Friday, June 28, 2024

Dancing Oaks Nursery and Gardens, a long overdue visit

It's hard for me to believe, but my last visit to Dancing Oaks Nursery in Monmouth, Oregon, was way back in 2021—and it took place in April! Hardly prime gardening season. Back then I broke my visit report into two parts, the plants and the garden. This time there will be just one post, but it's a long one!

I visited on June 19th, the first plant I stopped to swoon over was this, Daphne x burkwoodii 'Briggs Moonlight'. I had one of these briefly, mine never looked this good.

Agave 'Blue Glow' and friends...

The extensive gardens at Dancing Oaks are used for many events, in fact I attended one back in 2018 when the Salem Study Weekend held a dinner party in the garden. While exploring the far side of the garden on this visit, I came upon this low stacked wall with it's planting pockets and a tall pedestal at the end.

Here it is again, but from the opposite side. Hard to get a good photo of, but really interesting to me.

Based on the bloom spike I think this is a Nolina of some sort.

But I can't ID it any better than that.

Such a happy patch of purple oxalis, which always reminds me of Austin, TX, where this plant seems to be growing in every garden.

The tall planted up containers dripping water in the display garden/pond just beyond the greenhouses are a favorite of mine, although they were hard to photograph in the bright sunny conditions on the day I visited (Tamara got much better photos during her visit in May, here).

I have no idea what this candy-cane colored flower is, but there was no missing it's colorful display...

Happy plants are swallowing the containers here...

When I walked around to the backside I discovered gunnera tall enough to stand under.

Spiky plants in containers on the other side of the pathway.

Puya × berteroniana

It was good to see the clay planter "wall" was still in place.

From the other side...

I would have thought xeric plantings would be at home in the clay pockets but this combo with Maihuenia poeppigii was the only such plant I saw in the mix.

There were multiple poppies in different colors and shapes but I loved this one best of all.
Cephalaria gigantea, perhaps? 

Arctostaphylos 'Elizabeth McClintock'

And a very low hanging Magnolia macrophylla flower.

To the dry garden now...

I was surprised the ghostly corpse of their bloomed agave was still there. I'm glad though, as it's pretty fabulous.

It's brothers and sisters (still very much alive) need to be freed from the overgrown euphorbia...

It's such a beautiful sight to see tall Eremurus in the landscape.

Pineapple broom, Argyrocytisus battandieri. It smells delicious!

Rhododendron 'Ebony Pearl' in great light.

Kalmia latifolia

I'm not fan of pink flowers, but this was hard to not photograph it looked so happy and abundant.

And there they are, my yucca friends!

Finally, it was time to shop...

I had completely forgotten about their greenhouse that collapsed during the January storm, here it is being rebuilt.

And here's a photo of it in January, photo borrowed from the Dancing Oaks Facebook page.

All but two of my purchased plants came from this greenhouse, signed as Jurassic Park.

It's also where the temping off-limits plants live.

Pteris wallichiana, still with it's Far Reaches Farm label stuck in the soil. I have one of these, also from Far Reaches, but it's just a tiny thing. Fingers crossed it might someday stand this tall.

Some folks claim the best way to grow Pyrrosia is in moss-lined hanging baskets, those plants weren't looking great though.

Ah! I was tempted, Microcachrys tetragona, the creeping strawberry pine. I love this plant so much, but I already have a couple so I didn't really need more.

Their stock plant of Parablechnum novae-zelandiae was a beauty.

The final shot I took during my visit, as I left the nursery...

I wish you could see all the mountains I saw. There were four of them off in the distance, all so big and white. Here you can barely make out Mt Adams (in Washington) above the metal fence post on the far left. I was also able to see Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson and what was probably Three Fingered Jack. It was an epic view.

Here's my haul, which also felt pretty epic.

Russelia x 'St. Elmo's Fire', aka firecracker plant. This one's only borderline hardy here at best, but I'll enjoy it as an annual cascading over the side of one of the driveway stock tanks.

Aristolochia sempervirens, evergreen Dutchman's pipe.

Aristolochia fimbriata, white-veined Dutchman's pipe.

A pair of Adiantum aleuticum 'Subpumilum'.

I may have squealed out loud when I spotted this one, Pleopeltis lepidopteris 'Morro dos Conventos', aka Brazilian hairy sword fern. I have one from Plant Delights (thanks to Heather who let me piggy-back on her order last year) but there's no way I was going to divide that plant to experiment with it in ground. Now I have three (3!) plants to play with and see how they do in my garden.

Lastly (but not leastly), a Parablechnum novae-zelandiae which is already in the ground. I've wanted one of these ever since seeing it at the Miller Garden north of Seattle. Fingers crossed it likes my conditions here in Portland.

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

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

An agave follow-up (whatever happened to?)

Last December I adopted a pair of agaves that had been languishing on a shelf without sunlight, soil, or water for over three years (a pandemic plant abandonment). This is what they looked like when I brought them home and first wrote about them, and yes, that basket is made of their roots.

At first I'd hoped to retain the root basket they'd been living off of, but it became obvious I could either save the plants or the "basket" not both.

Here's a shot of the tiny healthy roots that were pushing out of the base when I trimmed away all of the dead ones, and before I potted them up.

And here's what they looked like as they went to spend winter in the basement. They actually took a turn after this and looked even worse for a while.

But come early May, when they migrated outdoors, they were beginning to look like they were going to make it. The real test came in June when I pulled them out of their plastic pots to plant them in something patio-worthy. look at those new roots!

And fresh green leaves...

Here they are on the patio, pretty amazing recovery don't you think? How many other plants could hunker down and stay barely alive for three years with no inputs, and then make a recovery to look this good?

So you might be wondering, what agave species are they? I know I was. In the original post I mentioned Agave 'Blue Glow' and 'Burnt Burgundy' as possibilities, but it's obvious neither of those are right. After spending a little time looking for the answer on my own I decided to consult the human agave encyclopedia, my friend Gerhard. We back and forthed a few times and came up with, and eliminated several possibilities. In the end it was narrowed down to Agave chazaroi, not because either one of us is certain, but because it's the only one that isn't a sure no. Hopefully they'll soon outgrow the single pot I've got them both in, but for now it's nice to see them thriving again together (oh and yes, there is actually a third, one of them has a small pup).

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