Thursday, May 21, 2015

The passion for horticulture is alive and well in Spokane

As I've mentioned I recently made a trip up to Spokane, Washington. It's home, where I grew up and where my parents and one of my brothers (along with his family) still live. When I moved back to Spokane in 1998 (from Seattle), and eventually bought a home (and thus a garden) I thought I would stay there forever. However, as things go, love intervened and I ended up in Portland, Oregon. It's not so bad really, things have turned out pretty nicely (yes, yes they have!). But sometimes I wonder, what if I'd stayed there? What would I be doing? And more importantly, as it relates to this blog, is there a life for a plant lover in Spokane? Yes. In fact there is.

A fellow by the name of Tyler Beasley had commented a few times here on the blog, then we started emailing. He invited me to visit the greenhouses at Spokane Community College (SCC) the next time I was home, he's the Greenhouse Manager there. Greenhouses at SCC? Who knew?

And a retail shop too! They sell plants and flowers that the SCC students produce in support of the greenhouse, and floral programs at the college.

I was blown away, and Tyler was the perfect host. Equal parts excited tour guide and hands-off "welcomer" who seemed to know that I like to discover things on my own. I really should have tested his patience and asked him to stand for a photo, what was I thinking!?

I should also mention my visit fell the day prior to the Spokane Garden Expo, a huge event located on the SCC campus. Nurseries from all over the Pacific Northwest attend (more on the event tomorrow). The SCC nursery was stocked to the gills in anticipation of the hordes that would descend the next day. I had lucked into shopping paradise. Paeonia, beautiful foliage...

I'd been thinking of adding Symphytum uplandicum 'Axminster Gold' to the garden. At only $6 why not!

Yucca glauca, also only $6...the prices here were incredible.

Asarum maximum 'Ling Ling'...

And lest you think all the plants were small...

There's both an outside sales area and an inside, greenhouse area. I neglected to get the price on the tree fern. Hey, I was flying home! I am pretty adventurous when it comes to cramming plants in my luggage but even I have my limits.

I'm going to stop "talking" and just let you look for a minute...

Dionae muscipula

Dyckia 'Grape Jelly' there on the right ($2).

Agave parryi ($2).

Pennisetum purpureum 'Vertigo' (you don't want to know)....(okay! $3!)

Lots and lots of yummy tomatoes.

Synadenium grantii 'Rubra'

Next I was allowed to venture into the "off-limits" greenhouses. I'm not going to lie, there were a lot of bedding annuals...but also enough unusual plants to keep a nut like me engaged.

Sedum Knight Rider

Solanum aviculare

NOID Datura

And palms!

Lunch? (they look like salad fixens don't they?)

A Choisya...

With a familiar label!

Oh look at that Brugmansia!

(momentarily distracted)

Beautiful!

And what an excellent combination.

Now I've walked into the last greenhouse. Of course I feel instantly at home here.

Check out the blooming Agave victoriae-reginae! (in a container!)

Important stuff happens here...

I had been thinking of adding a 'Sun King' to the garden.

Love that fresh, bright, new growth.

Check out that Podocarpus!

It's rather happy to be inside the greenhouse.

Next we walked (we = me and a terribly nice lady who works at the greenhouses, I stupidly have forgotten her name, so sorry!) over to the veggie garden area. It's a little quite there at the moment but I love the layout.

One of the better CMU planter walls that I've seen.

And a terribly creative salad pallet!

Back to the final area to be explored, an outdoor space between two greenhouses.

Calycanthus

And (drumroll please), my haul! Clockwise from the top RH corner: Synadenium grantii 'Rubra', a pair of Symphytum uplandicum 'Axminster Gold', a pair of Asarum maximum 'Ling Ling' (one for me, one for my mom), a trio of Dyckia 'Grape Jelly' (two for me, one for my mom), Zaluzianskya capensis (bought on Tyler's recommendation for it's lovely evening scent), Cestrum nocturnum (night blooming Jasmine, Tyler said I had to have this one too - my garden is going to smell so good!), and finally in the middle a Dionae muscipula (gift for the niece and nephews) and a terribly cute trio of tiny Agave parryi in a single container.

I can only imagine the feast of insects this poor thing is being force-fed by nephews

I am thrilled with my plant purchases and had a wonderful time.

Thank you Tyler and everyone at the SCC Greenery!

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

38 comments:

  1. Wow, these are wholesale prices. What a great find. I bet many community colleges have something similar and people just don't know about it.

    Your A. parryi trio is very cute!

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    1. I wonder? And glad you think so. I've been trying to think up something special to do with it.

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  2. Nice operation they have going with the great prices and varied selection. Dyckia grape jelly for $2 is amazing. Turning out future "plantspeople" is good work too.

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    1. Indeed, more plants-people please!

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  3. You strike me as a big city girl, but Spokane just might have been able to keep up with you at this rate. I've always admired Grace's Axminster Gold, but then seen it grown poorly elsewhere. I'll be watching to see how you like it.

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    1. Spokane did a lot of growing up while I was away in Seattle, it's inching toward (almost) being a big city (I can't believe I said that). I first fell for Axminster Gold in Lauren Hall-Behrens garden, where it was a perfect mound of foliage. Googling for images I see that isn't always the case. Fingers crossed.

