Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Plant peeping; two drive-bys and a nursery visit

I love it when I get a message alerting me to a nearby planting that I should check out, this one came in as I was finally preparing to leave the house post-storm. My car had been parked in the drive for too long!

This fantastic Agave ovatifolia was the plant that spurred the message, but the rest of the hellstrip (arctostaphylos and olive) was pretty sweet too.

And since the cold and ice wasn't completely done with Portland, you get to see ice and olives in the cracks...
While the agave looked untouched by the weather, sadly that was not the case for this toasted Echium wildpretii.

A nearby Drimys winteri...

...sustained a little wind damage, the silver undersides of the leaves get me. So pretty.

Unfortunately the plant itself seems to always have an awkward form.

Another day, another agave drive-by. This one I discovered on my own, on a street I drive regularly. How have I missed this? It's ginormous!

 Sadly there's a bit of an issue at the center.

I had to smile at their spine protection, it is very close to the sidewalk.

Hopefully the ugly spots at the center won't be fatal, but worst case scenario there's a nice sized pup waiting to take over.
I was so enthralled with the agave that I didn't notice the two plants behind it, up against the house, until editing my photos. On the left, maybe a leptospermum? Whatever it is appears to be rather unhappy with the cold. On the right is a Genista aetnensis doing the flopping thing that they seem to love to do (and why I no longer have one of them).

Their Metapanax delavayi looks like mine. Sad, burnt foliage.

Looking back towards the agave...

Nice form on the arctostaphylos, which looks oblivious to the cold. Not so for the eucalyptus though.

Will it pull thru? I have no idea.

Around the side of the house is this happy schefflera (S. delavayi I believe, or as it's now known Heptapleurum delavayi). So many seeds!

And a good sized patch of Tetrapanax papyrifer. It will be interesting to see of our tetrapanax around town are knocked back from the cold, or if they sprout from the top again this spring.

Another day, another adventure. I was definitely feeling the mental weight of the cold wet weather and garden damage, and so I hatched an escape plan. Not Hawaii, or Southern California, no the best I could do for an afternoon was a drive south to the greenhouses of Raintree Tropical in Silverton, Oregon. I first visited last spring and remember filing it away as a great winter-time destination. 

This interesting custom palm greenhouse was the first thing I noticed when I got out of my car. I wish I could tell you what's under there, I was told, but I don't remember.

My eyes say trachycarpus, but they're probably something more special than just straight Trachycarpus fortunei.

This big bad boy (Butia capitata? I really don't know my palms!) had a cover at his base, but a light-colored spear at the center and a couple of fronds on the ground. I hope it's okay.

Into the greenhouses! Cycads...

Spiky dyckia...

Summer! That's how it felt seeing at these Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii'.

This was a mystery to me. It was popping up in the pots of other plants.

Obviously a fern, and obviously a little "weedy"...

Ditto for this one. 

A friend good with ID thinks maybe Adiantum hispidulum? Seems like a good possibility to me.

It smelled green and alive in there... exactly what I needed.

I'm pretty sure I took a photo of this same staghorn fern the last time I visited. It's happy.

Callisia fragrans spreading its "wings". The plant starts from that green pot with the arrow, but heads out in all directions. Pretty fabulous.

Froggy! There were several, but I only got one photo.

Didn't get the name of the orchid, but there were a lot of blooms.

Yes, I came home with plants. The only one that was labeled was the Pyrrosia lingua bottom left. Clockwise from there is one of the weedy mystery ferns, a volunteer phlebodium and an unlabeled vriesea of some sort.

I put out a call on Facebook asking if anyone could name that fern, and James Andrew Gould came up with what I think is the winner, Pteris vittata. Is it hardy? Maybe. The helpful person working at Raintree said no, but there's a form on the Plant Delights website (Pteris vittata 'Benzilan') that they're claiming is hardy to Zone 7. There was a handsome clump growing epiphytically on the side of a fountain in one of the Raintree greenhouses. I'm a little obsessed...

