Back in September I got an email from a fellow by the name of Bryon Jones, horticulturist / arborist at PDZA (Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, in Tacoma, WA). He included a few photos of some gorgeous plantings and invited me to visit sometime, one spiky plant lover to another. It took me awhile but eventually I remembered reading about Alison's visit to PDZA on a horticultural tour, I looked up that blog post (here) and was shocked to see it was from August of 2014, four years ago! Why hadn't I been there yet? Thanks to Bryon's urging I planned a visit for Mid October when I was up Seattle-way...
The morning was a foggy one and I worried my photos wouldn't be representative of the magic I saw in person. Little did I realize the fog would up the drama factor and show of the plants marvelously.
This section of the park/zoo/gardens was planted up in 2011, making it 7 years old. I was blown away by how pristine everything was. The plants looked perfect. Obviously being right at the southern tip of land that juts out into Puget Sound means they're in a great micro-climate, but still, does this look like Washington State to you?
Here (below) Bryon pointed out he'd planted two different Agave parryi right next to each other, for comparison. The one on the upper left is A. parryi var. huachucensis and on the right a standard A. parryi truncata (gawd I hope I've got that right).
My photographs don't really show it (concentrated on the plants of course), but this whole planting area is built up from the pathway, bermed...great for drainage.
Bryon does tours, like the one Alison was on, monthly at the PDZA (2018 schedule here), I just missed the Savage Garden tour back on October 7th, a look at all the "poky, skeletal and otherwise Halloween-themed plants".
Nolina 'La Siberica'
Aloiampelos striatula (formerly known as Aloe striatula), I believe.
And so many Yucca rostrata (or look-a-likes) that I lost track!
I noticed Bryon's also had a lot of success with Aloe aristata, this is a good one for us here in the PNW. On the right is Othonna cheirifolia.
Bryon casually named most of the plants growing in the gardens here, any lack of ID (like on this tall Yucca) is only because my brain didn't store them all and I'm no good at taking both notes and photographs.
Yucca linearifolia, I believe (and a shy one too)...
The tall blooming wonder is a Colletia, but I'm not sure which one.
More Agaves! I think the one on the left is A. lophantha, and the one on the right is up for naming. I think it's a type of A. parryi?
Yucca schottii (at the back)?
This Puya tangle was much more attractive in person, and referring to it Bryon mentioned a word I've only read previously; protocarnivorous, meaning the plant traps insects and animals but doesn't eat them. "Some authors prefer the term "protocarnivorous" because it implies that these plants are on the evolutionary path to true carnivory." (source)
A close-up of the blooms of Eryngium pandanifolium...
And a look at the full plant.
I was told which Phormium this is (and there are others), but I don't remember. I think I was distracted by the Echium...
And more Echium...
There was an entire Echium forest!
E. pininana I believe.
Oh...what's that in the distance?
Yep, Wollemia nobilis, one of I think three on the grounds.
Is this place magical or what?
Beschorneria yuccoides, so lush!
Sexy Agave gentryi 'Jaws'
And on the far right Nolina nelsonii
The next tour Bryon's giving is the Jurassic Zoo tour "living fossils that have been around since dinosaur times" on November 4th...no doubt the Araucaria araucana will be a centerpiece.
It's a beauty, grown to perfection.
I asked if the Corokia cotoneaster were pruned into columns...
...because they seemed so perfectly formed. They are not, just an occasional cut here and there to control wild sprigs.
This particular plant, the Astelia, wasn't labeled, but I saw A. chathamica (silver spear) on a few other Astelia so I'm betting that's what it is. Dreamy!
Can you tell I was in plant heaven?
You'll definitely want to come back tomorrow for the second part of my tour.
Weather Diary, Oct 31: Hi 59, Low 50/ Precip .05"
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