Monday, May 18, 2015

Rare Plant Research Open House, a decade of fun!

Last weekend was the annual Open House at Rare Plant Research, a nursery in Oregon City, OR. It wasn't until emailing with a friend that I realized this was my 10th year to attend. 10 years of being in the same place, on the same weekend. What are the chances?! I have so many fond memories of this place, both people and plants. This year I wasn't able to be there when they opened at 11 am, I didn't show up until after 2 pm. It was a welcome change. The crowd had thinned a bit. And for the first time in years I was on my own. You've got a lot more time to think, and eavesdrop, when you're solo.

Twisty cactus!

Dyckia marnier lapostollei, I told myself no more Dyckia...they aren't terribly happy in a container.

Three happy Agave attenuata growing from chopped trunk. If I were brave I'd try this on a couple of mine that have started to trunk and look a little despondent.

Aloe dorotheae. You know I wanted one, they're so beautiful! But since I already have three I managed to not pick one up.

Echeveria 'Afterglow'

This one was hard to walk away from. HUGE (5 gallon) Dasylirion wheeleri for $75. Wanted...so much...

These were labeled as Agave utahensis, which they're not. I hope nobody unsuspecting bought one thinking that's what they were getting.

These are the real Agave utahensis v. kaibabensis.

Lots of fabulus Cannas...

I included this image so that I would remember to tell you about a couple that were very intently studying it. Trying to figure out which one of the plants was actually forming the trunk. "He" was sure that he'd figured it out, and was showing "her" which one it was. What could I possibly have achieved by pointing out it was "none of them"...

Break that pot! Set them free!

These pots (there were several available for sale) reminded me of the burlap balls around the roots of plants sold "balled and burlapped"...

Oh those Furcraea...I love them so! There were others available for sale (these were not). I looked, I longed. I just said no.

Bromeliad heaven.

I also wanted one of these Dudleya brittonii, they were huge! ($19.50) But I've learned that my Dudleya tend to go dormant in mid-summer, just when whatever container they're in would be predominantly featured on the patio. I passed them by...

This called out to me too, Aloe striata. Since I've already loved and lost I chose to just leave it behind as well.

Rare Plant Research is a wholesale and mail-order nursery, not normally open to the public. Signage is put up in advance of the open house but not always reliable. These Agave 'octopus' are actually Agave bracteosa, the squid agave. There is another agave who's common name is octopus, A. vilmoriniana. Still, people were scooping them up, which was nice to see. It's one of the reliably hardy Agaves around these parts.

There's something irresistible about plants seen en masse.

Acacia dealbata

Spikes!

I didn't get a name on this one.

There are many Eucomis at RPR, both grown on in the ground and potted up for sale. These were in the ground.

These were ready to go home with you.

I was fascinated with this bloom long before I saw it's name, Watsonia.

I was just lusting after a Watsonia in a post on A Growing Obsession. The foliage on her plant is much more interesting though.

Oh you sexy Aeoniums!

Should have got this one.

I stood there for awhile admiring the Aralia spinosa (as I've done several other years). Where to put a plant that grows to 15ft tall with leaves 6ft long? (and when have I ever let concern that stop me?)

Melocactus acipinosus, *swoon*

I'd finally started to gather plants (having made at least one pass through all the greenhouses) and went to get a cardboard flat. That's when I noticed these planters...want!!!

How amazing.

Plants selected and stowed away (more on my haul at the end) it was time to walk up to the house, which now goes by the name Villa Catalana. When I first ventured here back in 2006 I believe the house was still under construction. I could be wrong, those were pre-blog days. The first documented images I have are from 2009. These shells got me wondering what Burl (owner, laborer, visionary, dreamer behind Rare Plant Research and Villa Catalana) had in mind when he gathered them. This is a man who is constantly creating.

Walking up the drive one can't help but admire the Golden Chain Tree.

And these Kniphofia grown so well they look like Aloes.

I believe the wall and spiky plantings are new this year.

The planted up rock outcropping is not new, but still makes one stop and stare.

The house...

A new cover over the drive. I anticipate it will be covered with vines next year.

The home's atrium is now a tasting room for their Villa Catalana Cellars wine label. As you can see lots of people were willing to wait in line for a taste, or perhaps a bottle.

