillars marking the outskirts of Dancing Oaks.

Eventually, one comes to the pillars marking the outskirts of Dancing Oaks.

so excited

so excited

We parked with many other vehicles in a big grassy field and I made a beeline for the plant sales, which were already in full swing with booths from Far Reaches Farm and Dan Hinkley’s Windcliff.  I seem to have missed one plant I was urgently questing for: Dierama ‘Merlin’, the new, extra dark “angel’s fishing rod”.  I saw someone carrying away what might have been the last one. Nevertheless, I did acquire a goodly assortment of cool new acquisitions.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

plant sales!

plant sales!

cool plants

cool plants

amusing Dan Hinkley tag.

amusing Dan Hinkley tag.

Dan Hinkley and the hardy planters (Allan's photo)

Dan Hinkley and the hardy planters (Allan’s photo)

After Allan helped me schlep two boxes of plants up to our van (in hot sunshine, but the plants would be okay for a couple of hours), I headed over to the Dancing Oaks greenhouses for more plant shopping.  (I’ll be itemizing all my new plants later when I plant them at home.)

This building is central to the garden.

This building is central to the garden.

On the way....I am not officially garden touring yet, though.

On the way….I am not officially garden touring yet, though.

inside one of the greenhouses

inside one of the greenhouses

For some reason I resisted this one, and now I am so sorry.

For some reason I resisted this one, and now I am so sorry.

Allan's photo: He saw our friend Ann giving this plant a lot of attention. Not sure why that did not inspire him to immediately buy one!

Allan’s photo: He saw our friend Ann giving this plant a lot of attention. Not sure why that did not inspire him to immediately buy one!

I had my head down in the eryngiums reading tags when Garden Tour Nancy, who was also at the weekend tried to have a conversation.  We had been passing in our vehicles like ships in the night because we were touring at a different pace. I said (hot, tired, and hungry for dinner but unable to stop till I secured my plants!) that this was not a good time for me to talk.  She said later, when we did chat, that it was the same way that she shops at a book sale, very focused on getting the books she wants before someone else does.

I acquired another two boxes of plants, including….at last…Eryngium ‘Miss Wilmott’s Ghost’, which I have wanted for years.

I do believe this is Miss Wilmott’s Ghost, reseeded by a path near the greenhouses to poke folks in the ankle.

Miss Wilmott's Ghost, named because she supposedly scattered the seeds of it in all her friends' gardens.

Miss Wilmott’s Ghost, named because she supposedly scattered the seeds of it in all her friends’ gardens.

At last, I sat for the delicious catered dinner, one of the best I have ever had at such an event.  My mind was on finding time to tour through the whole garden before the evening ended.

Allan's photo of a half consumed dinner. The heat had sapped my skills at narrative flow.

Allan’s photo of a half consumed dinner. The heat had sapped my skills at narrative flow.

After a scrumptious piece of strawberry cobbler for dessert, I leapt…well, creaked and hobbled up and began touring the gardens.  (This led to a couple more plant purchases.)

Folks still dining on the tasty food.

Folks still dining on the tasty food.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

bamboo, pruned for light and space

bamboo, pruned for light and space

I remember this garden idea inspired me greatly eight years ago.

I remember this garden idea inspired me greatly eight years ago.

a dripping water feature

a dripping water feature

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dripping water

dripping water

'Twas hot and bright for my little pocketcam.

‘Twas hot and bright for my little pocketcam.

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Acer palmatum 'Fairy Hair' aroused plant lust.

Acer palmatum ‘Fairy Hair’ aroused plant lust. I did not find it for sale, which does not mean it wasn’t available.

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

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Lobelia tupa...never does this for me at the coast, must need more heat to get big.

Lobelia tupa…never does this for me at the coast, must need more heat to get big.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

sit spots can be found throughout the garden

Sit spots can be found tucked in throughout the garden.

I found a pond.

I found a pond.

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such a pleasant vista hidden away in a shady area

such a pleasant vista hidden away in a shady area

handsome horsetail

handsome horsetail

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oooh....Arundo donax variegata...I used to have this.

oooh….Arundo donax variegata…I used to have this.

