Thursday, May 13, 2021

Rare Plant Research and plant shopping with the Outlaw

Last weekend was my annual visit to Rare Plant Research in Oregon City. Things being what they are, visits are still scheduled in advance (here) and spread out over a few Sundays. Thankfully I did not shop alone, Peter (aka The Outlaw) made the trip down from Tacoma.

I resisted the temptation to take photographs, with the exception of this. I had to capture the object behind my annual moment of pure lust —Furcraea foetida 'Mediopicta'.

It is such a beautiful plant, and so unhappy growing in my garden, in a container. Thus I walked on without succumbing to its charms.

The Outlaw's RPR haul. I also couldn't resist a photo with such a dramatic sky in the background.

After loading up our purchases we hopped in our cars and raced out to Sauvie Island, for a visit to Cistus Nursery. This sign near the back of the "Big Top" (the large covered area that is the heart of the retail nursery) seemed to be telling me to go away. They couldn't be serious? I ignored it.

Vines twisting up the wire fencing. I love the look.

Azara dentata 11th Avenue—it smells SO GOOD! "With sweet fragrance from its bright yellow flowers in spring, this evergreen Chilean shrub or small tree shines in the mixed border. Sun to part sun with a bit of summer water. Easily pruned to tree form, plants can reach 12 ft or so but can be trimmed and maintained at smaller sizes. Frost hardy in the Pacific Northwest, at temperatures of 12 °F, USDA zone 8. This clone from a tree on 11th Avenue in Portland."

Didn't catch the name of this abutilon, just appreciated it's form.

Ditto for these golden spikes in the display garden.

Right along the Cistus driveway Yucca treculeana is throwing up a huge bloom...

I think it looks a little protea-like at this stage. Do you see it too?

Back home this was my view as I started to back into our driveway. I love it when the sun hits this corner just right.

So here's my haul. First of all my bougainvillea fairy god-father delivered BIG TIME this year. Not one, but two gorgeous plants.

This unusually colored beauty goes by the name of Bougainvillea 'Sharon Wesley'.

The second (unlabled) plant is the traditional hot-pink bougainvillea.

This bounty means I've got a plant for the back garden (Sharon) and one for the front garden (pinky). They're already in their respective spots, you'll probably see them tomorrow on Garden Blogger's Bloomday.

Peter also passed along a plant from the dear departed Ron of the Desert Hillside Botanical Gardens in Yakima, WA. I'd wished I had asked Ron about this odd cactus the last time I visited (May of 2019), or begged a small piece of it, but my visit was so full that I did not.
Thanks to Peter I've now got one of my own. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it makes me very happy.

So what else did I get? Here's my RPR haul, small as it is. There's sarracenia hybrid (lower left corner), because I have a project lined up that needs one.

I also purchased three large tillandsias, pups from a plant that had started to bloom but then made pups instead. Burl (owner at RPR) said he'd originally identified it as Tillandsia grandis but then decided that wasn't right. I think he mentioned the name he was currently going with but I didn't manage to track it.

Because I've had success with my trashcan staghorn I bought another—Platycerium bifurcatum 'Netherlands'. I love the form of this plant and have a fun idea for how I'll plant (mount) this one, stay tuned!

Peter sent me this colorful image of part of his haul once he was back home. His begonia lust was satiated at good old Marbott's Nursery in NE Portland. Not pictured are the many cool plants he bought at Cistus.

Finally, Andrew and I wrapped up this day with take-out dinner from McMenamins Kennedy School and so I snapped a couple of photos there too. Fremontodendron californicum...

The glorious spikes...

The generous planting of Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’...

And one of a pair of arctostaphylos trained as a standard and under planted with mangaves. This cool combination has stood proud for a couple of years now. Experimenting pays off!

 It was a very good day...
—   —   —

Weather Diary, May 12: Hi 80, Low 51/ Precip 0 

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. So happy to hear you got to hang out with Peter! He's such a cool guy. And your respective plant hauls are pretty darn cool, too!

    Love the manzanita + mangave combo at McMenamin's!

    1. That manzanita + mangave combo is a good one (as is Peter)

  2. What a great day especially since you got to share it with Peter. Miss his blog. Was unaware that Ron had passed away. At least you have one of his plants to remind you of him. Had no idea Tillandsia's could achieve that size. Wow!

    1. I should have taken a photo of the mama tillandsia, what was I thinking!?

  3. All this and a visit with the OG too?! I tried azara many years ago, probably purchased at Western Hills, but it wasn't a fan of my garden. And look at the trunks on your front garden yuccas!

    1. Ya those yucca are looking grand, I am so happy I "splurged" on them back in 2011... (which looking back wasn't really much of a splurge).

  4. That was a great day! I'm very impressed by that well-behaved vine. I wonder if someone had to patiently train it to present such a neat appearance. In contrast, my vines are usually a sloppy mess.

    1. You ask an interesting question, I wish I knew.

  5. Living in the desert, this post is dreamy! Peter's haul made me smile from ear to ear!

  6. AnonymousMay 13, 2021

    What a lot of fun! My kind of day.

  7. Miss Outlaw's blog with his wonderful sense of humor (and his fabulous garden). You both got some great plants.

    No better way to spend a day.

  8. I do so miss Peters' appearances in blogdom. I've been mooning over that Furcraea for years. Every time I go to Socal or the central coast they are on my plant list and I never ever see them. How ironic that there they are in Oregon !

    1. Well save a spot in your car the next time you're up this way!

  9. Sounds like a perfect shopping/visting day. I do miss seeing Peter's posts.

  10. That brown aloe has turned totally green in just a week which is okay as I love it either way. Thanks for another delightful day of plant shopping!


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