Posts Tagged ‘Maurice Horn’

Friday, 26 June 2015

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend, Portland 2015

Here’s a plant geek post with a great nursery and with lecture notes.  Tomorrow morning, we will get back to garden touring posts.


Back into Portland we drove on Friday afternoon, on a mission to get to a gardening mecca for the very first time:  Xera Plants.  Back when Pam Fleming had her own garden store in Gearhart, she would bring plants from Xera and I would buy one of everything.

The temperature kept rising!

The temperature kept rising!

Xera Plants and Contained Exuberance

Xera at last!

Xera at last!  “All plants grown locally by Xera.  Bee friendly.”

It was not till viewing my photos later that I realized that the owner of Contained Exuberance and Hyland Garden Design, the shop that shares the corner with Xera, is Bob Hyland whose garden we had just toured within the previous hour.  My reading comprehension of the program was low.  I will blame the heat.


inside Contained Exuberance

inside Contained Exuberance

The fellow at the shop graciously accepted the Peninsula garden tour poster.  (You can see it on the desk.)

The fellow at the shop graciously accepted the Peninsula garden tour poster. (You can see it on the desk.)

Here it is, so you don't forget to come.

Here it is, so you don’t forget to come.


next door at Xera Plants

next door at Xera Plants

It was so hot!  I wanted to browse and read every tag but couldn’t take the heat.  I’m so acclimated to beach weather.  I would pick out a plant and duck back into the shady side of the lot and put the plant on the concrete edge of the gorgeous shade display garden, then brave the heat again to find another plant.  The odd thing was that I had meant to collect shade plants anyway; the heat had addled my brain and made me think that my main mission should be to make my front garden more drought tolerant (which is not a bad idea).

the shady side

the shady side

in the sun

in the sun


potted tetrapanax

potted tetrapanax

I bought Melianthus major 'Purple Haze', as I'd lost mine in a cold winter.

I bought Melianthus major ‘Purple Haze’, as I’d lost mine in a cold winter. (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

some of my purchases

some of my purchases

The plants were all of a size that we could easily accomodate in our hotel room over the weekend.  We weren’t sure, just before we left, if Paul had charged us for them all.  He had, but I made that stupid nervous social anxiety comment “We wouldn’t have known if you charged us twice” (because we were confused).  As if he would have done such a thing.  Why couldn’t I say something intelligent??

Allan's photo of Paul Bonine

Allan’s photo of Paul Bonine

our plants (Allan's photo)

our plants (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo; I'm in plant nerd heaven.

Allan’s photo; I’m in plant nerd heaven, and also VERY HOT.

I wish I could go back and read every tag…and probably buy one of almost everything, as owner Paul Bonine’s taste in plants is impeccable.  I was thrilled to get to meet him in person; we’ve been Facebook friends for awhile thanks to knowing garden blogger Ann.

the rest of the day

a smokin' Cotinus, from our van on the way back to the hotel

a smokin’ Cotinus, from our van on the way back to the hotel

In the hotel bathtub, I used the two buckets I’d brought to burble all the new plants, one to dunk them and one to let the water drain out.  It took about an hour.

This saved having to commandeer the hotel's waste baskets and then try to clean the overflow soil out of them.

This saved having to commandeer the hotel’s waste baskets and then try to clean the overflow soil out of them.

Hydrangea 'Pistachio'

Hydrangea ‘Pistachio’

Allan brought up some floor mats from the van to set the plants on.

Allan brought up some floor mats from the van to set the plants on.

Because we had only a short while for dinner, as I was eager to check in to the HPSO event and to peruse their plant sale, we dined at the Chipotle restaurant across the street from the college.

It's a small chain restaurant with healthful Mexican food.

It’s a small chain restaurant with healthful Mexican food.

a green wall on the way to the HPSO check in

a green wall on the way to the HPSO check in

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo: vertical wall

a college eco-roof project

a college eco-roof project

After checking in, we explored the HPSO offerings.

checking in: Allan's photo.  One of my gardening idols, Lucy Hardiman

checking in: Allan’s photo. I’m being a star struck goof over one of my gardening idols, Lucy Hardiman

silent auction

silent auction

Why did I not bid on this last time or this time?  It would be worth a lot to me...Darn it.  I felt shy.