 I immediately returned to the greenhouses to successfully quest for one of these.

I immediately returned to the greenhouses to successfully quest for one of these.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

'Mermaid' rose...I do have this.

‘Mermaid’ rose…I do have this.

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Eryngium variifolium (Allan's photo)

Eryngium variifolium (Allan’s photo)

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asclepias...on my third visit to the shed containing the check-out cash register.

asclepias…on my third visit to the shed containing the check-out cash register.

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I wandered into the shrubs and trees for sale area and was gobsmacked by a cloud of white.

Acer campestre 'Carnival' (variegated hedge maple)

Acer campestre ‘Carnival’ (variegated hedge maple)

I had to have it, bought it, got help carrying it to a holding area where we could pick it up on the way out.  (The evening would have been easier if I had done that with all the plants I bought.)  I was fortunate to overhear that these do better in the sun than deep shade. (That may only be true here in the Pacific Northwest and in the UK, not in areas with brighter and hotter sunshine.) I would have planted it far into the shade because it looks so delicate.

outside the buying shed...the obligatory photo of the shop cat

outside the sales shed…the obligatory photo of the shop cat

By the sales shed...How many times, three? have I tried to grow Argyrocytisus battandieri (pineapple broom), and had it not bloom (my old garden), or just simply plotz (my new garden).

By the sales shed…How many times, three? have I tried to grow Argyrocytisus battandieri (pineapple broom), and had it not bloom (my old garden), or just simply plotz (my new garden).

Dierama (not 'Merlin')

Dierama (not ‘Merlin’)

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below the sales shed

below the sales shed

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an undiscovered sit spot

an undiscovered sit spot

a sit spot guarded by stone cats

a sit spot guarded by stone cats

Steps made of cottage stone have become rusticated.

Steps made of cottage stone have become rusticated.

into the sun again: a prickly cloud of Eryngiums. (I bought several different kinds, including the exciting new 'Neptune's Gold'.

into the sun again: a prickly cloud of Eryngiums. (I bought several different kinds, including the exciting new ‘Neptune’s Gold’.

The vendors' tables were still selling.

The vendors’ tables were still selling.

After seven PM, the shadows were getting softer.

After seven PM, the shadows were getting softer.

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kitty cat!

kitty cat!

back to the dripping water

back to the dripping water

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This looks like the tree that I bought; if it is, it gets a lot bigger than the tag suggests.

This looks like the tree that I bought; if it is, it gets bigger than the tag suggests (10′). Maybe that IS what 10 feet looks like.

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into the lower shade garden again

into the lower shade garden again

giant bamboo

giant bamboo

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treasures!

treasures!

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A hardy planter ogling this sedum drew my attention to it.

A hardy planter ogling this sedum drew my attention to it.

I wanted it but was too shopped out to go looking for it.

I wanted it but was too shopped out to go looking for it.

looking again at the stacked garden idea

looking again at the stacked garden idea

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I took Allan to see the white tree....love the way it is like a cloud in the evening light.

I took Allan to see the white tree….love the way it is like a cloud in the evening light.

heading back to the sales shed and holding area to pick up my own white tree.

heading back to the sales shed and holding area to pick up my own white tree.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Because we won’t be going to the Hardy Plant weekend next year (its year to be in Canada), I would like to return to Dancing Oaks and Sebright Nursery on an overnight springtime shopping tour of our own.

Next: one more day of garden touring before we return to everyday life and once a day posting.

 

 

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a bonus post for friends who missed the weekend, including photos of Dancing Oak Nursery (location of next year’s study weekend garden party)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend

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On the walk from the hotel to the college, Allan photographed this water trailer set up used in Portland.

On the walk from the hotel to the college, Allan photographed this water trailer set up used in Portland.

Allan says it was powered by a gas motor, not a battery like ours; the guy started it with a pull like a gas mower.

