Monday, July 15, 2024

It was a summer extravaganza!

Party invite, image borrowed from @cistusnursery 

Last Saturday there was a big party at Cistus Nursery. I didn't make it out to the island until early afternoon and the crowds had thinned a bit by then, but there were still a lot of people shopping and touring and having a grand time.


This was a great opportunity for people to see the garden around Sean and Preston's home, at the back of the nursery property—normally off limits.

Speaking of! There's Sean. He was looking quite festive and I didn't think to take his photo, so I'm using this one that @sauvieshrubs posted (they were a vendor at the event) and Cistus reposted.

The desert island bed was a big hit with the crowd, and for good reason, it was looking HOT! (and not just because the temps were in the mid-90's)

There were lots of food and plant vendors...

There's Nanthawat, manning both his @theothersidenursery table and that of @pdxplantpanions.

Matt and his spiky plant offerings, as well as a (mostly sold!) selection of his metal containers as seen on @aridalter.

Time to take a quick spin around the garden, I love the proportions of this Yucca rostrata and it's trunk/skirt.

Speaking of Yucca rostrata, the gang here looks like they're all trying to squeeze into the shade at the front of the house.

Agave x ocahuata 'Sun Glow', maybe?

Stipa barbata blooms, I think? (there was no grass nearby, just these glowing filaments)

I love these containers!


Pseudopanax crassifolius

And another fab container mix...

A tempting spot to spend the afternoon.

Tetrapanax at this height are so cute.

Agave x 'Ciela Linda'

Dreamy... 

Ditto

Looking back over my shoulder.

I won't lie, part of me still misses gatherings at Sean's old house/garden. But I can't imagine he and Preston's plant passion contained on that small urban lot ever again.

The crevice garden! No close-ups though as it was roped off to keep plant treasures safe on this very busy day.

On to the nursery proper!


Agave ferdinandi-regis 'Saltillo Splendor' (NFS, trust me, I've tried)

Training the opuntia?

Romneya coulteri

There was a plant purchases holding area in front of the retail nursery and I wandered up there just to see what was what. That's where I caught this kniphofia taking a nap.

So my haul! It was just four small plants, but a fabulous collection that I'm quite happy with.

From Cistus, Agave pelona, one I fell in love with thanks to Gerhard's coverage. This tiny plant is a long way from the massive beauties he's shared photos of but hopefully I can grow it on to a decent size.

Also from Cistus, Pseudopanax crassifolius

I was casually perusing the selection of these cool, but bizarre, plants when I pulled out this one already branching. Freaky! These are usually just a single stem until after flowering or some other drastic event (like last winter's cold on my Pseudopanax ferox), sold!

From Dan Hinkley/Windcliff Plants (I asked Dan to being these down for me); Cheilanthes argentea "A handsome dwarf species from a wide range throughout Eurasia, with clever three-lobed triangular fronds backed in silvery white, excellent for crevices or ancient rock walls should you find one in your garden, or in any humusy rich soils in full sun or partial shade with adequate drainage. Spore raised at Windcliff, ours cultivated in a hollowed log."

That silvery white back...

And, because I'm a sucker for a blechnum, Blechnum sp. #3; "From the spore bank of the British Pterological Society, with no collection data, I will confess to knowing virtually nothing about this fern other than, yes, it does appear to be a Blechnum, a genus from which I have never met a species I dislike. And, of course, it is Numero Trio. You might easily enough bet on shade and evenly moist soils." Fun!

Finally a bonus video that has absolutely nothing to do with the fun event with Cistus, but it certainly is the very definition of a summer extravaganza! My blooming Disocactus ackermannii (possible ID from Kris) was a floral explosion over the weekend...

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Friday, July 12, 2024

That was a hot one (a weather and garden report)

This post is simply an excuse to share photos of the garden and talk about how hot it's been. Since you're all gardeners I trust you'll understand. Of course our heat is nothing compared to what friends elsewhere have been experiencing (Gerhard in Davis for example). Yet the assumption that the Pacific Northwest is a land of benign, "goldilocks" temperatures—where it's never too hot or too cold—needs challenging now and again.

Above, Artemisia versicolor 'Sea Foam' mixing with Juniperus conferta 'Blue Pacific' in my front garden. 