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  1. The house you discovered looks like all the right practices; decent drainage from a slope, plants tucked in next to the house, and still the same results from that freak ice storm. So hard to draw lessons. I like the effect of the spilling callisia showing to much better advantage than as a GC in my LB garden. Can you imagine the business a big conservatory would get mid-winter in Portland? If only gardeners ruled the world...

    1. And cold, 12-15 as a low and under 32 for multiple days, that can be much more damaging than ice. Yes to a conservatory in Portland! Portland Botanical Garden where are you when we need you?

  2. Agave ovatifolia with ice and olives... an astonishing sight! (that almost sounds like a martini).
    Nothing like a Greenhouse Therapy (and a little shopping) to balance us out, shake off the blues, set us on a forward looking path.
    Whatever that mystery fern is, I'm convinced it will end up in one of your artistic up-cycled planters, and I can't wait to see it!

    1. You know how I think! Yes it's fun to contemplate how I will feature my new fern...

  3. Yay for cold-hardy agaves!!! I'm glad you found an indoor place to escape to. That must have been such a relief from all the brownness outside!

  4. A nursery with a covered greenhouse - the perfect escape! I'm impressed by the wandering Callisia fragrans. I wish mine would do that. However, the piece I stuck in a seashell in the company of an Aeonium months ago without soil is still looking fine, which also impresses me.

    1. The first Callisia fragrans I was given was accompanied with the words "this is as close a thing to a plastic plant there is"... meaning they will live in all sorts of situations were you wouldn't think they could. So true!

  5. I know a few agaves in my neck of the woods near E Burnside, curious to see how they hood up. My JC Raulston looked good, and after the ice melted I noticed two pups, which was as a needed morale boost. The metapanax in this post and your own have me hesitant to add on me to my yard, but I don’t want to walk away from these last two winters with the mindset that only zone 7 is worth getting. Fearless gardening, right?
    Jim N. Tabor

    1. Many Zone 7 plants were also damaged in my garden. It's so hard to move forward with any amount of confidence.

  6. Whoa, the ice necklace on the agave! Have to love the rough & tough feel of that. Just when you needed a fun outing, I'm glad there was a covered greenhouse to go to. And the little frog, so cute.

    1. I so wish frogs wanted to live in my garden...

    2. Right?! Never a single frog in 10 years in our last garden in Edmonds, WA. I think the groundwater was too toxic due to pesticide/herbicide use. I missed them so much. But here in Oregon we have a lot, and they've been singing loudly from all of the surrounding farm ponds for several weeks now. They are absent from our neighborhoods large catchment basin though...probably a lot of chemicals running into it from my neighbors lawns, and from the ongoing house building further uphill in the development.

  7. My wife and I have talked about going to Bauman Farms as a winter escape plan. If the plant filled greenhouses didn't improve your mood, the hard cider just might!

    1. That's another one on my list! It's a bit tidy though, Raintree has that over grown mystery vibe.

  8. Even here a winter conservatory visit is a delight. Instant transport to a different part of the planet.

    1. I lived just a couple of blocks from a great conservatory in Seattle, it made winter so much more bearable.

  9. Heptapleurum - what an awkward sounding name. Doesn't sound like it should belong to a plant. Hepta means seven (maybe referring to number of leaflets?), but pleurum... that's a head scratcher maybe meaning a thin surface layer - not sure what that refers to. Going to be hard to remember that name. I am surprised you don't have frogs. Your back garden seems like the perfect place for them. I wonder if they need more water? Ours have been singing along the creek at night for the last couple weeks.

    1. Agreed, which is why I rarely use that name, it's schefflera for me. Re: the frogs. I brought home tadpoles from Hughes water gardens, back when we had the stock tank pond. I made sure they had a way to get in and out. Nothing. I saw a frog once.


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