Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Visiting the O’Byrnes nursery and garden…
If you’re a hellebore lover the names Ernie & Marietta O'Byrne are legendary. They’re the plant breeders behind most of the spectacular hellebores now on the market. Their nursery just outside Eugene, Oregon, Northwest Garden Nursery, is only open to the public two weekends a year. I visited on March 8th.
While I do appreciate the beauty inherent in a spring blooming hellebore I am by no means a fanatic. I would have never considered venturing 2+ hours south just for the chance to purchase from the source. No I was the odd woman out who just came down to look at the garden, and not even the hellebores! My desire to visit was based on an article I read in the most recent Pacific Horticulture Magazine "Success with Dry Plants in Wet Conditions," written by Mary-Kate Mackey. Luckily since Pacific Horticulture puts their content online you can read it too (and check out pictures of the garden in high summer). As it turns out the object of my interest was the last part of the garden I visited and I really enjoyed the journey.
I started my tour by checking out the plants for sale, and even though I arrived just a couple of hours after opening on Saturday it was almost empty! This was the second weekend of their open garden and they were hit hard the first weekend.
There were several goregous plants with tags like this in them, their owners off touring the garden and leaving their loot behind.
The people in line to pay had overflowing carts...
And there were several people confused by sights like this, so many plants but not for sale.
Time to tour!
This is a very large garden and there was much to see...
This is just a tiny portion of the podophyllum pushing out of the ground.
There were dozens of trillium in bloom...
And even a schefflera! (with a Cistus label tucked in the ground) I should mention Marietta said their garden got down to -10F in December. She named a long list of plants that had died and been hauled away, while this one isn't looking it's best it looks pretty darn amazing considering.
And yes, there were plenty of these...
Crossing back over the main drive let's take a look at the area around the house.
That was a tall screen of bamboo separating the house and front garden from a busy road. Most of it was brown. What a job to clean that up, I hope they don't loose their screen entirely.
That bamboo looked a little better.
I feel a little like I'm sharing to much information but that set of french doors opened off what appeared to be their bedroom, what a lovely place to sleep on a summers night!
Perhaps Podophyllum 'Kaleidoscope'? (thanks Adam)
For a moment I couldn't tell what that mop headed business at the end of the path was, but I was definitely curious.
This one really confused me, that foliage was perfection. I could only think it was some sort of euphorbia but it's actually Fritillaria persica.
Jeffrey Bale has been here...
Little baby hellebores...
And finally, we have arrived at our destination!
That foliage again!
Things are looking pretty darn good for early March coming off a disastrously cold winter.
However there were several manzanita that didn't make it.
This pruning job was responsible for quite the entertaining conversation I was lucky to overhear. One person was just sure these were pineapples, growing right here in the ground in Oregon! Her friend wasn't so sure. There were several back and forths but finally the pineapple theorist won the argument.
Another fatality, Garrya elliptica.
Another visitor commented this was the largest "hen and chick" he's ever seen.
Finally a glimpse in another green house and a future crop of hellebores...
Oh wait, I bought something! I had no intention, especially when the pickings were so slim. But this beautiful plant was waiting for me, somehow passed up by the others. Jade Tiger...
I love green flowers and the fact the purple splotches are on the top of the petals.
If you are nearby I highly recommend a visit to Northwest Garden Nursery, either arranged in advance (they are not open to the public regular hours) or try to make it to their open garden event next year!
All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.