Why did I not bid on this last time or this time? It would be worth a lot to me…Darn it. I felt shy.

another silent auction item

another silent auction item featuring another garden idol

When I say idol, I don’t mean I worship them; well, I sort of do.  I can’t say mentor because they don’t know me.  What’s the word for someone who is an inspiration (other than the word “inspiration”?

botanical display table

botanical display table


Lilium 'Lankon': must add to my must have list

Lilium ‘Lankon’: must add to my must have list

Anthyrium 'Ocean's Fury' (Allan's photo)

Anthyrium ‘Ocean’s Fury’ (Allan’s photo)

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty' (Allan's photo)

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ (Allan’s photo)



I never found time to properly browse the books.  I did purchase a new collection of Dulcy Mahar’s columns.dulcy

Bottom row: Mr. Owita's Guide to Gardening is excellent.  It was given to me by Karla of Time Enough Books at the Port of Ilwaco.

Bottom row: Mr. Owita’s Guide to Gardening is excellent. It was given to me by Karla of Time Enough Books at the Port of Ilwaco.

Next, the plant sales rooms where collectors’ nurseries had set of tables of their choicest offerings.  My big question of Maurice Horn at the Joy Creek table was, “What was the name of your adorable dog?” (We had toured his garden earlier that day.)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Roger Gossler, Gossler Farms

Roger Gossler, Gossler Farms

Sean Hogan, Cistus

Sean Hogan, Cistus

Sean Hogan, Cistus (Allan's photo)

Sean Hogan, Cistus (Allan’s photo), using tongs to groom cacti

Dancing Oaks (Allan's photo)

Dancing Oaks (Allan’s photo)

me, filled with longing for ALL the plants (Allan's photo)

me, filled with longing for ALL the plants (Allan’s photo)

Dan Hinkley, Windcliffe

Dan Hinkley, Windcliffe

Talkin' plants with Todd (Allan's photo); or maybe telling him about my watering woes at the Port!

Talkin’ plants with Todd (Allan’s photo); or maybe telling him about my watering woes at the Port!

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I did not buy nearly as many plants here as I wanted.  This plant sale, unlike the one at the Bellevue/Seattle weekend, does not have a holding area, so the plants must be carried to the hotel, or one must send someone to drive up to get them, or….  The logistics were beyond me, so I only bought as many as I could (not so easily) carry for several blocks.


The vendors had ice cubes on the plants because of the heat.

The vendors had ice cubes on the plants because of the heat.

Aspidistra elatior 'Chicory Asahi':  WHY did I not buy this??  And then it was sold out.

Aspidistra elatior ‘Chicory Asahi’: WHY did I not buy this?? And then it was sold out.

a couple of rhododendrons for Steve and John’s enjoyment:



Used to have lots of Crocosmia 'Solfatere'...should have bought one.

Used to have lots of Crocosmia ‘Solfatere’…should have bought one.  I like the brownish leaves.

Variegated Gingko...I bought one four years ago (still small)

Variegated Gingko…I bought ‘Summer Rainbow’ four years ago (still small); it’s still $95.50!


I got me a Pittosporum 'Tasman Ruffles', which I've so many times admired in Steve and John's garden.

I got me a Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’, which I’ve so many times admired in Steve and John’s garden.

At 7:15, it was time for the first seminar of the weekend.

the auditorium (Allan's photo)

the auditorium (Allan’s photo)

Before the lecture, as would happen with each segment of lectures over the weekend, names were drawn for a free raffle.  My name was drawn for the first time in six study weekends! and….I won ten zinc plant tags.  Todd’s name was drawn and he won a cool plant.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Later, Allan won a plant, so all weekend Todd teased me that we needed to get a photo of the three of us with our great prizes.  (Another coveted raffle prize given to a couple of lucky pups was a $100 gift certificate from Blooming Junction nursery, and in one case a plant which Dan Hinkley told the recipient was one of only two in production, the other of which he himself owned!)

