Friday, June 30, 2023

Pent-up plant buying needs met with a stop at Christianson's Nursery...

Garden touring and plant peeping in another country is great fun, but it can be a little frustrating too. Looking at plants, but not being able to buy any*, eventually gets old. After nearly 5 days in Vancouver, BC (Canada)—for the 2023 Vancouver Hardy Plant Group Study Weekend—I couldn't wait to stop at a nursery on U.S. soil and buy some plants! Christianson's was oh so conveniently located just of I-5 in Mt Vernon, Washington, north of Seattle.

Evidently I wasn't the only one with a need to shop, in my brief time there I ran into three other people who had been at the Study Weekend events with me. 

Above and below are plants that look to have planted themselves (maybe with a little human assistance?) on wooden posts around the nursery.

While I loved the moss growing in this rotted out post I couldn't help but envision a bit of pyrrosia tucked in there.

Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea' looks good with a yellow back-drop, even if it is a rose. 

Nice Agave attenuata 'Kara's Stripes', with a little bonus foliar fertilizer.

This was fun; I made a trip to the restroom and noticed a pile of bird droppings on the ground just below the entrance. This is what I saw when I looked up...

Feeding time!

So what did I buy? Here's the haul, and since I also stopped at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden there's a flat from their nursery too...

Starting with the haul from Christianson's...

Arisaema concinnum

There were so many gorgeous arisaema in the gardens we toured over the weekend, I couldn't help but grab this beauty when I saw it. Especially with it's green flower.

I also couldn't resist the coloring of Tillandsia 'Spirit'.

A very out of focus Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Chirimen', it was just sitting there looking all cute with it's strange "crinkly, congested foliage" and I had to have it. Maybe because I'm still feeling the loss of my Cornus sanguinea 'Compressa' and this is another odd congested treasure?

Speaking of, how odd is this? Hedera helix 'Erecta', eventually 2-3ft tall and wide, maybe. I saw what I think was a mature version elsewhere in the nursery but neglected to take a photo, here's a good image from the grower.

There were so many (SO MANY!) great saxifrage in gardens over the weekend, I was primed to grab a couple when I saw them for sale. Saxifrage hostii (silver saxifrage)...

And a pair of Saxifraga 'Winifred Bevington'...

Who is 'Winifred Bevington' you might be wondering? Me too. All I could find online was that it's a "British hybrid of obscure origin".

On to the RSBG haul...

Rhododendron orbiculare, that foliage sends me! (I'd be happy if it never bloomed)

Rhododendron williamsianum, ditto. I do already have one of these in the ground, but I saw it doing great in containers all over Vancouver so I grabbed another.

I even got a bonus tag with a bit of it's history. 

Rhododendron nakaharai ‘Mariko’, yep... I already have this one too (shared it in my Bloomday post).

It's a "dense and dwarf" groundcover and those fuzzy leaves are adorable.

And yes... another pyrrosia (identified as Pyrrosia species lingua affinity).

But that's not all! My friend Matt in Seattle sent me home with a fine bromeliad...

And I brought home this pair of Leo wall planters thanks to my friend Todd, owner of Pot Inc in Vancouver.

They aren't colors he normally offers these planters in...

But they are "my" colors, and I happen to have his old-style Hover Dish planters in exactly the same colors...

Yay! I've already got most of the plants planted, but I guess I am going to have to buy some more to fill those new planters...

(*there were some plants available at the Study Weekend plant sale that were pre-qualified for the phytosanitary paperwork needed to bring them back across the border, but none of them called to me.)

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  1. I hate not being able to buy plants in other countries and bring them to the US safely. What plants were prequalified?

    Saxifrage: I wonder if there are any that would make it through our hot summers in the Sacramento Valley?

    1. There were several vendors at the sale, and the plants we Americans could buy had red tags in the pots. I can't tell you what all they were, I just scanned the tables and didn't want any ;) as for the saxifrage perhaps? In a nice shady spot?

  2. AnonymousJune 30, 2023

    What a great haul! Those saxifragas are beauties. Seems like there’s always room for more in a mature garden. And the tillandsia is amazing! At first I thought it was just a cordyline (which I’m a big fan of), but that “Spirit” one would one so nice in a bright area of a home.
    Jim N. Tabor

    1. One of the gardens we visited had a million cool saxifrage, most of them seed grown. They were amazing!

  3. What a great haul. I have a Chirimen from Heronswood back in the day. Moved it a year ago as it had never done much. Happier now but still not as nice as yours.

  4. I'm glad you were able to resolve your frustrations so effectively! I have a Tillandsia 'Spirit' too and it's got a bloom spike (albeit no blooms yet). Re Gerhard's question about Saxifrage, I've never been able to keep it alive in my climate :(

    1. I suspect that I too have at least one other Tillandsia 'Spirit', as there are a few in my collection that look similar. I've yet to crack the code on keeping track of their names however!

  5. I very much wanted to go the study weekend, but it was the same weekend as my local annual garden tour. Christianson's is my favorite nursery and I visit often. A number of years ago, I told John Christianson that visiting their nursery was my version of going to church. He laughed and said: "Well, Father John thanks you".

    1. This was only my second time at Christianson's, the first was during last year's Study Weekend event when a couple of friends and I skipped the lectures and went shopping. It's a fun nursery!

  6. AnonymousJuly 01, 2023

    Wonderful photo of the baby-birds feeding! (when I'm on a bathroom run, I'm a woman on a mission, rarely stopping for anything).
    Nice you caught that gorgeous Arisaema concinnum in bloom: many happy returns.
    One can never have too many Pyrrosia or Saxifraga, in my opinion anyway.
    Having to go plant shopping again for the new planters... you poor thing :-D

    1. I guess it's true that I didn't notice the birds (or their droppings) on the way into the bathroom, but rather on the way out...

  7. A noninvasive ivy cultivar with nice architectural, overlapping leaves. I have a couple in the rock garden that I chop down when they get too floppy. Nice new pots! You’ll have some lush new plantings in no time.

    1. Good to know (about the chop), I'd love to see photos of yours sometime.

  8. Love your new planters. Can hardly wait to see what you pop into them. Spirit is an unusual tillandsia. The leaves are much wider and look more like a typical bromeliad. I grew up in Vancouver and still visit family there but the city has exploded in growth. How was it getting to the different gardens?

    1. Exhausting! Lots of folks carpooled to share driving duty but I ferried myself around as I had other things on my agenda as well. The gardens felt very spread out, traffic was crazy in places, but it was the distance traveled that really wore on me.


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