Thursday, May 21, 2015

The passion for horticulture is alive and well in Spokane

As I've mentioned I recently made a trip up to Spokane, Washington. It's home, where I grew up and where my parents and one of my brothers (along with his family) still live. When I moved back to Spokane in 1998 (from Seattle), and eventually bought a home (and thus a garden) I thought I would stay there forever. However, as things go, love intervened and I ended up in Portland, Oregon. It's not so bad really, things have turned out pretty nicely (yes, yes they have!). But sometimes I wonder, what if I'd stayed there? What would I be doing? And more importantly, as it relates to this blog, is there a life for a plant lover in Spokane? Yes. In fact there is.

A fellow by the name of Tyler Beasley had commented a few times here on the blog, then we started emailing. He invited me to visit the greenhouses at Spokane Community College (SCC) the next time I was home, he's the Greenhouse Manager there. Greenhouses at SCC? Who knew?

And a retail shop too! They sell plants and flowers that the SCC students produce in support of the greenhouse, and floral programs at the college.

I was blown away, and Tyler was the perfect host. Equal parts excited tour guide and hands-off "welcomer" who seemed to know that I like to discover things on my own. I really should have tested his patience and asked him to stand for a photo, what was I thinking!?

I should also mention my visit fell the day prior to the Spokane Garden Expo, a huge event located on the SCC campus. Nurseries from all over the Pacific Northwest attend (more on the event tomorrow). The SCC nursery was stocked to the gills in anticipation of the hordes that would descend the next day. I had lucked into shopping paradise. Paeonia, beautiful foliage...

I'd been thinking of adding Symphytum uplandicum 'Axminster Gold' to the garden. At only $6 why not!

Yucca glauca, also only $6...the prices here were incredible.

Asarum maximum 'Ling Ling'...

And lest you think all the plants were small...

There's both an outside sales area and an inside, greenhouse area. I neglected to get the price on the tree fern. Hey, I was flying home! I am pretty adventurous when it comes to cramming plants in my luggage but even I have my limits.

I'm going to stop "talking" and just let you look for a minute...

Dionae muscipula

Dyckia 'Grape Jelly' there on the right ($2).

Agave parryi ($2).

Pennisetum purpureum 'Vertigo' (you don't want to know)....(okay! $3!)

Lots and lots of yummy tomatoes.

Synadenium grantii 'Rubra'

Next I was allowed to venture into the "off-limits" greenhouses. I'm not going to lie, there were a lot of bedding annuals...but also enough unusual plants to keep a nut like me engaged.

Sedum Knight Rider

Solanum aviculare

NOID Datura

And palms!

Lunch? (they look like salad fixens don't they?)

A Choisya...

With a familiar label!

Oh look at that Brugmansia!

(momentarily distracted)


And what an excellent combination.

Now I've walked into the last greenhouse. Of course I feel instantly at home here.

Check out the blooming Agave victoriae-reginae! (in a container!)

Important stuff happens here...

I had been thinking of adding a 'Sun King' to the garden.

Love that fresh, bright, new growth.

Check out that Podocarpus!

It's rather happy to be inside the greenhouse.

Next we walked (we = me and a terribly nice lady who works at the greenhouses, I stupidly have forgotten her name, so sorry!) over to the veggie garden area. It's a little quite there at the moment but I love the layout.

One of the better CMU planter walls that I've seen.

And a terribly creative salad pallet!

Back to the final area to be explored, an outdoor space between two greenhouses.


And (drumroll please), my haul! Clockwise from the top RH corner: Synadenium grantii 'Rubra', a pair of Symphytum uplandicum 'Axminster Gold', a pair of Asarum maximum 'Ling Ling' (one for me, one for my mom), a trio of Dyckia 'Grape Jelly' (two for me, one for my mom), Zaluzianskya capensis (bought on Tyler's recommendation for it's lovely evening scent), Cestrum nocturnum (night blooming Jasmine, Tyler said I had to have this one too - my garden is going to smell so good!), and finally in the middle a Dionae muscipula (gift for the niece and nephews) and a terribly cute trio of tiny Agave parryi in a single container.

I can only imagine the feast of insects this poor thing is being force-fed by nephews

I am thrilled with my plant purchases and had a wonderful time.

Thank you Tyler and everyone at the SCC Greenery!

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