Wednesday, August 11, 2010

High-summer visit to Cistus Nursery

Do you ever have a day when you just have to get out and drive? You don’t have a destination in mind you just need to drive.I think that’s how I process things. When my mind is overwhelmed and ideas keep crashing into each other I drive and I work through it all. I usually end up with a destination even if I don’t start out with one. This time it was Cistus Nursery. I guess I also felt like taking pictures, because I took a lot of them (this shot is looking back down the entrance drive towards the main street).
If you would like to join me on this nursery visit there are a few things you need to do to get in the right spirit. First of all it needs to be about 83 degrees wherever you are, sunny and warm but not hot, and just a little muggy. Next you need to put on your Cesaria Evora CD and play it at high volume. She is fabulous, they often play her music at the nursery, and were when I arrived. They are set up with outdoor speakers that allow you to enjoy the music while you roam around the nursery and display garden. It’s not obnoxious it’s wonderful. Third…crush some Eucalyptus. The smell in the air needs to be intoxicating. Resinous, fresh and yet strong and just a little overpowering…all at the same time. Done? Okay….let’s get started.
We’ve been strolling around the display garden thus far. I believe this is “Matilija Poppy” or Romneya coulteri or “Fried-Egg Flowers”...
And the foliage.
The dark plant in the forground is actually rusted metal.
I feel kind of personally responsible for this sign. Had I not wandered out of bounds a few times…
And now my favorite nursery entrance ever
Spiky beauty is everywhere!
Well done Agave container… Agave Americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’ family...
Agave bracteosa 'Montery Frost'...
Mangave 'Bloodspot.'
Yucca angustissima 'South Side' – a Cistus introduction…diminutive relative of Y. elata. Frost hardy to zone 5!
Dioon edule – widespread genus of cycad from Mexico producing up to 4 ft fans of blue grey leaves.
Begonia luxurians – Palm Leaf Begonia. From Brazil, zone 10.
Polka dot Begonia (my name….I don’t believe that is what was on the tag).
Dioon spinulosum – Basically this is your best bet if you’re trying to grow a cycad outdoors in the Pacific Northwest (so says the tag).
Variegated Cast Iron plant, Aspidistra elatior 'Variegata.'
Mahonia eurybracteata, zone 7.
Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’ zone 8.
Restio (I didn't get the name).
Manihot grahamii - hardy form (Hardy Tapioca). South American native…root hardy in upper zone 7. From Tony Avent (Plant Delights Nursery). It's BEAUTIFUL!
Symphytum x uplandicum Variegated Comfrey.
Kniphofia 'Toffee Nosed'… I believe….
Yucca purpurea, yet not so purpurea, maybe due to the shade?
Archtostaphylos x 'Marth Ewan' – a new Manzanita introduced by Xera plants, zone 6.
Ok now we are in the spiky corner…(would you guess this is one of my favorite places?)...
Agave 'Ruth Bancroft' or Shark Skin Agave (from the tag).
Yucca baccata.
Manfreda undulata 'Chocolate Chip'...
Dasylirion texanum.
So there it is. About an hour’s worth or wandering through heaven. And that’s all I did. Wander, smell, snap pictures, caress the foliage and enjoy. Having to decide what treasures to take home would have ruined the experience. Better to leave empty handed and know I can return again to see them all.


  1. I couldn't resist the Begonia luxurians last time I visited... the small pot

  2. That shark skin Agave is fantastic! You know all the cool places to shop!

  3. I can conjure the scent of eucalypt no problem, and put Cesaria Evora on the speakers so got right into the mood for spiky plants. You also took a photo of a favorite plant right before the romneya, the bupleurum. Mahonia 'Soft Caress' is a standout too. So many great plants, so little space...

  4. Oh Loree, You are very lucky to have Cistus so close! I love that place, the people, the dogs, the music, and especially the plants! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It was almost as good as being there! (And way less expensive.)

  5. Oh lordie, you are about 7 days ahead of me with this visit and it looks like I'm in for a budget buster.

  6. I am seriously drooling here! I am going insane sitting in my chair with two ruptured discs when there is so much succulent beauty out there. I am so envious I could Pop! But at least I can enjoy your photos for now!

  7. An hour? It looks as if one could get lost there for days.

  8. Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’ is a pretty great plant. they have smaller sizes in the back for less money, and as far as mahonias go, its a fast grower.

    little upset about last winter, but has totally recovered by now. not great in flower, and mine has yet to set fruit.

  9. Did you buy me the Mangave :) I found one yesterday, but wasn't willing to part with $19.99 for it yet. We're pretty cheap... One of these days we need to take a road trip north. Cistus looks pretty amazing. We still need to go south though.

  10. And there's our Texas sotol at the end! Those grow wild out here, ya know. I love your Cistus and think its succulent section is equal or better than at many of Austin's nurseries, with the exception maybe of The Natural Gardener's. Otherwise Cistus' hot-zone offerings look remarkably like what you'd find at my three fave nurseries in Austin, and if you ever come for a visit I'll take you to them. If I ever make it to Portland I will definitely visit Cistus.

    And I can only dream of 83 degrees right now. I don't think it gets that cool even at night. You're talking mid- to late October weather for us. Sigh.

  11. Linda, glad to hear it! I hope you'll report on its progress. What will you do with it over the winter?

    Laura, Cistus is plant heaven right here in Oregon. I am lucky.

    Denise, have you ever considered taking over a neighbors yard? I know a couple gardeners who have done just that.

    Peter, you're planning a trip right?

    ks, yay! I can't wait to read all about it. You will share your adventure right?

    Candy, well that doesn't sound pleasant. I hope you are on the mend.

    Les, the first time I visited I do believe I was there for about 5 hours. My husband was getting worried I would never leave.

    eeldip, can I take you shopping with me next time? Sounds like you've got great experience.

    Megan, lots of road trips for you! I can't remember the price of the mangave, but I'm sure they weren't giving it away.

    Pam, deal! You know I'll be taking you up on that. And I would love to tour you around a few of our nurseries...Cistus be top of the list. We are heading into what they are saying will be our hottest weekend thus far this summer. 95-ish for 6 days!

  12. Yum! I am sated. Loved your instructions for getting in the mood. Now can you reveal the secret to taking pictures of white flowers?

  13. I agree with you except for the last part: Leaving empty handed.

    Loved seeing my variegated comfrey on display. My plant is doing well even though it's a thirsty bugger. Hopefully once it's established, not so much.

    Gee why do they call it 'Bloodspot'? LOL.

  14. I cried the first time I went to Cistus. I even asked them if I could have my wedding dinner there.


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