Monday, April 3, 2023

Since I was on the island...

After visiting Maurice and George at their stunning Sauvie Island garden it was only natural that I drove right on over to Cistus Nursery. I mean I was on the island, it would have been criminal not to!

It's been a long standing private "test" I run in my head when I visit the nursery with a friend, will they follow the sign and go to the front (the one on top, which I swear used to be the only one), or will they cut through and enter the nursery in the middle. I love that the signs now support both options!

This darling small planter is new too.

Oh! Ditto for this moss and lichen filled strawberry pot.

I went ahead and started at the front of the nursery, all the better to appreciate the moss and mahonia there.

Somehow I neglected to take a single photo once I started plant shopping. It wasn't until I was back at the private "desert island" at Rancho Cistus (Sean Hogan and Preston Pew's home) that the camera came out again. If you're wondering if I bought any plants I did (of course), and there will be a haul post on Wednesday. For now, let's check out the garden!

I think this might be Mangave 'Whale Tale' (Agave ovatifolia and Manfreda maculosa).

And this one may be Mangave 'Falling Waters' (Agave ovatifolia, Agave gypsophila ssp. pablocarrilloi, and Manfreda maculosa). Then again I'm probably wrong on both, I'm just guessing.

I love this combo so much—although I'm not sure which barrel cactus this is, or which dry-land fern. I need to go through and have Sean ID all the plants and I'll write them down, rather than just thinking that I'll remember.

Agave ovatifolia there at the top of the mound.

Wide view...

Close-up, kinda. They look great.

I know I've asked Sean which agave this is, but I of course can't remember. It's beauty and I want it, that I know.

A pair of Agave 'Sharkskin', and a pair of maybe Yucca linearifolia.

One of the 'Sharkskin' has a bit of ugly.

Long view, with hoop houses in the background.

Another agave I feel I should know, but I don't.

Front courtyard garden.

And looking to the left.

A bit of agave ugly on the front A. ovatifolia, but the one at the back looks unscathed—not that I climbed in there to look closely.

Naturally I did a quick walk-about the crevice garden.

The passthrough with flat rocks is a great feature.

A shot looking the opposite way, with the house in the background for scale/placement.

I've walked around to the back of the house now and I usually go up those steps, however this time I decided to keep going around on the outside pathway.

It's a very different feel from this corner...

Walk a little but further and the feeling changes again. Daphniphyllum, mahonia, palm.

Deeply incised leaves on a choice Schefflera delavayi (I think).

Another nice mahonia and the ever present (it seems these days) hellebore blooms. I'm not knocking them! I just wish spring would warm up so some other blooms appear.

Speaking of, camellia! A stunning variegated version.

Agave, nolina, phormium...

The bottom leaves have a little damage...

But the top looks pretty excellent. 

Sean and Preston weren't around during my visit—they were off seeing the sights down under, perhaps you've been following their Australian Landscape Conference travels?—so I wasn't able to ask them what kind of protection they may have given the plants in their garden.

This mossy beauty came with the home, meaning it's not something Sean or Preston went out and acquired. I kinda love it.

Variegated daphniphyllum

Mahonia oiwakenses ssp lomariifolia v tenuifoliola. My plant is not looking nearly this good, winter damaged the leaves pretty badly.

Sinopanax formosanus with cordyline foliage.

What's better than a trunking cordyline? One with multiple growing points. Sadly all of my plants were knocked back to the ground this winter.

Pseudopanax crassifolius

Schefflera taiwaniana (?) and a surviving variegated phormium (winter wiped out many).

One last photo, wow! Nolina hibernica 'La Siberica' shown off to great advantage in front of a colorful leafing out shrub. Thank you Sean and Preston for letting me wander around your private paradise and share photos with my readers!

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  1. Wow, considering the weather this year -not too much of the ugly. The mossy fountain is fantastic. The Nolina hibernica is taking it all in stride. Thank you for sharing. I used to live in Portland, and do miss Cistus Nursery.

    1. I remember you mentioning you were an ex-Portlander. It would be hard to leave Cistus behind!

  2. This is a stunning garden. Love many areas and how they are all different with a different feel too from each other. Nothing like moss at this time of year to lend lots of colour. Spring will come eventually.

    1. You promise? I'm beginning to wonder.

  3. I'm amazed at how much the Yucca brevifolia (Joshua Tree) has grown since you last posted a photo. I'll have to search your blog to see a "before" picture and see how many years ago that was.

    1. Indeed that tall yucca group has grown, but I'm not sure they're actually Yucca brevifolia. Like I said, I need to get mass ID's from Sean!

  4. I love the dueling signs! How lucky you are to have access to this garden. The agaves don't look too bad given the winter you've had up your way.

    1. Ya if anyone can keep agaves looking good thru all that winter throws at them it would be Sean.

  5. That fern/cactus combo is brilliant. The last pairing I would have thought of. The pass through path is equally inspiring.

    1. Yes there is a lot of inspiration to be found in this garden, I left feeling a little better about the gardening year. The weather has made that a hard thing to do.

  6. The signs are fun, and so is the garden. I like the expansive size of the crevice garden. Go big or go home--they went for big.

    1. Indeed... when you have access to all the cool plants you need a place to plant them!

  7. I want to visit Rancho Cistus so badly. So many inspiring combos.

    I think your Mangave IDs are correct.

    1. Wow, really? Thanks, I know so little about mangaves I am surprised.

  8. I'd love to see more pictures of the crevice garden a little closer up. Are there more than just the two dinosaurs? Inquiring minds want to know! (I am also wanting to do a container crevice garden but am still in the pondering and idea collecting phase)

  9. Jane / MulchMaidApril 04, 2023

    Nice visit to the public and private spaces at Cistus. I wonder if that last agave before the front walkway shot might be A. gentryi 'Jaws'? But I'm just guessing.

  10. What a difference location makes (and experience, and site preparation, and plant selection). I love all the ecotypes they have going. I could wander there for hours.

    We typically walk the length of the driveway first, meandering into all the little pathways, before entering the nursery proper.


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