Never one to turn down the offer of a "behind the scenes" nursery tour, I found myself in Dayton, Oregon — at the offices and growing grounds of Monrovia — bright and early on the morning of August 21st...
Joining me for the day's activities were Ernie and Marietta O’Byrne (of Northwest Garden Nursery, sorry I got your eyes closed Marietta) and photographer Doreen Wynja — the creative trio behind the new book A Tapestry Garden from Timber Press. Later Amy Campion and Grace Hensley showed up, along with a few people I didn't know.
The marketing department at Monrovia must have a blast coming up with big promotional materials.
One of my favorites — which is in my own garden — Camouflage™ Variegated Japanese Aralia
(Fatsia japonica 'Variegata').
It was interesting timing to run across this beauty, Podocarpus elongatus ‘Monmal’ (Icee Blue). I had just read a "Form and Foliage" blog post on blue plants the night before my visit and swooned over it there. Sadly it's only hardy to Zone 9.
All that was missing from this scene was the barkeep.
Time to tour the display EXPO, nice of them to pull all the spiky plants up close for me to look over.
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora 'Desert Rose'
Hesperaloe parviflora 'Brakelights'
Agave ferdinand-regis, gone all puppy...
If the colors in these photos look a little off, it's because our tour took place on one of our smokey days, when the sky was heavy and everything filtered. I tried to correct them but there's still an odd tint.
Were you fooled? This odd billboard mansion was a backdrop for their conifer and topiary display.
I need a nice brick ranch-style home where I can release my inner topiary artist.
So many vines!
Clematis Boulevard® Ninon™ /Clematis 'Evipo052' (ya, try remembering that name) looks a little like a mutant florida var. sieboldiana. I love it.
Bougainvillea 'MonSam' (oh that this beauty was hardy here!)...
I wish there had been time to explore the entire campus, but alas our day was full — not to mention the high that day was 94, and the smoke filled air was oppressive.
After a stroll around the display EXPO we then listened to Jonathan Pedersen, VP of Business Development, talk about some of the new "hot" plants for 2019. At this point a group of nursery owners and buyers joined up with our group (or maybe we joined up with theirs), it was interesting to hear what they were excited about.
Later — after a great photography talk by Doreen Wynja (all those gorgeous photos you see on Monrovia plant tags and on their website are her work) and a nice box lunch — it was time to listen to Dan Hinkley talk about some of his favorites, from his collection with Monrovia.
He had us all — or at least those of us who were willing — taste a leaf from the Drimys lanceolata 'Mountain Pepper'... quite tasty and spicy!
And he pointed out the subtle, but luscious, variegation on the Plumshine Anise (Illicium anisatum 'HinPurlf'). I swoon...
After Dan's talk we went on a little tour of the growing grounds...
Including the greenhouse where plants that have been tissue cultured are grown on.
Fear not, those of you who have been searching for Agave 'Blue Glow'...
There are a lot of them on the way.
And lots of that gorgeous Fatsia too.
Baby Yucca gloriosa 'Bright Star'
I wish we could have seen it in action, this machine prunes plants!
And this one dispenses soil into pots and then drills a perfectly sized hole, into which the employees transplant plants ready to be potted up.
All ready to go back into the field! Note the soil mountains in the background. They grind up any plants that are unsaleable and compost them, they're then worked into the soil mixture. Pretty nifty eh?
Our day ended here, but we were sent away with few plants to grow on. I brought home a Drimys lanceolata for my own garden (pretty excited about that one), and a couple of Grace N' Grit™ Red Shrub Roses which have already found a home in my neighbor's garden. Beautifying the neighbor's place, thanks Monrovia!
Weather Diary, Sept 3: Hi 79, Low 57/ Precip 0
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