Friday, May 31, 2024

There was visit to Rare Plant Research (plants were purchased)

The Rare Plant Research (RPR) open house came around again on the 3rd weekend of May, as it always does. I've attended this event almost every year since buying our house (garden) in 2005. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to attend this year, so I hadn't talked to Peter, aka The Outlaw Gardener, aka my bougainvillea fairy-godfather, and my regular partner in RPR "crime" about going with me. I was feeling a little blue about that, and then I walked into the first greenhouse and this greeted me.

It was a floral hug from Peter, and exactly what I needed.

This bizarre traction device was the next thing I saw. I think it's meant as a trellis for the dragon fruit?

The bromeliad stash is shrinking. I shop from this every year, buying at least one...

This year was no different, this blooming (and pupping) beauty came home with me.

This stopped me in my tracks, what the heck? That's a bizarre bromeliad bloom.

Ha, nope. Just a friend who needs a little support.

Love the many pots of Eucomis and their varied colors.

And I think I always photograph these Kniphofia.

My two favorite overheard quotes of this visit (listening to other people is one of my favorite things to do at RPR) were: "I didn't know those would grow here!" (I always have an extensive inner monologue with this one, do I tell them it's not gonna be hardy in the ground? Or let them learn on their own?) and then later a young fellow exclaimed (with an incredulous tone) "But I’m not a zone pusher anymore". 

Since I was there at opening on Saturday the line to purchase was long, so I stashed my plants and walked up to check out the garden around the owner's home and their winery Villa Catalana Cellars.

Crossing the parking area this cute little ride caught my eye, once I spotted the Washington plates and the Lewisia in the back window I realized it belonged to friends that I'd chatted with at the nursery. What it lacks in plant-hauling space it certainly makes up for in charm.

I do love the over-the-top plant drama Burl creates around his home. There is nothing else like it in the area.

The bromeliads (above) are sunk into the landscape each spring, I assume the agaves are here year-round.

Echium wildpretii

Inside the conservatory the bromeliad and tillandsia wall seems to be shrinking. Is it wrong to take solace in the fact I am not the only one who loses these plants over time?

A final look across the (man/Burl-made) lake at the home...

And now we've fast-forwarded to my home and my new plants in their paces. The colorful bromeliad is the one from RPR and helped to fill this new container in my SW corner...

... and a couple of pups help to spiff up the two older containers on the left.

This extremely congested little Nepenthes...

... and this colorful sarracenia...

Are new RPR additions to my collection of carnivorous plants. I'm feeling rather smug that all the plants I bought had homes waiting for them and are already tucked in.

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

...and then a big box of plants showed up

Earlier this spring I replied to an email asking if I would be interested in receiving some plants to trial, I said yes—and then promptly forgot all about it. Fast forward to last week, I was working in the garden and heard a commotion in the driveway. I came around the corner to see Fed Ex had dropped a large box on the back porch, a box with two very exciting words on the side of it...LIVE PLANTS!

But Dümmen Orange, who the heck is Dümmen Orange? Well, since you asked...

..."Dümmen Orange is a leading global breeder and propagator of flowers and plants, offering an impressive patented portfolio of crops and varieties to growers, wholesalers and retailers around the world. With a legacy more than a century in the making, a world-class R&D team, and a diversified network of owned propagation sites supported by a global supply chain, Dümmen Orange is the trusted source for industry expertise and breeding advancement. Dümmen Orange has its headquarters in De Lier (the Netherlands) and employs 6,600 people worldwide." (source)

Here's what was inside that box...

It looks like a bunch of tasty boxed salads for a catered lunch, don't you think? But when you lift one of those plastic (recyclable plastic) trays out, this is what you see...

There were 24 plants total, 2 each of:
  • Begonia I’Conia® Portofino Dark Orange | 50882
  • Calibrachoa Bloomtastic Blue Sky | 44049
  • Coleus Down Town™ Dallas | 71172 
  • Coleus Down Town™ Port Fairy | 71086
  • Cuphea Lavender | 71901
  • Dipladenia Flordenia™ White Halo | 51176
  • Petunia DuraBloom® Red 2025 | 41740
  • Petunia Potunia®  Black Satin (Intrinsa®) | 39918
  • Pelargonium Big EEZE Pink Batik | 20826
  • Pelargonium Glory Days Red Orange Bicolor | 21275
  • Scaevola Scala Cappello White | 72985
  • Verbena Empress® Sun Kiss Blue | 42488
These are some of their "new varieties" of annuals for 2025 (more info). Here's what they looked like when I had them all unpacked, before I gave them a good spray with the hose. Not bad for being boxed up and traveling 100s of miles...

