Thursday, May 14, 2009

I can’t wait for the weekend!

Okay, I feel like that every week, especially when the weekend forecast is for sun and warm temperatures. But this weekend is special! It’s the Rare Plant Research open nursery. Like Christmas and my birthday it only comes once a year and I get presents! As an added bonus my friend Julie is flying down from Spokane for the weekend and accompanying me to the nursery.
For those of you uninitiated to the wonders of RPR they are a wholesale nursery specializing in “rare” plants. Many are not rare in places like SoCal or Arizona, but rare here in Oregon. They open to the public for one weekend a year, and also sell at the Yard Garden and Patio show in February, and the Hardy Plant Society sale. I am always tempted to purchase from them at those events but why chose from two agaves when you can chose from 20 at the nursery? Heaven.
This will be my 4th year to attend the event. Last year the husband went with me. I was a little apprehensive of his embracing the expenditures I’d want to make. My worries were for not as he fell in love with this crazy hairy Calibanus hookerii (above) and had to have it. It was the most expensive purchase if the day! Burl, the owner, almost didn’t part with it. I think Andrew’s enthusiastic interest and his asking a ton of questions helped convince him that we were worthy. Luckily I’ve managed to keep it alive. In fact it has gotten considerably more hairy over the winter…

RPR is also where I found Mr Big, my Agave americana. Isn’t he just fabulous! I was determined to fit him in my car (I’ve got a VW New Beetle – not exactly known for their hauling capacity), the guy who helped me carry him to the car thought I was crazy. No problem! Although I did send him away so I could figure out how to do it myself, I didn’t want to risk him breaking one of Mr Big’s arms. The above pictures are a bit distorted, my husband stood on one of our stock tanks to get all of Mr Big in the photo, his arm-span is about 5ft. He will make the journey from garage prisoner to summer patio vacationer this weekend. As long as my husbands back is up to the job.

I’m really hoping that we’ll have a better day for shopping this year. Last year was miserably hot. My memory recalls it being near 100, could that be possible? Plus we were inside humid greenhouses…I would have to run outside ever so often to keep from passing out. Here are a few of my other RPR purchases of the past years; I can’t wait to see what I find this year!


  1. I love that his name is Mr.Big...and all that it implies :)

  2. I've got an angel and a devil on my shoulders about this sale. Save money and stay home. No, go get more agaves, it only happens once a year. I think it's going to be a game day decision.
    It was stupid hot last year, and they're saying this Sunday is supposed to be close to 90. Ugh. So then Saturday would be the better way to go. And worst case scenario, one could run back on Sunday if one needed to think something over after Saturday's shopping, but then it'll be hot. I guess am making plans to go. Both days, apparently. I have no restraint.

  3. What are you saying Andrea?!

    Wow...both days Megan? I'm impressed. So what I'm hearing is if I get home and have regrets about something I didn't get I should let you know since you're going back on Sunday?...
    Happy Shopping!

  4. Ohhhh, how tempting. I am supposed to be supervising the return of the wonder-kid who will remove acres of grass so I can plant other things. But I need "other things" to plant, no?

    We'll see how far this argument gets with Mr. MulchMaid.

  5. You should. I also should have said-holy cow 5 feet, that's huge! I should probably mention now that I bought the car I bought for the maximum cargo space possible, so if you find yourself needing more of a hauling vehicle when you get out there, you should email me (, if you have a phone you can email from. Otherwise you can call/text--email me if you think you might need it. My in laws are out in Oregon City, and I live in northeast, so it's on my well traveled path if you need a driver for one or more of your plants.

  6. Jane - in a word, go. If you've never been you really owe it to yourself! And it doesn't have to be an all day thing. You can be back in the afternoon to supervise. And there are a few other nurseries on the same "street" - I think the RPR website talks about them. You might enjoy those as well. Go.

    Megan - okay so I'm not the best judge of distance or size, in fact I suck. I never realized how short I am until I saw my friend Julie and I standing next to each other in a bathroom mirror at a bar. I never realized how tall my husband is until I saw a picture of us together. And I over emphasize the size of spiders. Or so my husband says. I was at work when I posted and realized how odd the perspective in the photo was. So I looked at it relative to the pot and I guesstimated 5 ft. Your reaction sent me out to measure. I didn't do too bad! At it's widest it is 4ft 5", next widest is 4ft 2", I am not embarrassed at my guess!

    Thank you for your offer! I was only joking when I said what I did. But I think I might just email you, to be safe. You never know what might be there and besides the fact that I'll have a passenger (cutting down on cargo space) we are shopping after and not going right home, so just in case I would enjoy an emergency back-up plan. Of course this means I owe 2 glasses of wine on the patio. Or maybe mojitos if you like them? I think my phone has email capabilities but I guess this is where I admit I'm not terribly high-tech. I'd love to ask you a few blog/website questions someday too, as I'm guessing you know it all (or at least a hell of a lot more than me...)

  7. Oh you agave-loving girls are getting giddy, I can tell. Have fun and don't spend so much you have to take out a 2nd mortgage!?!

  8. Giddy!? I have no idea what you are talking about Karen! (let's see now...what is the limit on the gold visa....??? And how much is in savings...)


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