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.


  1. This report will help tide me over until I can get up there! I'd have to do some serious geoengineering to support dry garden plants here in Tillamook, so I'll stick with what tolerates wet heavy soil, but I must say that desert island bed looks pretty fab...

  2. Looks like a great visit and a nice haul. Love those metal hanging planters. What a dramatic shape.

    1. The trick is finding the right planter to hang in the bottom of those planters. I can't help but see a big plastic pot and a "Boston fern" or spider plant. Shades of growing up in the 1970's.

  3. That wasn't a nursery visit - it was a garden event! I really need to try an Aspidistra inside or directly outside my lath house, which deserves a refresh. The "furry bit" in the pot made me think of a small, gray Acacia 'Cousin Itt' for some reason.

    1. The furry bit had me thinking of a rabbit fur hat I had when I was a kid.

  4. Cistus looks like such a great nursery!

    It has such a wonderful mix of plants for sale and the display beds have lots of interesting things in them as well.

    I could quite easily spend a lot of time and money there, ha ha!

    You managed to come away with a super haul of plants. That Mahonia 'Cistus silvers' is really pretty.

    1. It is a fabulous nursery, I could have came home with so much more!

  5. Of course, my favorite scenes are probably "the inspiring agave and yucca-fest..." and one before / one after. Excellent combo showing how spikes can pull off a space without any other plant forms, so cram 'em together.

    1. Spikes for the win! Visit sometime and Ann and I will make sure you get the tour.

  6. Hard to believe Cistus is in the PNW with so many dryland plants looking healthy. What a great place to visit and shop. Do love those hanging metal planters. Will have to try and replicate them.

  7. Fab pics ! Fab plants !

  8. I adore this post with all the fabulous plants at the nursery and the ones you are taking home! And even some it would be possible for me to grow. I have a big Echinopsis oxygona and it flowers every summer big beautiful blooms!

  9. Love the display garden with all the various shades of blue agaves and yuccas, working harmoniously with the dark blue house behind. I bet that wasn’t an accident. Very elegant indeed.

  10. I'm drooling like a bulldog! I love aspidistra, too, and want to get more. They're perfect for the dense shade in our backyard.

    But most of all, I want to see Sean's and Preston's private garden.


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