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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  1. Dang, so many great things here. The crinkly goodness of Adiantum aleuticum 'Subpumilum'! I do love Russelia. The poppy I can't even believe, it looks like it was so perfectly cut from paper. Great visit.

    1. Yes! That poppy reminded my of the paper flowers I used to make. Kinda unreal, and yet...

  2. Hooray for visiting Dancing Oaks! So glad you had the opportunity and that you found a Parablechnum novae-zelandiae. I thought our group bought them out but it looks like you found the best one. And the Pleopeltis lepidopteris 'Morro dos Conventos' - I did not see that or I would have added it to my haul. Thanks for the tour of an always fabulous nursery. Great haul!

    1. There were a couple of good Parablechnum novae-zelandiae and I had a tough time choosing!

  3. It's a wonderful nursery/garden! You picked up a nice haul of plants too. I loved the watermelon-pink poppy (not that I have much luck growing them) and the magnificent Rhododendron 'Ebony'. I'm already wondering if I could replicate a version of that clay planter wall in my garden.

    1. Yes you could... where would you put it?

  4. AnonymousJune 28, 2024

    The candy cane colored flower is Gladiolus cardinals

    1. Thank you! I searched through many gladiolus images but never got to one that looked right.

  5. Aw, had I known you were heading over, you could have dropped by if you wanted. We're a few minutes drive away from D.O. I bought two of the same plants a few weeks ago myself - the Aristolochia sempervirens and the Adiantum aleuticum 'Subpumilum'. Love how the bloomed out dead agave looks like the most awesome goth wedding dress ever. Had Fred been there, I am sure you would have been treated to a tour of the hundreds of new varieties and species of manzanitas they are trialing as well as their new rock garden around the house.

    1. It was a Wednesday, during the day, so I assumed you would be at work--but that would have been fun! I did only talk with Leonard, no Fred, but I would have loved to see the rock garden.

  6. AnonymousJune 29, 2024

    How badly do I want to pop a little potted A. vilmoriana in that bloomed out agave? Presto flamenco!

    1. That would be fun, but since it's not hardy in this part of the world maybe an Agave bracteosa instead?

  7. AnonymousJune 29, 2024

    Eremurus in full glory: a sight of awe and anguish in almost equal measure: I haven't been successful with this lovely spire. Yet.
    I love every one of your fern purchase; excellent picks.

    1. I had a couple eremurus that did okay in my garden, but I just can't devote that much space to something that disappears for most of the year.

  8. AnonymousJune 29, 2024

    A great haul! I saw your Russellia equisetiformis with envy: I brought one back from Los Osos a few years ago and hoped it would survive the Astoria winter in a large pot with a few other friends, but sadly, no. Yours will enjoy the good summer life in your garden, for sure.
    Jane / MulchMaid

    1. It's such a great visual plant... and just thing, you'll be able to enjoy them with ease in Los Osos soon!

  9. I am back in Hooray! I have missed being able to participate in the discussions. Dancing Oaks looks like an incredible garden/nursery. You are very lucky to have such great plant places so close.

    1. Yay! It's great to have you back. I love Dancing Oaks, but at 1hr and 38 min I don't think of them as being close. Then again, I guess they're closer to me than to you....


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