Allan says it was powered by a gas motor, not a battery like ours; the guy started it with a pull like a gas mower.

lecture notes

For friends who couldn’t attend, here are the particular takeaways from the three lectures we attended Sunday morning.  As with Saturday, we barely got there in time, but Our Todd had held seats for us.

Todd's VIP seat holding method

Todd’s VIP seat holding method

C. Coleston Burrell: Redefining Right Plant, Right Place

Cole Burrell at last night's garden party (Allan's photo)

Cole Burrell at last night’s garden party (Allan’s photo)

Burrell’s lecture was wonderfully vindicating for me.  Here are the fragments transcribed from my notebook, all quickly scrawled and only exact quotes if I enclose them in quotation marks.  His slides were exquisite, so do go a speech of his in person if you can.

He spoke of a tree planting group with the clever name of Neighborwoods.  Perhaps it was this one.

He recommended a book by Bebe Miles called Bluebells and Bittersweet: Gardening with Native American Plants as informative and also a good read.

He told us about the Biota of North American Program and showed us a slide of one of the maps that shows which plants are truly native to which area.  I think it would be useful for people who want to be very specific in using native plants that grow in their own particular spot.  (That’s not me, of course.)

He said that “Reginald Farrer was the first to give plants human characteristics…this plant prefers this…or that plant is miffy.”  Before Farrer’s writing, we did not anthropomorphize plants.  [I remember well enjoying the effusive prose of Reginald Farrer’s My Rock Garden.]

He spoke of the North America Rock Garden Society’s phrase “moving scree” and said you could achieve it by putting scree on top of an old fashioned motel bed with magic fingers.

Checks and balances like drought keep native plants from being invasive.  [I thought about salal in a few terribly dry gardens still infuriatingly poking its way into other plants.]

He recommended the book Noah’s Garden by Sarah Stein for information like this:  Robins eat the fruit of native dogwood, but Cornus kousa, the fancier cultivar, has fruit that is too big for them to eat.  I read that book years ago and am due for a re-read.

Friends of mine (who know I’m not in the native plant brigade) might wonder why I say a lecture about native plants was so vindicating.  Here comes the part I loved.  Burrell quoted from Joni Mitchell:

Back in 1957
We had to dance a foot apart
And they hawk-eyed us from the sidelines
Holding their rulers without a heart

and said that making sure plants don’t touch in a public landscape is typical, but “we need to let them touch,  bumping and grinding.  Health and vitality depends on plants being integrated horizontally.”

[Oh yes!  We quit one job, a local credit union, because the new director said he did not want any plants to “touch or come up through each other” in the landscape which we had created to be floriferous and Piet Oudolf-y.  He then fired a friend of ours who had taken on the job, because our friend (having removed many plants already to make the don’t touch guy happy) refused to cut down a Shasta daisy in full bloom.  That Shasta daisy was so old and well established that it pre-dated my work in the garden, and I praised my friend for refusing to butcher it.

that garden on June 29 2015

that garden on June 29 2015

The way it looked when we did it, in 2010

The way it looked when we did it, in 2010 (further back, which is now also changed to a barkscape with fewer plants).  This was an early photo that does not even show its later lushness.

We got “let go” from another commercial job whose garden, under our care, had won the company’s regional landscaping award.  A new manager had been hired and wanted the garden returned to plain, plant-less bark.

the way their fast food drive  through looks now

the way their fast food drive through looks now

July 29: bark and horsetail

July 29 2015: bark and horsetail against rhododendrons

the way it looked when we took care of it (

the way it looked when we took care of it: flowers in front of the rhododendrons

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entry to the drivethrough (garden now completely gone)

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Sometimes remarks have gotten back to me of sniffy uptight people in whose gardens the plants are separated from each other and who disapprove of our gardening style.  I appreciated Burrell’s full support of letting plants get up close and person with each other.]

Burrell recommended the book Sand County Almanac and shared this quotation:

one of Cole Burrell's slides

one of Cole Burrell’s slides

Evelyn Hadden:  Hellstrips to Havens:  Paradise at the Curb

As it happens, I own her book Hellstrip Gardening and was particularly looking forward to her lecture.  It lived up to my expectations with lots of information and great, inspiring photographs.