Coleus Down Town™ Port Fairy | 71086, Scaevola Scala Cappello White | 72985, and Coleus Down Town™ Dallas | 71172

Petunia Potunia®  Black Satin (Intrinsa®) | 39918

Petunia DuraBloom® Red 2025 | 41740

Are you a little perplexed by those names? I know I was. Since I'm not really an "annuals" kind of gardener (more on that in a minute), I immediately took to the internet to learn more about these plants. And I hit a bit of a wall. The names are kind of an alphabet soup with numbers attached. Take Dipladenia Flordenia™ White Halo | 51176. I eventually found reference to this as a Mandevilla hybrid...ah. Okay, yay, I know what a Mandevilla is. There are so many words in each name, most of which mean nothing to me (Bloomtastic, DuraBloom®, Intrinsa®, Big EEZE Pink Batik) it's hard to know which ones are referring to the actual plant and which ones are company-specific lingo.

This is the first time I've ever agreed to receive a shipment of trial plants like this. Why? Well because I'm picky. I don't like most garden center flowering annuals meant to go into a mixed container plantings for the summer. I didn't want to receive a box of plants that I didn't like and then feel like I was honor-bound to write about and grow them. So what made me say yes this time? Honestly it was only because someone I know, and have met in-person (and grows the only lavender that I have in my garden), recommended me. 

So were there any plants in the shipment that I'm excited about? Yes actually. Out of the 12 different kinds they sent there are 3 that I'm definitely going to keep and grow in my garden, that's not a bad showing really, a 25% success rate! One of the winners is this Begonia I’Conia® Portofino Dark Orange | 50882. I love the foliage...

And that bright orange flower will be a fun pop of color in the back garden.

Sadly the only plant that was trashed in shopping was the second begonia (remember they sent 2 of each). Hopefully it will bounce back.

I'm also keeping the mandevilla hybrids, I've always wanted to grow a mandevilla so this will be my opportunity to experiment.

I wish I'd got the red velvet (visible at the bottom, below) instead of the white halo but heck, you get what you pay for right?

I am most excited about this one, the  Cuphea Lavender | 71901. Those little leaves on the dark stems and tiny purple flowers... I love it, although again I wish I knew more. From the wiki: "Cuphea is a genus containing about 260 species of annual and perennial flowering plants native to warm temperate to tropical regions of the Americas. The species range from low-growing herbaceous plants to semi-woody shrubs up to 2 m tall.

The information Dümmen Orange has available tells me nothing about how hardy this plant is. Is it a true annual? Might it live over in my zone? I am perplexed by how hard it is to learn more about these plants. I appreciate the chance to grow them, but I want to really know what it is that I'm growing.

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Back to Bella Madrona (10 years after the PDX Fling)

The final stop during the 2014 Garden Blogger's Fling in Portland was the garden of Sampson and Beasley, aka Bella Madrona...

That evening (with nearly 100 other Garden Bloggers, a couple of pugs, a charming bus driver and our fantastic host, Geof Beasley) lives very large in my memory—it was the perfect ending to an excellent event. I visited Bella Madrona again earlier this month, with a group from the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon

It was great to be back and to compare what the garden looks like now, to how I remember it back in 2014. Ten years is a long time in a garden! (also, I cannot believe that the Portland Fling was ten years ago. How is that possible?)

There's Geof in the green t-shirt, touring part of our group around the garden.

My Daphne x houtteana bit the dust last summer, I'm glad that Geof's is still doing well.

In case you've never heard of it, Bella Madrona is a private garden about 20 miles south of Portland. Back in the day it was the location of many a party featuring the band Pink Martini (who wrote and performed the song I linked to at the top of this post). It's approximately 5 acres and was created by Geof and his late partner James Sampson beginning 40+ years ago. I went rather photo heavy in today's post, so I'm going to go light on the text, just enjoy the garden!

Nolina hibernica 'La Siberica'

The gnomes were out to greet people who make it into the lower part of the garden.

The gnome population has exploded since my last visit. A welcome development after some vile individuals trashed the gnome woods several years ago.

This one was my favorite.

Having left the gnomes behind...

Those who attended the Portland Fling surely have fun memories of the swing that, well, swings out over the ravine. Sadly it was not open for business on this visit.

I've finished walking the garden at this point and it's time to join my fellow visitors for some tasty nibbles and wine on the lawn...
...there were also pug snuggles. That's me and Olive. She was just a 2-year old pup during the Fling visit, now she's a 12-year old senior citizen. 

As is her brother Caper. 

A sunny May afternoon in a beautiful garden with friends and pugs, what could be better?

—   —   —

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.