The staircase was densely planted (left, right and center) with choice shade plants.
It wasn't raining at the time, but I bet this downspout comes alove with just a little water.
After walking through that courtyard I turned the corner and bam! There they were: "The Spheres"... (another article with more photos is here). They're causing quite the stir among us plant people, especially because we can't actually get up there, inside the spheres, to see what it's all about. Since I knew that sad truth before my visit I wasn't disappointed (unlike some folks).
Besides the plants around the base of The Spheres were so amazing I spent an hour wandering around looking at them. This Sinopanax formosanus is the first one I've seen in person, although I've read plenty about it on the Far Reaches Farm website. Now I (of course) need one. "Need"...(dare I mention it's going for $100?)...
This might look a little strange to people who don't grow Lysimachia paridiformis var. stenophylla, that's last year's growth all splayed out in a circle. The new growth will sprout soon from the center and look like this.
There were multiple handsome Schefflera planted throughout the understory, this one S. delavayi. On either side of it you can see hardy gingers (I think) with last years's growth still hanging on...I assume because up until recently they'd been enjoying the greenhouse life?
More ginger and a florific Edgeworthia.
A little pale, or maybe it's a fancy new cultivar?
Love all that luscious foliage, but the (unknown, dormant) spikes really caught my eye.
I wonder what this is? (update: unidentified Berberis from Steve Hootman)
Happy Blechnum chilense (I think)...
As much as the understory plantings held my attention I couldn't help but look up and admire (and wonder about) the green inside...
Such a missed opportunity for tours inside The Spheres! Had the NWFG Festival and Amazon teamed up there would have been money thrown around like it was the plant version of a game of Monopoly.
Meanwhile back on the ground, another choice Schefflera, S. taiwaniana. And so many Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'...
Woodwardia unigemmata, I believe.
And this is when things really go off the rails crazy! Pseudopanax ferox everywhere...
And a few Pseudopanax crassifolius thrown in to keep it interesting (ha! As if that was necessary)...
Can't over look the gorgeous Astelias.
This was my chance to go inside and explore the small visitors center, but instead I made use of the fading light and continued around outside. Indoors could wait.
I planted a gifted Pseudopanax crassifolius in the ground, at the urging of Sean Hogan (who gifted it to me) but a harsh winter killed it. My Pseudopanax ferox is doing fantastic, in a container. Years back, during a NWFGS seminar, Dan Hinkley urged everyone to put theirs in the ground. I couldn't bring myself to do it, Portland gets a little colder (and a lot icier) than the Seattle area does.
Identified as Ypsilandra, I might need one of these too.
There were tree ferns. Oh so many tree ferns!
Several of them had little epiphytes tucked into their trunks,
I've heard plenty of skepticism that these, along with several of the other plants, will make it here long term (winter being the death knell). It will be interesting to see what the future holds. I don't make it up to Seattle as often as I'd like, so I'm going to have to depend on folks closer to do frequent reporting....(please)....
The "grass" is fake...
I think these must be
If they live they're going to form an impenetrable mat in no time.
Damn I wish I could plant tree ferns!
Thankfully there were also Agaves!
And Yucca rostrata...
The spiky plants bordered the small dog play area.
There was an Agave ovatifolia...
And several Agave parryi that look like the planting and mulching crew took out all their anger on them.
Grevillea lanigera I believe. There was also a couple Grevillea juniperina 'Lava Cascade' but my photo was too blurry to use.
Check out that huge green wall inside! Reports are The Spheres are (a small) part of the 90 minute Amazon Headquarters tour you can sign up for, but that's booked through the end of June now.
Beschorneria some something or other.
Okay, it's getting dark and staring to rain a bit. Let's take a look inside...
Inside was primarily informational signs and a few plants and videos.
Your Brain on Plants: "We created The Spheres to give Amazonians a chance to refresh and restore themselves. Imagine a work conversation happening near a waterfall or a flowering wall of orchids. Even short doses of nature have been proven to boost well-being. Immersed in greenery, we're more relaxed and alert — we can think more creatively." (yep...every gardener I know would agree)
Outside again it was getting late. Time to head back to the NWFG Festival, or maybe call it a day and meet Andrew in the hotel bar...
Weather Diary, Feb 12: Hi 49, Low 31/ Precip 0
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