Wednesday, June 14, 2023

PNW Roadtrip Travelogue Part Two; nurseries, gardens and new plants

Before we hit the road for this PNW adventure I researched nurseries in both cities we planned to stop in on the way to Spokane; LaGrande, OR, and the Clarkston WA/Lewiston ID metro area. We didn't manage to make the stops in LaGrande, but we hit both of the Clarkston/Lewiston stops, first up—Patt's Garden Center.

I didn't have to look far to find the spikes, they were just to the side of the annual color spots.

Wind is always a problem at nurseries, knocking over the top-heavy pots. These custom frames were keeping the plants upright.

I don't think I've ever seen so many blooming hesperaloe in one place!

Nice mountain backdrop.

Cercis canadensis Flame Thrower® redbud.

I wanted to wander all of the hoop-houses! Sadly that wasn't in the cards.

Next up, Bloomer's Nursery in Lewiston, Idaho. 

Oh! I love this strange semperivum with tubular leaves, but it's kind of hard to find—I bought four (three for me, one for my mom).

That's some branding.

Bloomers was heavy on the blooms, as you might expect.

But they also had a nice selection of succulents.

Now we're at my mom's up in Spokane. Her ornamental rhubarb, Rheum palmatum was in fine form!

As were the seedheads on her Pulsatilla vulgaris.

Astilboides tabularis and Syneilesis aconitifolia.

Just as many hardy plants were hit hard by winter here in Portland, some really hardy plants in my mom's garden were knocked back, like her Yucca filamentosa. NOTHING makes this yucca pause—even when my dad famously took a chainsaw to the patch—at least not until now. She's got plants that have just flopped and turned crispy brown. Thankfully her Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' are still looking good, even sending up blooms.

Spokane does sempervivum quite well, this is just one of several large healthy clumps in my mom's garden.

A patio container...

And one of many praying mantis babies I disturbed when I showed up at my mom's bright and early one morning. I saw movement on the steps and noticed the beige on beige tiny babies. I snapped several shots, but this is the only one in some semblance of focused. I counted over 25 little guys moving around, many others scattered through the cracks as I walked up.

One of three mantis egg cases my brother pointed out.

There's a school behind my parents house, this greenhouse is part of it. Someday I'm going to get a closer look.

Mom and I visited a couple nurseries while I was in town, Judy's Enchanted Garden is always at the top of our list. That's where I spotted this poppy, part of the "champagne bubbles mix"...

Barn & Blossom is the new name of nursery on the old Tower Perennials site—it was fun to visit.

The new owners kept a lot of what made the old nursery great, but they're also putting their stamp on things, as it should be.

I can say the folks I interacted with were all very helpful and smiling. I can't visit this nursery without remembering the negative interactions I overheard between the prior owner and his staff.

Alan's Apricot delosperma I believe?

I was thrilled that our visit coincided with the Friends of Manito Plant Sale. When I lived in Spokane this sale was one I never missed, even after moving to Portland I've been back to attend a handful of times. The line to get in—at 8am on a Saturday morning!—was sizable...

What made this year's event even better was that my longtime shopping assistant, my nephew Trent, attended along with his wife Emily and their daughter Brooklyn. 

Here's a younger Trent back in 2011, and you know what, I bet that Rheum palmatum in the cart is the same one I showed photos of in my mom's garden above (for that matter the large green "umbrella" leaves of Darmera peltata maybe what I identified as Astilboides tabularis above?).

I snapped this shot of the Ferris Perennial Garden in Manito Park as we were waiting in line for the sale to start.

I also made it back to Floralia, a nursery I visited in Spokane last year.

I love seeing these plants in Spokane!

So I know what you're wondering—what plants did I buy on this trip?  

I already mentioned the three Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ with the tubular leaves, they're hidden in the upper corner of the flat. 

Judy's Enchanted Garden is where I first discovered "Popcorn Cassia" (Cassia didymobotrya) and I was thrilled to grab another to grow in the garden this year. This is a tender perennial, or annual in my garden. The foliage smells like buttered popcorn...

Also from Judy's, the hideously named Passiflora 'Aphrodite's Purple Nightie'. My Passiflora 'Amethyst Jewel' didn't make it through last winter's cold, but I couldn't be without those fabulous purple blooms...