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  4. I will wander any greenhouse, any time. How generous to get the invite! Those prices... they're like garage sale plant prices! How fun and guilt-free!

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    1. Guilt free indeed! It's probably good that I wasn't driving as the need to pack kind of kept me a little in check.

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  5. So much to see! The prices are wonderful hope they did well on their plant sale. I love your selections and that you bought some for your family. Very cool Agave victoriae-reginae it reminds me of my Agave Leopoldii that also is happy in a pot. It is having lots of babies but I haven't got in there to harvest them yet.

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    1. I was just cleaning up a sad looking Agave Leopoldii of mine yesterday. Ouch! Those spikes kept reminding me who the boss was.

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  6. Get out! Really? This place is amazing. $2 for plants? I'm going. Never been to Spokane but here's a reason to go. What a program too, if only I had stumbled upon something like this in my college days....

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    1. Be sure to let me know when you guys plan your Spokane get-away. I'll give you a lit of must see's!

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  7. OMG! This alone is reason enough to visit Spokane! Those prices are incredible. I see a road trip to your homeland in your future.

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    1. Sadly not anytime soon. At 5 hrs each way it's just beyond my ideal.

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  8. They're really great prices Loree, a bargain! And somehow I knew already that you were going home with a Synadenium ;)

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    1. You guys would have too right?

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  9. I'm very impressed that a community college (or any college) built and maintains such a fabulous nursery. And those prices! There's a community college near my childhood home in the (now horrid) San Fernando Valley that could take a lesson from this one.

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    1. It was a very impressive operation, I hate the phrase but truly a "hidden gem"...

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  10. Wow, this is impressive. And that Brugmansia is beautiful. I really wish It was frost hardy.

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  11. Wow, I think i've had a dream about a magical place like this!

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  12. What a lovely thing, a public community college with greenhouses like this. It's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

    I have been to Spokane--I remember marveling at how green the lawns and conifers were.

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    1. Spokane is the land of green lawns, that's for sure. Plentiful water from an aquifer and brown (dormant) winter lawns mean the citizens tend to go a little overboard in the summer. As for the conifers yea, so so so many. I've just starting to get over my childhood hatred of them. There is conifer happiness beyond the Ponderosa Pine.

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  13. That's much more impressive than the greenhouses at WSU, Pullman. Apparently the horticulture club there used to have field trips up to a big greenhouse grower up in Spokane.

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  14. One of the many joys of gardening is the experience with people. It makes me so very happy to read this blog! Thank you Loree!

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  15. Wow. What an astounding resource for the locals, and what fun for you to tour. You got some good plants for your suitcase, too. After searching high and low for that Pennisetum purpureum 'Vertigo', I eventually found one at (yes), over twice the price here. And the ones in you pic look much better and more upright than the one I bought. Waaah.

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    1. I'm kicking myself for not grabbing one of those Jane. WWIT?

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  16. What a fun adventure. The prices had me salivating. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. Yes! Spokane is a gardening town! Besides Garden Expo, there are the spring and fall plant sales at Manito Park, the spring Garden Tour to view neighborhood gardens up close and personal - some grand, some modest. Plus, the garden clubs are always having some kind of wing ding. Glad you found some of our nurseries. Judy's Enchanted Garden is a favorite. You won't find these plants at the big box stores. Next time you are in Spokane in June or July, you must visit Northland Rosarium near Green's Greenhouse. Even if you're not a rose loving kind of gardener, you will be impressed at the gardens behind the greenhouses. And, if you liked the prices at the college nursery, you will faint dead away at the Lawyer's bare root plant event at the college the same weekend as Expo. These lovely people bring nursery stock from their extensive growing fields in Montana. I believe they do a weekend event in Oregon, too. Wear gloves and your gardening clothes for this one. Do visit us again. We love gardeners in Spokane.

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    1. Hi Annie, this will be the first year in many that I've missed the FOM June Plant Sale, I am very bummed about it. It's a tradition since when I lived there (just on the other side of the park) and I absolutely love it. Also yes, Judy's is the best! Tell me more about this bare root plant event? It's at SCC, or Gonzaga, or?

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  18. I just did a little online checking, and it looks like the Lawyer sale was not in Spokane this year. This is the first year I had to miss Expo as well as the bare root sale, so I was not aware. Looks like it will be in Olympia during Memorial week. It WAS held here every Mother's Day weekend at the fairgrounds on Havana - not the college, as I said. You pick up a huge plastic bag upon entering, and the bins are clearly marked with the plant name and picture. Trees, shrubs, ornamentals, roses, and more are/were available. All are hardy because they're grown in Montana. A detailed flyer with the plant list appeared in the Spokesman Review the week of this no frills sale. The lines are daunting on Saturday, but Sunday is calmer. I hope they come back. Check online before you count on it.

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    1. Now that you're describing it more that does ring a bell, like I've heard about it. I will definitely check next year, that sounds like fun, thank you!

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  19. Spokane reminds me of a cooler, or at least less extreme version of Denver: plant types, how their brown lawns in winter become watered green lawns in summer...makes sense. I've only seen another comunity college selling plants, and that was such a great idea!

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  20. Ling Ling and Sun King both followed me home this spring.

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