Thursday, May 19, 2011

It pays to listen to your inner “visit the nursery voice”

I finally broke down and bought IKEA’s tall (2 ft) Huson galvanized steel plant pot, I’d wanted it forever and decided (for now at least) to go with a group of three large containers where the Camellia used to be in front of the house. Since then I’ve been trying to decide what to plant in it.

Ideally it would be a large green and yellow variegated Phormium. Just imagine this foliage up against our soon to be chocolate brown house. Nice. Problem. I wanted to leave the container in place all winter and that meant death to the Phormium. Problem solved when I listened to my inner “visit that nursery” voice last week and paid a visit to Portland Nursery. Meet Yucca recurvifolia 'margarita'… Similar great foliage colors. But this one’s hardy (not just according to the tag but I’ve seen it live through several winters at my nearby Kennedy School). I can’t wait to share pictures of it all planted up and in its new home. Soon. A few other things caught my eye at the nursery that day. This one made me very happy, a display of Tropical Plants that is signed appropriately. In case they miss the sign there are stickers on the tags. How do you feel about the recycled tire containers that seem to be popping up everywhere these days? Fun shape for a hanging container! I must have been in a container mood as these rectangular ones really captured my imagination too. Especially the turquoise ones. This is a Carex! Whodda thought?


  1. YAY! for appropriately tagged plants. Between the soil and the climate, what grows here in NoColorado has some limits... which has not stopped nurseries here from marketing hebes as perennials. When I asked about this, I was airily informed, "Oh, just treat them like annuals." !!!

  2. Kudos to Portland Nursery for the eye-catching tags. They may lose a few dollars for doing this but I appreciate their integrity. Did you buy the Carex? Good eye for spotting the Yucca. Always, always listen to your inner nursery voice. :)

  3. My inner 'visit the nursery voice' is on continuous loop.

    Heres to the fabulous Portland Nursery for truth-in-selling.

  4. All our moaning over Phormiums reminds me of when they had to stop using lead in paint and we were sure we would never see vibrant colors again. Your substitute plant is maybe even better than the first choice.
    Not wild about those stand alone tire pots, but the hanging ones are hot, so I guess it's a design problem, not so much the material.

  5. can't wait to see your container all potted up, and I agree about how great those colors will look up against the house. that carex was way cool. leave it to xera to introduce something so neat.

  6. Patricia, well I am the first to admit to treating a lot of things that are actually perennials as annuals (Papyrus, Ensete, Echium) but that's kind of a bad response from a nursery person when they are advertising otherwise!

    Grace, I did not, but I probably should have.

    ks, oh mine too, definitely! But it was saying that nursery specifically on that day. Which was odd.

    ricki, great comparison (lead paint)! Actually the hanging ones were plastic. Which kind of ruined them for me. I am not the biggest fan of plastic.

    Ryan, the brown paint is going on right now as I type. I've been out there freaking out about how fabulous it makes the plants look. SO EXCITING!

  7. Nice find! I love that they have those labels...I always wonder when I see people buying things from the "perennials" section that are obviously not hardy...good for PDX Nursery, makes me like them even more.

  8. It's not fair... I think you have a lot more very unique tropical plants available at the nurseries than us here ;-( Visiting another nursery this weekend? Happy gardening!

  9. Good old cold-hardy yuccas! I'm definitely coming around to them (where I always used to choose agaves) after the last two hard winters.

    Haven't seen those tire planters here in Austin yet. I'm not sure I like them, but it's better than throwing them in the landfill, I guess.

    Maybe. :-)

  10. I have that yucca, and it's very good. Better than a Phormium, as another poster said. On thing: the pointy tips are surprisingly sharp despite the lack of a terminal spine like an Agave leaf.

    We have that inappropriate plant problem here too: I had to roll my eyes at the Lowe's ad we got in the mail the other day: hostas, dogwoods, and astilbe recommended for shade beds, none of which will grow here...

  11. Great find, that Margarita!

    I like the rectangular planters, too, but I'm not sold on the tire containers except the hanging one. That IS a fun shape.

  12. I have a Yucca recurvifolia 'Margaritaville' (also sold as 'Hinvargas') and love it. There are several huge ones at the University of California Davis Arboretum:


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