From Barn & Blossom I bought this dwarf Solomon's-seal, Polygonatum humile. 

And an annual vine, Ipomoea quamoclit (cypress vine) [that's what the label said, but I've since decided it's actually Ipomoea × multifida, aka cardinal climber, a cross between two Ipomoea species: I. quamoclit (cypress vine) and I. coccinea (scarlet morning glory)]. While the scarlet trumpet shaped blooms are nice, I love the foliage.

From the Manito plant sale, I grabbed three Orostachys spinosa. They were closed up tight when I bought them but travelling home in the back of the car they opened up like this. They're very cold hardy but need really good drainage. I hope I found a suitable spot.
And Eriogonum 'Psdowns', my previous attempts to grow buckwheat have failed miserably. Maybe this one will thrive?

I also came home with a bunch of Helleborus foetidus seedlings thanks to Cathi Lamoreux, a Spokane friend who came to my TIEG talk. I potted up several for my mom, and planted a couple in her garden. Once home I potted up a dozen for myself before passing on the remains to a gardening neighbor.

The best part about this haul? Everything except hellebore seedlings is already planted!

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  1. AnonymousJune 14, 2023

    It's fun going home again, isn't it?
    Definitely new to me, Orostachys spinosa is amazing looking: excellent find. Where did you plant it?

    1. Next to the sidewalk in the area I've been reworking now that the fatsia is gone and the Yucca rostrata has moved in. Photos coming soon...

  2. I can't believe how many nurseries you managed to visit (actually, I can, LOL)!

    'Edwin's Oddity' is such a cool name, I would have bought one for the name alone.

    Passiflora 'Aphrodite's Purple Nightie', that name made me chuckle. There has to be a story behind it...

    1. Funny, it didn't even occur to me that 5 nurseries was a lot. That passiflora name is just ridiculous!

  3. What a fun nursery cruise and home visit. (And omg I do remember that photo of your nephew at 11!). I love the buckwheats too but hate to submit them to a trial by rain here at the coast. Maybe in the trough garden that I plan to make one of these days. That is so great that you and your mom share a love of plants -- my entire family pretty much thinks I'm nuts...

    1. I feel fortunate that both of my parents embrace/embraced gardening and the love of plants.

  4. In the photo under "I love seeing these plants in Spokane" I think I spy some ephedra! I think that genus is so cool. But so hard to find here. Also love the branding on that Sempervivum (an unusual statement for me, but they did it right), and the purple passion flower.

    1. Yes you did spy ephedra. I love that plant and have tried it a few times (the last one I bought was from the old Tower Perennials, now Barn & Blossom), sadly it's not happy over here on the wetter west side.

  5. Cathi LamoreuxJune 14, 2023

    When you were at Barn & Blossom you were maybe 2 minutes away from my house. Yet, where did I run into you again? Judy's on the other side of town!! The passiflora doesn't do well for me here, but the buckwheat are spectacular!

    1. I'm surprised about the passiflora, all they want here is sun and heat.

  6. You made excellent use of your time exploring garden centers and that's quite a haul. I did a quick online search for "Gargoyle Gardening" but couldn't find it, more's the pity. The name of the passionflower is hilarious but whoever coined it should plead forgiveness from Aphrodite.

    1. That's my second go with the ridiculously named passiflora, the first time it was a rescue that Anna gave me. It's tender but at least I'll love it (if not it's name) for a season...

  7. My dwarf Solomon seal filled a big area and then suddenly disappeared. Just as suddenly they returned a couple of years later. Go figure. Enjoyed seeing a peak at your mom’s garden.

  8. What a fun trip! I always love to stop at plant sellers--no matter where I'm traveling...and botanical gardens and natural areas. Pulsatillas are awesome plants, as are all the plants you purchased. Enjoy!

  9. Good haul, and it looks like the hauling was fun, too. The Passiflora name is as bad as some of the rose names these days. :(

  10. It's fun to see what's growing in nurseries elsewhere. Floralia looks like my sort of place. My eye was immediately drawn to that Orostachys from your Manito haul. Amazing form.


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