A Stop at Garland Nursery

Last Monday I had reason to visit Oregon State University in Corvallis. Since I was driving down there anyway I looked up possible nurseries to visit on the way back home. I only had time for one, and I had heard about Garland Nursery many times from local gardening programs and commercials on TV, so that was my stop. My decision was made easier by the fact that most of the others I would have liked to visit were closed that day. Otherwise it could have been rather gut-wrenching.

Garland is a fairly large retail nursery with a decent selection of landscape plants and a few unusual selections tossed in here and there. It isn't chock-full of geek-worthy plants like some other nurseries I know of, but it has some good, tried-and-tested plants for PNW gardens.

The entrance gives only a hint of the expanse of plants inside the nursery.

This is my first real-life encounter with the "it" plant for 2014, x Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame'. 

I know these flowers aren't open, but I still don't really see what all the fuss is about. Personally I think I'd prefer trying the much hardier Digitalis obscura.

I did appreciate the large signage that was easy to read from a distance. Quite useful in navigating a large nursery like this.

Another first face-to-face for me, Omphalodes. I'm a sucker for blue, so I definitely need to find a place to include this in my garden.

I appreciate heaths (Erica spp.) and heathers (Calluna vulgaris) for their easy culture, deer-resistance, often long bloom times, and wide array of foliage color. In this case the dark violet color of Erica cineraria 'C.D. Eason' caught my attention. Most of my current heaths are winter blooming, but 'C.D. Eason'  blooms from June through September. 

I am greatly tempted by the recent influx of new hardy gardenias, all improvements over 'Kleim's Hardy'.  The large, lush leaves of Gardenia Summer Snow look almost tropical. I could even overlook the infuriating cultivar name 'BAB1183' which, by the way, wasn't included anywhere on the label. Luckily the trademark name is included in the patent record, but that isn't Garland's fault. It's the fault of the wholesale grower who had the labels made. 

Personally I prefer the finer texture of Gardenia 'Frostproof' (which does seem to be the actual cultivar name, though it doesn't appear to have been properly registered.

I'm increasingly interested in evergreen Vaccinium species (blueberries and huckleberries), like this Vaccinium glauco-album.

I love rhododendrons with a generous helping of fur (tomentum) on their new growth. This one is 'Ken Janeck'.

Speaking of furry, Hydrangea aspera subsp. sargentiana is super fuzzy. I might even try testing this hydrangea's whiskers against the deer. 

A lovely display of dwarf conifers held hidden treasures.

I loved the bristly texture of this Picea sitchensis 'Papoose'. 

Hidden among the Lilliputian forest was a young giant (well, relatively speaking), the Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca' which I featured in this post. While the blue form of Chinese fir may grow a little slower than the green form, I'm not sure why it was placed with the dwarf conifers. It can still grow more than a foot per year.

Several shrubs caught my attention, though I didn't necessarily have an idea of where to use them at present, so all I brought back with me of these was pictures.
Carpenteria californica, a beautiful evergreen shrub with attractive white flowers.

Azara serrata Andean Gold. Doesn't appear to have a cultivar name, just the trademark, and one has to wonder whether there is anything really superior about this selection over the typical species other than the fact that it's backed by a famous horticulturist. Hey, behave yourself, blogger! Seriously, though, no offense intended.

Yet another first time in real life with Stachyurus salicifolia. Love the texture of the leaves!

Garland Nursery is also host to the retail location for Wee Tree Nursery, a wholesale grower specializing in bonsai and bonsai supplies.

Among the wide array of gorgeous bonsai and starter plants was this Satsuki azalea. I've been obsessed with multicolored azaleas since seeing a picture of a coral and white one in a bonsai book. 

In the houseplant section, I found a few cacti, succulents, and (just for a certain friend) the one agave in the whole nursery.

I enjoyed perusing the plants at Garlands. It's a great nursery for people who live in the area or if you're passing through, and I am a little jealous that I don't have a nursery like this less than an hour from where I live. That said, it's not what I would call a "destination" nursery that one would plan a trip around.


  1. Looks like they have a fair bit of treasures there, and lucky to spot another C. lanceolata 'Glauca'!

    1. Oh, actually that is the same one. This is where I bought it. I didn't make that very clear. I meant this is literally the same individual plant that I featured as my favorite.

  2. So happy you found the one agave, and it's a good one too. Also nice to know I'm not the only one who isn't head over heels in love with the "it" plant of the year...

    1. Hehe, you and I can be rebels together (but seperately, I value my individuality).

  3. Hi Evan, You were down in my country! Although I'm not an employee of OSU (I work for a private research firm) I work on the OSU campus. I drive by Garland Nursery every morning. Your assessment is spot-on. It's a nice nursery but definitely more run of the mill. Not a lot of unusual plants and the prices are a little on the higher side. Too bad you couldn't head up Highway 99 and stop at Dancing Oaks. Now there's a destination! I love your humor and hint of skepticism where marketing and big horticulturist names are concerned. I'm the same way. :) (Oh and thanks for the heads up on the hover fly.)

    1. I would have loved to stop at Dancing Oaks. In fact I may have done a little dance when I saw I'd be in that area. Sadly they are closed for shipping on Mondays. I don't have any patience with marketing nonsense and I'm a total nomenclature Nazi. If it's really a unique selection then it should have a cultivar name. Not that I mean any insult to that certain famous horticulturist. ;)

      I did a little research for that hover fly bit. I knew it was a hover fly but I didn't know their larvae ate aphids. We both learned something!

  4. I can't say I've been anything but impressed by all the PNW nurseries I see in posts by those of you lucky enough to live up that way but I do understand the distinction between good nurseries and special ones. Re the Digiplexis, I'd say that one of its best qualities is its durability - it was untouched by even our 2 miserable heatwaves, which I can't say for many of the plants in my garden, even those reputed to be heat and drought tolerant.

    1. We are so spoiled here regarding nurseries. Heat waves aren't usually a problem here, with the notable exception of this year, but I can see how the Digiplexis would be extremely valuable in gardens further south, particularly with its more classic English garden look, as opposed to most xeriscape plants that, while attractive, don't have that same feel.

  5. Thanks for the laugh (famous horticulturist!) Danger always says that it you look hard enough, there's always an agave. We are pretty darned lucky to have so many nurseries in our region aren't we. Looks like a fun place to visit.

    1. My pleasure. Watch, I'll get the chance to meet him and he'll have just come across this post. Can you imagine the awkwardness?


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