I can’t recall who introduced the lecture, but she referred to this article from the Guardian, about natural words like “catkins” and “acorn” being replaced in a children’s dictionary by “blog” and “voicemail” and “chatroom”.

She said 491 people had signed on for the weekend.

The keynote speaker was Dan Hinkley, who is my ultimate garden idol, and about whom I hear all good things about his kindness as a person.

A Little Bit of Heaven lecture by Dan Hinkley

with Sam Decker and Nancy Davidson Short

His theme: “People who have influenced me and people who we as gardeners influence.”

Dan Hinkley (Allan's photo)

Dan Hinkley (Allan’s photo)

He has gone so far beyond slide show presentations.  On his mac, he had created an hour long montage of short films and interviews and garden tours interspersed with still photos.  He opened by saying that when he left his home in Indianola, Washington this morning to drive down, his marriage to his longtime partner, Robert, would not have been legal in all states had he driven east across the country.  By the time he got to Portland, it was legal across the whole USA. The audience erupted in applause and cheers and I got all joyfully teary eyed again.

We all laughed uproariously when he showed a slide of the Michigan Bulb Company ad from the early 60s showing bushel basket size mums.  As a child, he ordered those mum and said that he thought (after receiving an envelope of tiny plant starts instead of the bushel basket sized plants he had envisioned being delivered by a truck), “I could do this as a living someday, grow really small expensive plants and somebody out there would buy them!”


He showed films of plant collecting in China, and of Nancy Davidson Short, the now 102 year old former editor of Sunset magazine, whose warm and witty comments about gardening, and life, and death (which she “doesn’t worry about; it’s going to be OK”) were so inspirational.  His other interviewees were his own father, and a young man named Sam, who at age 11 is a knowledgeable plantsman who is in the enviably wonderful position of having Dan as his mentor.

Sam his own self

Sam his own self

Sam was in attendance, with his dad, and after the lecture Dan brought him to the stage and the whole audience stood in applause.  As has always happened when I have heard Dan give a lecture that has touched upon personal matters, it had filled me with joy and poignancy and brought some tears.

Takeaways from my lecture notes:

One of the few advantages of getting old is the opportunity to look back and connect the dots even though some places we have visited are dark.

Nancy Davidson Short said “My grandmother was a terrific gardener.  I have a rose that came from my grandmother.”  (So do I, from mine, that is; a “sweet heart rose”, probably Cecile Brunner.)

Dan showed a slide of Great Dixter’s Christopher Lloyd planting a tree at Dan and Robert’s Windcliffe garden.

On the way back to the hotel, we walked by a line of enchanting food carts, now closed for the evening.  I never did take the opportunity to eat at one because I needed to keep my digestion completely unruffled for garden touring.

food carts

food carts


almost to the hotel: sedums in the light rail tracks (Allan's photo)

almost to the hotel: sedums in the light rail tracks (Allan’s photo)

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Before garden touring, we had three delightful and informative lectures to attend.  We were up at 7:30 and out the hotel door by 8:15, after the tasty hotel breakfast bouquet, and hustled like mad up the slight hill to the event.  We got there just at starting time, and I was sure we would be in the back row.  Our lovely friend and early riser Todd had saved us seats at the front!

Sam, in the audience with a plant purchase

Sam, in the audience with a plant purchase


Allan won his plant during the refreshment break,

Allan won this plant during the refreshment break,

I am going to swipe it for a sunny spot.

I am going to swipe it for a sunny spot.

Lucy raffling off plants.

Lucy raffling off plants.

Lucy Hardiman

Lucy Hardiman

the Saturday morning lectures:

You can read more about each speaker here.

Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainier

my notes:

designing plant communities…

plant communities to evoke nature…

public gardens often made with no plan to maintain them (!!) …maybe I said that

painting by Albrecht Dürer: Great Piece of Turf


about weeds….We can’t stop this…The great exuberance of plants.

