Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Other Side Nursery opens tomorrow!

One of my favorite Portland plant people is opening his own shop and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you. My friend Nanthawat (Nat) is an extremely generous human, as well as an incredibly knowledgeable—yet also very humble—plant person. I am so excited for the rest of Portland to get to know him through his new shop The Other Side Nursery...

Nat invited me to check out the new digs prior to opening day, so I have a few photos to share with you. I also talked him into answering a few questions, because I think the story behind a venture such as this is rather fascinating, I hope you agree. 

Here's the building where his shop is located, it's entrance is roughly in front of the blue car. 

Here we are at the door...

And here's the first of the Q&A:

I asked Nat if he could tell us about something I read that he had said, about making "plants available for everyone"—here's his reply: "About 15 years ago when the plant bug bit me I remember being able to visit various nurseries and leaving with a car full of plants without being concerned about having enough money for food for the following week. I want to be able to bring that experience to the larger community; to share it with new and long-term enthusiasts alike. There is also a big imbalance with the amount of plant shops found on the west side vs the east side of I-205 [in Portland]—I want to help fill in that gap."

What type of plants will The Other Side shop focus on? "With our current location, and given the limited amount of space we have to work with, we’ll be focusing on tropical plants that are easy to grow in a standard home. We won’t be dipping too far into the "trendy hot houseplant" market. I find it to be stressful keeping up with the hype and I've seen what kind of madness it can bring; I want people to be successful with their plants without burning a hole in their wallet. In the future, when we have more space, especially some outdoor space, we want to get into everything the plant world has to offer. Nothing too specific really; it's all good."

You've been running a mail order nursery for a while now, what have you learned there that has influenced your inventory at the retail shop? "I've learned that just because I like a certain plant, doesn't mean that everyone will. There was a time I acquired a hundred qty of a specific plant, thinking that it would sell within a week, but I only ended up selling seven over the next five months. I’ve also learned that just because I think something is "basic" doesn't mean people won't like it! For example, one of my best-selling plants are Parlor Palms! [Chamaedorea elegans] Never assume what people will be into, never assume what might be popular, and never assume that you can sell all one hundred Arthrostemma parvifolium in a week... maybe start with ten. Hah! So to wrap up, I learned to have a healthy variety of plants, and carry plants I might not find interesting because someone out there might be madly in love with them."

What days and hours will you be open? "We will be open 10am-7pm everyday except Thursdays. We might extend the store hours during the summer and for the busy holiday season. We may open on random Thursdays and close early during certain holidays. If you're looking for expert advice, come on Saturdays and Sundays, that's when I will be there for sure!"

The Other Side has a small, but well curated selection of containers...

A couple more questions:

What's the first plant you remember buying for yourself and how old were you? (Sorry, dorky question, but I couldn't not ask) "The very first plant I remember buying for myself is a Crassula ovata from a dollar store. I don't know if it qualifies as buying my own plant, since I was 9 or 10 and it was my parent's money. The first plant that I purchased with my own money was a Syngonium podophyllum when I was 15ish. I remember because I was very excited to show my superstitious Thai mom. In Thai, Syngonium podophyllums are called "เงินไหลมา" ("Gnuhn-Lai-Mah") which translates to "Money Flowing Towards Me/Us", so the belief is that when you have this plant, money will flow towards you. Needless to say, she was thrilled, but I must have had it facing the wrong way because money did not come flowing towards us."

What's your favorite genus? "This is a very hard question to answer but I always find myself stopping for opuntia. I've spent years being smitten with thousands of various genera, but I always find myself coming back to Opuntia."

I was so focused on the plants here that I didn't manage to get a good shot of the front of the pot, where the name and price is, but that's something I want to point out. These are not "asst succulents"! Nat has taken the time to accurately label every plant with it's botanical Latin name. That's impressive! 

For example this isn't just a "hanging succulent" or even a donkey tail sedum...

Nope, it's labeled as Sedum morganianum. Nat also believes in sharing the price of his plants when posting about them on social media. A quick look at the shop's Instagram feed and you'll see lots of labels visible. 