So how hot was it? The breakdown for Portland; July 4th was a nice 92F, Friday the 5th temperatures increased to 99, Saturday 99, Sunday 100, Monday 102 and Tuesday 104. The heatwave broke on Wednesday and the temperatures moderated, topping out at 93. Over the course of the event Portland broke five consecutive record highs and tallied three record warm nights (lows). For those of us who like it warm and also have air conditioning it wasn't bad. For those who do not have a/c (the majority of homes here I'm afraid) and/or have to be outdoors for extended periods of time, it was brutal. 

There are many blooms on my recently acquired Aristolochia sempervirens. ..

After 5? 4? 6? years, Clematis 'Polish Spirit' finally has its first blooms. Since I regularly kill clematis, the fact this thing is even still alive is a miracle.

Same plant, but a backlit five-petal bloom.

I plopped down on the lawn and was pulling some Lysimachia nummularia gone wild (it's a weedy ground cover, but I still like it), when I took the next five shots. Rhododendron williamsianum...

Blooming Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens', the lysimachia, and Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'.

Berberis triacanthophora 'Cally Rose'

And part of my "taboret", aka vignette in the corner of the upper back garden...

I'Conia Portofino Dark Orange Begonia

Watering containers near the front door I noticed three different yellow blooming plants doing their thing, Bletilla ochracea ‘Chinese Butterfly’.

NoID opuntia...

And a volunteer verbascum seedling...

I even managed to fit them all in the same photograph.

I thought for sure all the buds on the opuntia would open with the heat, but they did not. The one that did open closed up an orange tone. I love it!

Watering in the back garden leads to some plants weighted down and lying across pathways, like this Syneilesis aconitifolia.

Passiflora lutea is on the march up the tallest trachycarpus trunk.


Coniogramme emeiensis 'Golden Zebra' likes the heat.

Sadly the Yucca filamentosa flowers have been pushed along quicker than normal with the high temperatures, and a couple stems have toppled over with all the weight. Thankfully I have some heavy-duty vases and we're enjoying them indoors.

You might remember the pair of all-yellow Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' I've shown in the past? One of them died last January, with the cold, however the other has been doing great.  

I am worried it may take a turn though, since the mama plant is in flower. These yucca are monocarpic and eventually die after blooming. I'm concerned the all-yellow plant won't be able to live on without help from mom.

Love those flowers.

The tall front-garden Tetrapanx papyrifer have recovered from winter's ugly.

Arctostaphylos 'Austin Griffiths' bark peel, always gorgeous. 

Back at the front of the house to admire the Agave ovatifolia. I was concerned the one closest to the steps was on it's way out after winter 2022/23, but it is still going strong. A couple leaves are yellowing, but overall the plant is looking good.

Last week I mentioned there was going to be an orchid bloom, and here it is!

Crazy looking thing.

The Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' that we cut back in February has sprouted back with a full head of hair, and then some. I'd planned to thin out the sprouts and then realized they were providing some pretty dense shade, better to wait until after the heat passed.

Shade for the hanging staghorn ferns that is.

Across the lawn is the one plant I covered with a protective layer of shade screen, the Aechmea fasciata ‘Primera’ looked a little bleached out after our first 99F day so I kept it covered thru the heat. The chair is shading a smaller bromeliad closer to the ground.

Just behind the bromeliad bowl (above), a mash-up of Calluna vulgaris Sempervivum flowers and an Agave ovatifolia.

Ah, Hibiscus syriacus 'Red Heart' is blooming! This and the yucca mark mid July in my garden. It loves the heat...

Okay, just a few ugly bits to close out this post. This Pyrrosia hastata did not like the heat. Not one bit. I thought it was the afternoon sun that was getting it but nope, even with a bit of shade cloth it still looked sad.

Thankfully it revived and lookes good in the morning.

This patch of Saxifraga urbium 'Aureopunctata' got a little toasted. All I can think is that the  larger canopy of  Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' used to provide just enough dappled shade to keep it happy.

Ditto for the Saxifraga x geum 'Dentata'.

One more sad saxifrage, this one is the worst, poor thing. 

There were a few other crispy leaves here and there, and a brown frond on the tree fern (Dicksonia antarctica), but all in all my garden did fine through the heat. Our forecast for the week ahead is high 80's and low 90's with cool nights.  I wonder what the rest of summer will bring?

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