Back outside I couldn't help but admire what Burl has created. In past years I've been a little skeptical, but darn it he's gone and built a paradise here, and invites everyone to enjoy it.

Schefflera delavayi, with jagged edges.

Beautiful, right?

Looking back down towards the greenhouses and the masses attending the day's events.

There were more plants worked into the rock crevices than I've ever noticed before.

Not a great photo, my camera wanted to focus on the people, but this beautiful Feijoa sellowiana is a specimen. Twisty and old.

And covered with buds!

Just a few more glances at the house.

Before I go down to pay for my plants and be on my way.

Look at that sky!

Remarkable...

My haul! On the far left a couple of bromeliads, bound for my chartreuse Circle Pot. A Melocactus acipinosus, because how could I say no to that orange cap? An Agave utahensis (I'm going to try it in the ground) and a Dyckia marnier lapostollei, just because it's so beautiful. And with that, I start dreaming of next year...

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

37 comments:

  1. I came away $92 poorer myself. Got a wonderful Echeveria 'Pappy red', a young Aloe Polyphylla and some other treasures. This was my second annual visit with friends and hubby and we'll be back next year. Very fun!
    Coulda been a little warmer though.

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    1. I briefly thought the same thing, about the temperature, but then I remembered how miserable it's been in the past inside those greenhouses on a hot day. Glad you had a fun day!

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  2. I thought about going to this yesterday, but it looked a lot more like your type of plants than mine. Looks impressive, though! Maybe next year.

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    1. You should go, even if they're not your type of plants it's a fun outing. And you know, everyone needs at least one Agave.

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  3. The stone house is wonderful, everything looks so old world. Lot's of great plants. I like your haul. Do you know name of the burgundy bromeliads. The color is amazing. The dykia is fab. I have been trying a few dykia's and bromeliads in the ground and so far so good. Not sure they will survive this rainy May!

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    1. No sadly I don't...they weren't signed. Sorry you're getting such an onslaught of rain, hopefully nothing will drown.

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  4. I was dying over that Dasylirion--but it just seemed to hard to wrangle. Wish I'd gotten an Aloe dorotheae, or three--but I didn't have you along side to urge me on. I was temapted. Maybe next year.

    Nice coverage, as usual.

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    1. I bet one of the guys out there would have been happy to help you get it in the car...and oh how wonderful it would look in your front bed by the stone wall! Maybe you'll need to make a trip out there again soon...

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  5. Wow. The plants in the nursery were fantastic already, but then you showed us the house. It's a destination it inself! Only in Oregon...

    BTW, the agave incorrectly labeled as utahensis looks like A. montana to me.

    And I find that Dyckia marnier-lapostellei does very well in a container so yours should be just fine. I'd pick a relatively tall but narrow pot so the leaves can overhang the sides.

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    1. Ya that's what I thought they were too, both great agaves! Funny you say "tall but narrow pot"...I went with short and wide. I read somewhere that Dyckia roots do better with room to roam horizontally rather than vertically. Who knows if that's true or not...

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  6. Wonderful, but since lots of those great plants aren't hardy for me, I can't get *too* excited. I especially love the crevice planting photos -- so great!

    BTW, seeing those pots of Opuntia crowded together reminds me that I should not complain when the pot of (insert name of any soft-leaved plant here) that I want is jammed in the middle or the back. Ouch!

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    1. Indeed...the Agave utahensis I wanted was to far in to ready from any side. I ended up going with my second favorite which I could (just barely) grab by going outside of the greenhouse and reaching back in. I had a couple of other shoppers laughing at me.

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  7. Your solo act yielded stellar results. Interesting that even here some mislabeling goes on. Makes one more tolerant of it in lesser venues. Those barrel cacti look like they have their own escape plan if no one steps up (note the crack in the pot). I have a pot that is roundish (nowhere near as round as that one) and getting a plant out of it is no picnic. Those rusty planters!

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    1. I've learned to be tolerant here since it's all a hectic rush to get open for the masses. I can't imagine how stressful it is to open your usually wholesale nursery to the general public. And yes, I thought the same thing. The barrel cactus will be free, one way or the other!

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  8. Oh, I love the color on that watsonia. Do you know which one it is? I'd love to find more if they ship. And of course you had to get that melo!

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    1. They do ship, but all the sign said was Watsonia sp., sorry!