Something else worth pointing out, every shelf has light above it. These plants are happy and healthy, no dark recesses filled with etiolated succulents like you see at the big box stores.

Besides making sure his customers are set up for success with a healthy plant and it's actual name, Nat also has helpful signage about light conditions they'll need at home.

Oh! Tradescantia Spathacea 'Silver'

As a hands-on gardener with retail plant experience (he's the one who got Plants on Broadway, which I wrote about last summer, successfully up and running) Nat knows what hard-goods his customers are going to need and stocks a great selection.

Including handmade plant poles (for climbing houseplants) from Tiffany's Quick & Dirty Gardens (Tiffany is the friend who kept my garden looking good last summer when I was laid up with the broken ankle) .

There are also blank greeting cards featuring Nat's beautiful photographs... 

And a friendly greeter a "modern day traditional" Thai lady. You might also note there is a selection of crystals and minerals for sale...

Since I know nothing about this realm I didn't snap any photos, but they are dinosaur approved!

While I was there Nat took me on a tour of the building, including the indoor dining and market area which will be surrounded by small restaurants and a few small grocery type vendors (think fresh fruit). 

It's an exciting development for a part of the Portland metro area that's been a little neglected. Check out a map of the layout with links to the businesses here.
Finally, I asked Nat if there was anything else he wanted to add? "Killing plants is a solid part of plant ownership, without failure and pain you won't know what actual joy is." Amen to that!

So you might think that since I visited before The Other Side Nursery was officially open that I wasn't able to buy anything, but you would be wrong. I got to be their first customer! I bought this fabulous black hanging planter...

And one of the Tradescantia Spathacea 'Silver' (only $6.50!). I'm not sure I'll actually plant this plant up in this container, but for now they're hanging out and looking good together.

Nat, I wish you nothing but big success with this very exciting venture! 

If you are in the Portland area please stop by and check out The Other Side Nursery! You won't be disappointed

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Monday, March 28, 2022

A spiky garden discovery in Silverton, Oregon

A couple weeks back Andrew and I were on our way to Silver Falls State Park when I caught sight of a large Agave ovatifolia...

Since Andrew was at the wheel we didn't stop (he requires plenty of notice), but I made note of the location and announced we would be stopping on our way back. Sadly, by the time we were headed home it was getting late and the light was fading. Plus, it had begun to rain and I had left my camera at home, my phone camera was all I had to record this spiky garden.
I would have driven back to take better photos, but Silverton is about an hour south of here, so not a quick adventure. 

Andrew noted the similarity to my plant palette: Dasylirion wheeleri, Arctostaphylos, Agave ovatifolia, Yucca rostrata. If only I had that amazing white-spined cactus and a monkey-puzzle tree, Araucaria araucana...

I counted three large Agave ovatifolia, two of them quite large. There was also what I think may have been an Agave 'Blue Glow' and an Agave parryi. But that's just what I could see from the street. No telling what treasures may have been lurking up by the house.

I love their tall metal panels used as fencing and the short metal box planters completing the border run to the street. The pathway with it's inset metal pieces is also pretty spectacular. I wonder if these folks just love metal, or if there's a professional tie-in? 
In case you're keeping track, I believe there were two Yucca rostrata.

I wish I would have paid more attention to the tree on the left side of this photo, it might be a Quercus hypoleucoides, the silverleaf oak?

Another stunning pathway, I wonder how the green rounds are kept in such a tidy patch? They perfectly mirror the round manhole cover. Check out that big patch of opuntia!

Another chunky cactus

The manhole cover says City of Salem, Oregon's capital city which is about 15 miles west of Silverton.

I am in love with this garden! I wonder what's going on in the back of the house? Fingers crossed they read my blog—or someone who does read it knows the gardeners?—and I can score an invite to tour? Perhaps there are better photos in the future, complete with whatever is going in that large metal planter on the corner...

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, March 25, 2022

A March visit to Cistus Nursery

It had been too long since I'd visited Cistus Nursery, so late last week I set out for Sauvie Island. Naturally I started snapping photos of the plants in the display garden just as soon as I stepped out of the car; seeing this helps to explain why my eyes are puffy and itchy and my sinuses are angry. Damn allergies! Pretty though...