Smokey at home with the book.

Smokey at home with the book.

Hadden describes herself as an “avid pedestrian.”  She writes for the Garden Rant blog.  She credits Lauren Springer, author of The Undaunted Gardener, for coming up with the term “hellstrip” and referred to an 800 foot long hellstrip, or curbside planting, I think made by Springer (but not sure; you know how notes are).

She calls cut off areas “fragments” (little pockets of dirt in a concrete environment).

Lawnless blocks make her heart leap.

Hellstrips and fragments in public places provide

beauty….expansion…xeric zones….more space…emotional benefits…respite…

giving people a new experience….

transforming a public sidewalk into a path through your garden (by planting on both sides)

front yard gardening is contagious.  [I wish it were more so!; it was slow going when I first started curbside gardening at my house in Seattle, and when I left there were no others on my block, but when I go back now, curbside gardens are all over the city.]

Even a smallest pocket can make a landscape; otherwise there is no “place”.

The challenges of curbside gardening:

heat, roots, critters, flooding, litter, compacted soil, dog poop, access to cars, access—how to get across,  wind, foot traffic, Home Owners Associations, power lines.  [Oh yes, I know them all, except for HOAs.  I had my original boatyard garden torn up and destroyed by the necessity to put in a new power line and fence.)

She advises “don’t put your best stuff out there.”

She mentioned a “pervious paving” that lets water through to tree roots and said that service berry is a good public tree.

Sh advised using well adapted plants and using nitrogen fixers to improve your soil.  To my surprise, ceanothus is a nitrogen fixer (as are lupines).  She also proposed the idea of using one season taprooted plants to penetrate compacted soil, an interesting idea that she says is untried.  One plant she proposed trying was rutabega!

It is good to cover old soil with plants (and topsoil, I assumed at the curbside because it has years of lead contaminants.

Re watering…how to make it absorb…where the run off falls is where it is absorbed…  Curb cuts let water in from the street side gutters.

More ideas: incorporate ledge seating, have a green driveway.

She says some plants are ambassadors for winning public acceptance of hellstrip gardening: “Grandma plants” (that remind people of their childhood), big flowers, color, fuzzy texture, curiosities…to make people like the garden.

People are reassured if a group volunteers to maintain a public garden.

She suggests giving lavender bundles to neighbours.  Hey, I took a bundle of lavender to Salt Hotel because they are so supportive of watering at the port.

Hellstrips provide wildlife habitat…pollinators (early blooming crocus is good for pollinators), larval food, milk weed, plant diversity…

And [I love this]: Pest-free plants = no bugs = NO BIRDS.

Curbside gardens provide nest materials for birds.  Hummingbirds use hairy leaves and plants with threadlike foliage.  Leave the seed heads up, don’t tidy up.

Tree frogs drink from the drops of water on alchemilla (lady’s mantle).  [I guess I will start liking that plant again!]

More about good plants for hellstrips: Communities of self sowers….plants that heal themselves if broken off…

[At the port, we also have to consider traffic sightlines in our curbside gardens.]

On her trip to Portland, she had been able to see the Wright garden for herself, after having used photos of it in the book.

She spoke about an earlier book in which she wrote about “having to move because of the stares”.  It just might be this one, which I am going to acquire as soon as I get home.

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What a wonderful lecture.  It made me so glad that here on the peninsula where there are hardly any sidewalks with strips of curbside lawn, I am lucky to have the Port of Ilwaco curbside gardens to play with (and the beach approach in Long Beach, difficult though that is because of the way it used to get trampled before it became almost all rugosa roses…

I will re-read her book, and I advise you to get it if you have any sort of hot, dry, difficult gardening area, because the ideas can be translated into solving the problems of challenging home gardens.

I am fortunate to also own her other book, which I haven’t read yet but will in short order! (I got it as a free book at the Bloggers Fling and the only reason I haven’t read it is that replacing lawns is not something that comes up in my work.)

no mow

no mow

breaktime

The silent auction was finalized.