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  9. Oh no, this is to much for me!! beautiful!! I want all those plants! and the garden is beautiful too. I couldn´t resist Dyckia marnier lapostollei if I saw it. And Aloe dorotheae, and Watsonia, etc...

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    1. It would be fun to visit here with you. Come back to Portland next May!

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  10. Well, I didn't make it this year after all, but thanks to you, I now know the name of my Dyckia! When I bought it two years ago at RPR, they weren't marked with the species, but I see it is very likely to be Dyckia marnier lapostollei. Interested to hear yours aren't very happy in containers - is it because they grow so fast and they're the dickens to repot?

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    1. I wish I knew. Maybe that's it? Maybe I don't repot them fast enough? They just never look as good after their first year. Do you repot yours annually?

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  11. Want a watsonia...want a watsonia....want to go to this, I have never been! I will go, though, hopefully next year. Always so much going on this time of year, it's hard to get to them all! Thanks for the tour, though....love it!

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    1. I misspoke when I called them just a wholesale nursery, they also do mail order! Maybe you should have that Watsonia!

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  12. Bet someone will go back and get one of those awesome Dasylirion wheeleri. They're so sexy! Coming the cool Puget Sound area, I loved the cooler temperature this year! How relaxing to stroll through the greenhouses without getting over heated. How cool that you've seen this place evolve over the last 10 years! Great haul!

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    1. Someone named Patricia? When I already have 6 of them (none that big though) I don't think I need another!

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  13. Thanks for sharing your visit to RPR this year! Sorry I missed it, but I'm having fun down here in SoCal. You got some cool plants.

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    1. Glad to hear you're there and having fun, I can't wait to read all about your adventures!

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  14. How would you have gotten that Dasylirion in your car?! The Melocactus (which I've never seen nor heard of before this) is wonderful. And the grounds are breathtaking - they'd be worth the trip even without the sale.

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    1. Oh Kris, where there is a will there is always a way! I would have wrapped the leaves up and laid it on it's side. Perhaps you can make your PNW trip next May?

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  15. Wow. I want to go to that. Only 5 plants you bought? Incredible restraint!

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    1. But it was my 10th year of buying...

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  16. Maybe I can help you out here. The small-ish burgundy bromeliad is probably a Neoregelia punctatissima 'rubra'. They have been kept in pretty intense sunlight, so their color is out of this world! I picked one up too, and almost got a few more of them! I also had to get one of the Furcurea, because it had 3 pups and a substantial Clivia all in the same pot... I also picked up way too many bananas. The Watsonia that he grows is Watsonia gladioloides, RPR is where I got mine a few years ago. The 1 gallon pots he had for sale this year may have been a different species though, because mine isn't quite as orange but is almost fuchsia.

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    1. Thank you! So the 'rubra' Bromeliad is doing to fade? That's too bad. I hoped it would stay that dramatic color. I hope you'll report on how your Furcurea does, and what you do with it over the winter. I've added your blog to my blog reader, I thought I had before but I guess it didn't take.

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    2. You're welcome! As long as you keep 'rubra' in the sun, it should keep the intense color. I'm not really sure what I'll be doing with the Furcurea over the winter... but I'll definitely be writing it down so others won't make the mistakes that I inevitably will.

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  17. With so many goodies they have you have been very restrained :) great garden and plant shopping too, perfect combo!

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    1. And there was wine and food too!

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  18. Looks like a very cool place to visit! That might be Aralia elata rather than A. spinosa--the two species are very similar, especially as seedlings--but either way, the spines are vicious. They tend to break off beneath the skin and I developed a nasty skin infection after bumping my arm a bit too hard against a trunk in my garden. But you are Danger Garden after all, so I'm guessing that isn't enough to stop you! But maybe the aggressively suckering habit will...

    BTW looks like my Schefflera delavayi didn't make it.

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  19. Thanks so much for writing about RPR. I have been curious. I have never been there and it's been a long time since I have looked at their website but I just had a peek. WOW, between your photos (more interesting) and theirs (also nice), I was totally blown away. I had no idea what an incredible place it has become. Clearly Burl is an owner with some serious cash and a love of plants AND good taste, Not always the case :P I'm going to cut off the head of my tall trunked Agave attenuata tomorrow. That photo was inspiring!!!! I'm assuming I can root the mom. Oh to be in just a little bit warmer zone without the winter wet factor. Awesome blog as usual!

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