Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A visit to Treephoria

Recently team plant lust took a field trip and visited Treephoria, a boutique nursery in Oregon that specializes in nurturing unusual and hard to find trees into landscape ready specimens. They also grow several tree forms of plants traditionally grown as shrubs; all lovingly cared for in this “expansive tree garden that jumped its boundaries and spilled into the adjacent hayfield.” Here is Forsythia grown as a tree. And Ceanothus… The day we visited began calm and cloudy but dry. We stopped at several small “mom and pop” nurseries in route and the weather kept getting worse. By the time we pulled up at Treephoria our arrival was powerfully announced by a wicked wind blowing the door of Nancy’s (Treephoria owner and all around inspiring lady) home wide open. Nothing like making an entrance! There was talk of sitting by the fire and sipping wine, but first there was a garden to see! We braved the elements for an amazing show. Now I hope you all remember that I have many times claimed to be tree stupid. I love them, they are beautiful, the world needs more of them but I don’t always know which one I’m looking at. I hope I’m doing Nancy’s wonderful collection justice and please point out any misinformation that I might be guilty of. First we were taken down an amazing row of Hamamelis, one bloom after another each more beautiful than the one before. Why do I not have a Witch Hazel? Not a single one. And I call myself a gardener, sad. This was a fun one…Carolina Allspice. I’ve seen (and smelled) the blooms, I’d never seen the pods. This magnificent color belongs to Acer conspicuum ‘Phoenix’… Wintersweet Tree… More photos from around the nursery… And of course Nancy saved the best most incredible tree for last…I give you Kalopanax septemlobus, or Castor Aralia: A hardy spiky tree! You are probably wondering if the danger garden has any Castor Aralia? Not yet. Heading back to the house and that wine by the fire this blue tree caught my eye…(to be planted with a vine come spring). Along with a bed of very healthy Euphorbia. And what I wouldn’t give for these cement cylinders! Of course wonderful garden ornament like this can’t be bought, it has to be found. If you live nearby and are looking for the perfect tree for your garden look no further, I’m sure Nancy and Treephoria have just the tree you’re looking for. Thanks for a fabulous afternoon Nancy!


  1. You captured some beautiful, intimate portraits of flowers and fruit there. And the blustery weather only improved those Aralia portraits. Perfect!

  2. another spikey tree you might like is sichuan pepper. like so:

    in addition to those crazy bumps (old thorns), if you have a male and female they produce peppercorns with a crazy hot/cold spice that is impossible to describe.

    the leaves are also fragrant and edible when young.

  3. Awesome Loree ! I'll google this place to see if it's on my I-5 route ..

  4. If ever a tree was made expressly for your garden, that Aralia is it! What is the one just before that...with the seed pods (I think they are seed pods)? I must admit...I'm not great at tree identification...I can tell an oak from a maple...isn't that enough?

  5. You've been so busy lately! All those trees look so great. I really wanted to pick up a witch hazel and 7 Dees the other week but they were pretty spendy! I better do my winter flowering tree shopping in the spring or fall instead of now.

  6. What a fun place, Loree. What did you think of the scent of the Winter Sweet or Chimonathus? I love it but it might be too cloying for some.

    The Aralia is awesome. Methinks you must get a plant for the DG.

  7. kate, it was such a dramatic back-drop that's for sure...I hope to go back for a second visit when things start to leaf out.

    eeldip, I like it! I can't find any info on whether or not it's hardy here in Portland?

    ks, are you driving up for the NWFG Show? Be careful!!!

    scott, you and me both! I can't remember what the one before it is...maybe someone will see the photo and id it for us?

    Ryan, maybe that's whats kept me from taking the plunge ($), although space has something to do with it too.

    Grace, I loved the scent! It was wonderful.

  8. What is up with the blue tree? Is it really blue, or painted blue?

  9. I am just getting into trees (also with minimal knowledge)so this place looks like a must-visit. The Castor Aralia looks like the natural beginning of a Danger Garden tree collection.

  10. Loree, thanks so much for writing so kindly about Treephoria! That stormy sky and chill wind made for a dramatic background for the trees, and made the fire (and the wine) ever so much warmer. Nice work on identifying trees - you know more about trees than I do about spiky plants.
    A bit of ID - first photo is of Japanese Clethra (C. barbinervis). Usually a shrub - makes a lovely tree. Scott - brown seed pod belongs to Stewartia serrata - a little-known cousin of S. pseudocamellia.
    Ryan - witch hazel prices at Treephoria make it worth the drive to the country.
    Fans of Loree - you're right about Kalopanax being the perfect tree for Danger Garden. That thing could poke your eye out!

  11. Denise + Nick, the blue tree really is blue. It is a formerly lovely Weeping White Pine. It had such a lovely shape that rather than cut it up for firewood, we painted it in September with METRO's finest recycled latex house paint, and are recycling it into a trellis. Can't wait to see how the blue flowers of morning glory vine will look on it this summer. Planted a passion vine on it this fall, but don't think it made it through the freeze. Trying to choose the best clematis for it, but so many choices . . .


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