He showed a slide of a library planting mulched twice a year, maintained by Master Gardeners and lots of space between plants while weeds thrive.

Wild plants are social, not individual.  He spoke of plants, not mulch, covering the ground.  OH yes, thought I, thinking of jobs I had quit because clients did not want to the plants to touch.

Regarding native plants, he said that “imbedded in the argument for natives is the ideology of NO” (no peonies, no roses, etc).  So true!   …How to get natives beyond preaching to the choir.

“The best examples of north American native plants are in Europe.”

Relate plants to place, create a palette from similar habitats.

Book recommendations: Perennials and Their Garden Habitats by Hansen and Stahl and The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden by Roy Diblik

The SilberSomer (silver summer) perennial mix by Piet Oudolf

To relate plants to plants: vertically layer, compatible species, don’t have plantings missing the ground layer. [Yes! Why oh why do even beloved clients insist on seeing soil in between the plants!]  He and other speakers liked sweet woodruff as a ground cover.  I may have to stop being anti-sweet woodruff.

Wild plantings in orderly frames can make people more comfortable.

He spoke of satellite views of the world that show dark unlit spaces that people might think are still wild, but instead they are vast areas of fuel production land, and food production land, not wilderness.

Thomas Rainier’s blog

Thomas Rainier’s book: Planting in a Post-Wild World.  I intend to purchase it post-haste.


Old Dog New Tricks by Maurice Horn

Maurice spoke of his experience moving to Sauvie Island home and garden that he shares with his husband, George.

my notes:

Joy Creek Nursery founded in ’92, overlooks Joy Creek Canyon

He used to live on a city lot on Portland, now on Sauvie island, “the size of Manhatten but mostly wildlife preserve.”

I’ve gone back and added to the post about touring their garden these insights that he shared with us:

The original garden design called for a belvedere.  (I had to google that.)

The windows go from knee height to over (most) human’s heights.

The house is all windows except for a central bathroom.

He realized that the garden is a mandala.  The garden has Buddhist iconography because George is a Buddhist. The bolsters of shrubs are earth, the yellow and red flowers are fire, Hebe ‘Quicksilver’ is water.

Clematis integrifolia and viorna resist the root nibbling the moles that eat other clematis roots.

The window views remind him of Japanese woodblock prints that were in his childhood home.

Maurice says he is a populist gardener who wants to create gardens anyone can do (I probably don’t have that quite right).

He describes his garden as “an old man’s garden who feels like a child in his heart.”

He read part of a poem called The Current by Wendell Berry

Having once put his hand into the ground,
seeding there what he hopes will outlast him,
a man has made a marriage with his place,
and if he leaves it his flesh will ache to go back.
His hand has given up its birdlife in the air.

He misted up when he said “I love my partner and my home” and then the whole audience misted up.

He and George met dancing.  He showed a photo of Garrya elliptica in bloom and said “I want to dance like that.”

He showed a slide of a burnt tray of roasted vegetables and told the story how he and George stepped outside, got lost in gardening and came back into the house to a cloud of black smoke.  “What I wish for all of us is that we can get lost in the garden like that.”

He played a song called “Let’s Think About Living, Let’s Think About Life.”

I get choked up just reading my notes about his lecture.  Lucy was all misty when she got up to introduce the next lecturer, Mike Kintgen, of whom she said that Panayoti Kelaidis called “the greatest horticulturalist I know.”

Garden Gems from the World Dry Regions by Mike Kintgen

My notes:

Kintgen works at the Denver Botanic Gardens and his specialty is the alpine garden.  When he spoke of the snowstorm in May and the hailstorm in June this year, I had already heard about this awful weather in The Miserable Gardener blog.  He said that the DBG sits on a former cemetery and that the temperature can go from 64 degrees F to 0 on one day.

He’s been a member of the North American Rock Garden Society since he was 12.  Plants in “cushions and buns”, he said, are a way of adapting to the cold.

Persian rugs were inspired by the plants of the steppes.