Aristolocia californica, aka dutchman's pipe or California pipe vine.

Is it odd that I look at a scene like this and just think about the foliage?

Isn't this camellia lovely? I have no idea which one it is.

Now I've moved into the nursery and I'm shopping—because that's why I was there, right? Mahonia x media 'Wnter Sun'.

Looking out across the nursery, packed with plants.

One of the corner pavilions. These are typically full of plants over the winter, because they can be closed and kept warm if arctic air arrives. Now that spring is in full swing however, they're opened up and plants pouring out into the surrounding area.

Astelia 'Red Devil'

I'm not generally a fan of pink flowers, but the double ruffle, combined with those tiny dark leaves, well I was in love! Leptospermum scoparium 'Ruby Glow'...

It turns out I've loved this same leptospermum in the past; I saw it growing in a hellstrip back in 2014 when I visited the Bay Area. Check out that post here, if you're curious.

Next up on the lust-meter, there were many aspidistra for sale. I do love me some aspidistra.

Inside the "Big Top" someone's been very creative with container displays.

Love that table and I'm scheming on how I can do something similar.

And these!

Pretty fabulous, am I right?

I love this shot across the Big Top tables. Sean Hogan, Preston Pew, and a nursery visitor are visible too, if you've got eagle eyes.

Agave victoriae-reginae 'Porcupine'

I thought I knew what fern this was, but I've second guessed myself and now I'm not sure. I still wanted to share the photo though, because that color is fabulous!

As is the color on this leucadendron. A little SoCal/South Africa on Sauvie Island.

A very sculptural aeonium.

And another creative container...

I admire this clump-o-cactus every time I visit. This time I got to take home a piece of it! That tag reads "NFS Echinopsis oxygona, Mother Plant"... I'll share my baby plant at the end of this post, along with the rest of the haul.

Now I'm back in the private parts of the nursery, visiting my friends the plant propagators: Ann (aka and Kris (aka a_kris_in_the_greenhouse). This planting disturbed me. Doesn't that furry bit look like it's part of a rabbit or some other animal? 

Nope I was assured it's from a plant. Maybe an artichoke?

Now I am wandering through the growing hoop-houses. Pure aeonium perfection! A. 'Velour'.

Agave parryi 'JC Raulston'

I didn't see a name on this spiky bad boy. He wanted to come home with me though.

A crop of baby Agave ocahui, born on July 5, 2021.

I didn't get a name on this fabulous clump.

But Ann says it's a plant from Sean's childhood. (Cistus founder and boss man) 

Dreamy agave spikes,  maybe an Agave victoriae-reginae?

A couple of nice variegated agaves hanging out...

Sometimes the plants take on a style all their own.

In another hoop-house now, the many shades of Mahonia eurybracteata 'Cistus Silvers'

Magnolia laevifolia

Aspidistra heaven! So many plants, so many different patterns on the leaves.

As I was wrapping up my visit I again crossed paths with Sean and we were off check out the developments in the garden around he and Preston's home. I got busy talking though and didn't take many photos, that is until I ran across this fabulous—huge—agave. We previously visited it at the home of Linda Callahan (here), but it's up and moved locations. Looking good!

Here's the inspiring agave and yucca-fest going on in front of the home.

A couple photos of the previously admired desert island bed...

And now I'm back home with my haul! (once again, this has turned into a very long post)

I grabbed a Mahonia eurybracteata 'Cistus Silvers', I bought one last spring and thought it needed a companion.

Here's the baby of the massive Echinopsis oxygona you saw above.

I've lusted after Phlomis 'Sunningdale Gold' since seeing it at Argyle Winery (a Cistus Nursery project). I should have asked Sean what the trick is to get it to "golden" up.

Aeonium 'Strybing Red'

Aspidistra elatior 'Variegata'

Aspidistra tonkinensis 'Spotty'

Aspidistra 'Spek-tacular' with leaves that should grow to 3-ft tall or more...

And to wrap it all up, a generous gift from Sean that I was thrilled to accept, a Pyrrosia sheareri. 

Just look at those adorable new "fronds"...

This was a very good visit indeed.

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.