Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Hellebores at the O'Byrne's Northwest Garden Nursery

For those who love hellebores, Ernie and Marietta O'Byrne—and their Northwest Garden Nursery—are legends. They are the plant breeders behind the Winter Jewels collection (read about their plants and process here). On March 11th I visited their nursery and garden (they live on site) and even was allowed to walk through the breeding program greenhouses—plants not for sale. Today I'm sharing some of the hellebore photos I took, Friday I'll share pictures of the garden.

This combination really spoke to me...

Onyx Odyssey

Golden Lotus
This is Jade Tiger—which looks very different from my Jade Tiger purchased in 2014. Mine is similar to the original shown on their "about our hellebores page", and this is the improved.

Apricot Blush

Cherry Blossom

Sun Flare

Picotee Pearl

Golden Sunrise

Another Cherry Blossom

There's Pam, my partner in crime for the day (and chauffeur)...

A few NOIDS that were too lovely not to share (meaning I didn't catch the ID, the O'Byrnes definitely know what they are). I think this one might be Peppermint Ice...

Here's what I went home with. First up this hellebore seedling dug right from the garden by Marietta, a selection of Helleborus foetidus with nice dark foliage and stems.

And Peppermint Ice, one of their Winter Jewels—if this looks familiar it's because I shared it in my Bloomday post on the 15th. If you look to the left of the big bright bloom you can see the backside of the petals are dark, the white only showing up on the front of the flower. 

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Monday, March 20, 2023

Gardeners are the best people—Eugene version

My recent three day adventure in Eugene, Oregon, was definitely action packed. I gave two presentations at the local garden show, visited Gossler Farms Nursery, Northwest Garden Nursery, and two private gardens—as well as catching a few hours of sleep.

Today I'm sharing those two private gardens, they belong to Pam of The Walled Garden and her friend Bianca. We'll start at Pam's garden which we toured with a glass of wine in hand—after she kindly hauled me out to NW Garden Nursery and fed me lunch en route...

Pam and I had just finished commiserating over the fact the cold weather zapped the scent from our edgeworthias, when a couple walked by and commented on how lovely the scent was. Turns out maybe all we needed was a sunny day to restart the plant? (my hummingbirds aren't buying it—they're still ignoring mine)

I wish I would have got a better shot of these Iris reticulata, the color was phenomenal.

This interesting fence separated Pam's side garden and the neighbor to the south—I love the planting pockets!

Since Pam and I had just spent a couple hours at Northwest Garden Nursery (hellebore heaven) I was extra aware of the many hellebores in her garden, like this Helleborus argutifolius (Corsican hellebore).

I admit that I laughed out loud when I saw this, an agave wedged into a window well. Turns out it's not a crazy idea though—a little warmth and great drainage, exactly what an agave wants during a PNW winter.

I didn't get a great shot of this genius idea, but I'll share it anyway. This patio off the back of the house includes a dining table. Growing over the table on a hefty pergola is a wisteria—perfection! Unless it rains and your dinner is a wash out. So look at that! A roof built over the pergola, isn't it fabulous?

Pam created this pebble fern crosier, set into a small seating area at the far end of the back garden. I kinda want to steal this design, but I'm not sure where I could do such a thing.

Pinus densiflora 'Oculus Draconis'

Look into the dragon's eyes...

Here's a shot of the dining table under the pergola, under the clear roof—can you imagine how lovely it is when the wisteria is in bloom? And the roof just disappears...

Puya chilensis...

Agave 'Blue Glow'

The next day we visited Pam's friend Bianca's garden—how lucky am I that these ladies invited me into their late winter/early spring gardens? Many people would say the garden wasn't ready for visitors and dismiss the idea. Bonus, Bianca has plants for sale in her driveway!

Hello Yucca gloriosa 'Bright Star' without yuccacne... how does she do it?

More luscious hellebores...

Walking into the back garden, which was looking lovely even in it's slumber.

I shared this photo on Instagram and a commenter called it rocaille, a term I was not familiar with. Rocaille; an 18th-century artistic or architectural style of decoration characterized by elaborate ornamentation with pebbles and shells, typical of grottos and fountains.

As we walked the garden there was a friendly banter between Pam and Bianca about whether or not the containers were level. Bianca doesn't pay much attention and Pam goes around straightening them. I'm with Pam, an angled container drives me crazy. They must be level!

Bianca is a collector of pots, as you've probably figured out.

Turns out she collects hand tools too...

This sweet little pot was in the greenhouse.

An Agave parryi—winter was harsh in Eugene too. Hopefully summer's warmth will bring new growth.

Turns out there is ornamental stonework in every Eugene garden! Well okay, maybe just the ones I visited. Bianca did these herself.

And now we're back at the beginning! 

I did go home with a plant from Bianca's plant sale, my first ever trillium. It was labeled as Trillium grandiflorum but the speckled foliage throws that into question (thanks Linda). We shall see...

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