Plants he inspired me to seek out:  More erigerons and penstemons, arctosis, ursinia, erodium, zauchnerias, Euphorbia rigida, Sesili gummifera (moon carrot).  Each lecturerer who spoke of many plants provided a plant list to refer to later.

Sesili gummifera (Moon Carrot) as seen at McMenamin's Kennedy School garden in 2014.

Sesili gummifera (moon carrot) as seen at McMenamin’s Kennedy School garden in 2014.

We had a bit of time before garden touring to go to the plant sale again, where I bought a few more plants to schlep to the hotel.

other joyous attendees

other joyous attendees

Sam shopping (Allan's photo)

Sam shopping (Allan’s photo)

Allan thanked this nursery owner for his raffle plant donation (the one Allan got)

Allan thanked this nursery owner for his raffle plant donation (the one Allan got)

I bought three plants from his booth.

I bought three plants from his booth.



We’d ordered the pre-packed lunch from the event, to save time; as we walked back to the hotel to join Todd for the afternoon of garden touring, I realized that we would have had time to eat at the darling food carts.

like a little village in the city

like a little village in the city



I did not realize til now, looking at the photo below, that I had captured Todd having his lunch of a tasty shawarma.


on the street across from the hotel

on the street across from the hotel

Next: touring Lucy Hardiman’s garden

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While the beehives near the parking area for garden six were interesting, I was more pleased to see a sanican.  A note that I made on my Facebook album of this tour:  One restroom option is NOT enough for ten gardens.  This says to me there might have been ten, rather than seven, gardens on this tour, and that perhaps we found three completely forgettable.


A pile of materials (ingredients!) at the entry to garden seven managed to look artful.

From the foot of a formal stairway, Sheila and  other garden tourists admired a meadow’s vertical accents.

punctuated meadow

stairs detail

This garden was in the process of design by Maurice Horn from Joy Creek Nursery.  My companions and I felt very satisfied with the fifth and sixth gardens, but later at Joy Creek I mentioned to Maurice that we had overheard grumblings about most of the gardens not having enough cool and collectible plants.  I found it commendable for a plant purveyor to say, as he did, that this garden was about structure, not plant collecting.  I gathered he had perhaps taken a couple of complainers gently to task about this, and was glad I had phrased my remark in such a way that I sounded (correctly) like an admirer, not a critic, of garden number six.

further up the steps

and further…

Wide open spaces set off spaces crammed with plants.

I remember once attending a lecture by Ann Lovejoy back when she told a story about gardener Kevin Nicolay.  He visited one of her early gardens and made a pithy comment about how a garden is better if there is at least a bit of room to step back and admire it.

Ah…a delicious cold beverage and cookies were on offer.  The day had turned quite warm for a coastal dweller.

thank you

Past the formal stairs and patio, a casual lawn offered a view of the meadow with its verticality…

meadow view

…a verticality that was strongly featured in the formal beds just behind us.


(I now feel an urgent need to buy more Ilex ‘Sky Pencil”.)

We learned that the plan was to change the look of this area;  either move toward or away from the look (above, lower left) of individual plants inside the boxwood squares.  Oops, I can’t recall which it was to be….or perhaps the boxwood was to be done away with altogether.


We moved on into an area of scree plantings and then down a wide, formal steps stairway.

stairs down to meadow

Picky though I might be, I have no objection to a garden where part of the design is brand new; I’m just frustrated when most of it is brand nw.

As in garden five, mown paths through meadows enticed the garden tourists to explore….past a billowing garden bed and off into the prairie.

returning from a grassland adventure

Above, you can see in the background the island bed photographed below:

garden bed by an outbuilding

But as usual, we had no time to sit and had to hustle on to have time for a plant buying frenzy at Joy Creek Nursery.  Only two and half weeks remained till both Laurie’s and my mother’s gardens would be on the Peninsula garden tour, and each still had spaces that could be filled with especially choice plants.  My mother’s garden in particular was all about plants.  She did not like boxwoods or any other things of foliar garden structure, so her tour day would be ALL about the colour and flowers.

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