I took a last close look at the stage display.

I took a last close look at the stage display.

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 Allan took some photos.

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Jonathan Wright: Design by Detail

Jonathan Wright plants and maintains gardens at the famous Chanticleer public gardens, with 7 full time gardeners working for him.  He accompanied his speech with 237 exquisite slides.  I could have happily viewed twice that many.

The promotion of a new restroom building at Chanticleer, to fit into a Japanese style garden area:  “Come enjoy the flush of spring—the Asian pee house.”

The plant lists for Chanticleer are kept in beautiful boxes, instead of labels being stuck in all over the garden.

He said a garden like Kensington is meant to be seen from overhead—no details, no surprises.  At Chanticleer, things that need further inspection slow visitors down in the garden.

They would rather use willow hoops than signs to keep people out of an area.

using rivers of white anemone to trace the pattern made by tree roots

peony stakes from hammered in copper tubes interlaced with copper wire

If you can see mulch you don’t have enough plants. [Yay! Thank you!]

Sometimes the detail is in what you remove.

reusing old things, like an old chain…thingie…with pockets filled with little succulents.

(Every single one of his 237 slides was amazing.)

Plants that I coveted:

Schidoxys, like a red allium…phonetic spelling; must find

rye seed interplanted with bulbs to hide old foliage

Echinacea ‘Rocky Top’

Little bluestem ‘Ovation’ and ‘Blue Heaven’

Gladiolus ‘Atom’

Scadoxus multiflorus (looked like a red allium)

dwarf amber sorgham

Gladiolus calianthus

He plants summer plants into the spring plants (like pansies and alyssum) and then the spring plants turn into mulch.

He repeated that he hates seeing bare soil.

Put sod in a basket, cut holes in the sod and then plant in it…

“You don’t notice the details immediately, but you feel them.”  

His book The Art of Gardening is coming out in September, and I can’t wait!

my favourite quotations from the three lectures:

We need to let plants touch,  bumping and grinding.  Health and vitality depends on plants being integrated horizontally. -Cole Burrell

You don’t notice the details immediately, but you feel them. -Jonathan Wright

Even a smallest pocket can make a landscape; otherwise there is no “place”. -Evelyn Hadden

preview of the 2016 Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend

After the lectures, a spokesman from the Salem, Oregon chapter of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon spoke to the crowd about next year’s study weekend.  It will be in Salem instead of Eugene because of some sort of Olympics trials being in Eugene that month.  The online registration will open early, on January 15th, and will be limited to 400 attendees. I have already set a reminder on my phone.  The spokesman told us some enticing information:  The seminars will be held in an old mill, and Sebright Nursery will be on the tour list, and the Saturday night soirée will be held at Dancing Oaks nursery.  Dancing Oaks is a plant nerd’s mecca, one that is so far from where I live that I have only visited it once, in 2008.  Garden Tour Nancy was there last month.  This is the perfect opportunity to share her photos.  I hope we will all be there for study weekend 2016.

Garden Tour Nancy’s visit to Dancing Oaks (late June, 2015)

the long road to the nursery

the long road to the nursery

 

 

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the welcoming gates

the welcoming gates

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gate detail

gate detail

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Nancy's Phil, with "gorgeous, deep green bamboo".

Nancy’s Phil, with “gorgeous, deep green bamboo”.

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bamboo

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Fremontodendron

Fremontodendron

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double flowering Philadelphus (mock orange)

double flowering Philadelphus (mock orange)

Nancy brought some of these pitcher plants home. I was jealous!

Nancy brought some of these pitcher plants home. I was jealous!

Nancy says they have a large collection of hens and they sell the eggs.

Nancy says they have a large collection of hens and they sell the eggs.

So…we hope to see you at Hardy Plant Study weekend in Salem next year.  I’m already so looking forward to a garden party at Dancing Oaks (and a major garden spending spree).

Our next post will get you back to garden touring, with four gardens yet to go before our return home.

 

 

 

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