Visiting Cistus and Garden Fever

On Wednesday I spent some time at Cistus Nursery. I'm frequently there, but rarely have time to relax and take pictures. Silly me, though, I had forgotten my real camera, so please excuse the blurry photos from my phone. 
Amaryllis belladonna blooming under a Cercis occidentalis near the front entrance.
 I forgot to photograph the label of this Corokia, so I don't remember which one it is. Mostly I just wanted to test the camera on my phone, but I do like the zigzag stems of this strange shrub.

I love Leucodendron. I plan to add two or three to the plants that will be packed into the greenhouse. Leucodendron 'Summer Red', shown below, may be a contender for one of those spots.

My own attempts to propagate Glumicalyx gosseloides have met with rather limited success, though I've noted some roots forming on the older branches of my plant. Luckily, Cistus has it in 4-inch and gallon containers.

Crinodendron hookerianum is one of those plants I've been hopelessly in love with for many years. I say hopelessly because it's only hardy to USDA zone 8b, and even then is best placed in the most sheltered spot you can manage. If I lived along the southern Oregon coast, I'd have these everywhere. Even a mild garden somewhere around Puget Sound would be enough for me to try one. But I was amazed at the number of flower buds on these gallon-size plants. If they can bloom like that in a gallon container, perhaps I could keep one in the greenhouse over winter...

Eucryphia are great small trees for the Pacific Northwest, if you choose the right cultivar and have a spot in your garden protected from the hot summer sun that stays moist. Most of them are very narrow and upright, lending themselves to smaller gardens. Along with attractive, glossy foliage, they produce beautiful white flowers in late summer. The cultivar below, Eucryphia x nymansensis 'Mt. Usher', is hardy to at least zone 8a, with some sources claiming 7b. I have what I think is a great spot for them, with open shade protected to the south by tall Douglas firs, keeping the soil cooler in summer than the rest of the garden, and it's about the only area of the yard that stays green all summer, so there's water there somewhere. It's also most definitely clay soil, but that's ok. Eucryphia are also tolerant of heavy soils! One of my three Embothrium coccineum is growing in this area and is by far the happiest of the three. I figure that if one Chilean plant is happy there, another will be, too! I want to try three or four different eucryphias in that area.

Leptospermum namadgiensis is one of my favorite tea trees. Not only is it one of the hardiest, it has this beautiful pealing bark that shows tan, green, and orange. The bark in the photo below has darkened from the initial colors when it started pealing. I also think this species has one of the best foliage scents, too. I'll definitely be adding a few of these to the garden this fall.

 Cercocarpus betuloides is a new plant to me. This drought tolerant Western native is evergreen and grows to 15 feet tall by 8-12 feet wide. A Google image search shows large shrubs or small trees with beautiful branching habits. The seeds bare long, feathery plumes that can make the entire plant look silvery in the fall landscape. I'm thinking I'll need one of these in my yard this fall.

I've been on the lookout for broadleaf trees with blue or silver foliage, especially deciduous ones. I was delighted to make the acquaintance of Quercus douglasii Cache Creek. Beautiful, fuzzy blue foliage, drought tolerance, super cold tolerance (to zone 5), and only gets 20-30 feet tall. I will most definitely be planting some of these this fall.

There was, of course, much more to see, but I became too absorbed in looking at the plants to take pictures. I was also busy visiting with a group that had come up from Corvallis to tour the nursery, and listening to Sean Hogan share some of his vast horticultural knowledge. So what did I buy? Since I'm there every week, I know I'll be able to get most things later when I'm ready to plant this fall. I had to grab my Crinodendron, though. I meant to wait until I saw how much room there would be in the greenhouse this fall, but I saw someone else buy one and suddenly panicked. I had to make sure I got the one I wanted, so it came home with me and is currently on the deck at the north end of the house, out of the drying southern wind.

I love those big, fleshy red lantern flowers! They're just so exotic. My new Crinodendron is absolutely loaded with buds. Hopefully I can keep it happy and they will all bloom.

Thanks to a post by Danger Garden, I had to make a stop at Garden Fever to pick up one of their orange-flowered Rhododendron cinnabarinum in 4-inch pots. It's been on my wishlist for years, but the only other nursery I know of that carries it is always out of stock. Of course, I had to look around while I was there...

Sorry for the blurry photo. It really doesn't do this Aloe cooperi justice. It was a beautiful plant, especially the spotting near the base, but I managed to pass it by.
 After that, I went into serious shopping mode and neglected to take any more pictures. This was my second visit to Garden Fever, and it ended up almost as dangerous as the first. Unlike Cistus, which I visit regularly and feel more comfortable waiting to buy things until fall, I rarely go into Portland to visit nurseries like Garden Fever, making my "need" to buy things I want more immediate. Here's what I came out with:

Funny how that happens. I only meant to get the Rhododendron cinnabarinum, and possibly a Rhodoendron sinogrande, which I did. Here is R. sinogrande on the left and R. cinnabarinum on the right. The foliage of the latter is more blue than this photo shows. I've actually been feeling my rhody lust waning in light of the heat and drought over these last two summers, but these two are high enough on my wishlist, and were only $4.99 each! How could I pass that up? I still have room in the newer rhody border, and the moist area in front of it.
I love cyclamen and will snatch up a species I don't have when the opportunity presents itself, which isn't often. I have C. hederifolium and C. coum, but did not have C. purpurascens. Oh, look! Garden Fever has a tray full of lovely examples of that species, like the all-silver example shown below. This species is hardy to at least zone 6, with claims down to zone 3, and can bloom from June to September. It also stays evergreen, unlike most hardy Cyclamen, provided it gets regular summer water. This will make it a great companion in my rhododendron borders.

Cyclamen produce seed more reliably when you have more than one plant, so of course I had to get two. I selected this one for the different leaf pattern, to increase the potential variation in the seedlings.

They also differ in flower color and size. The silver one has lighter, slightly smaller flowers while the second has larger, darker flowers. Though this species is known for its strong scent, a rarity among cyclamen, I only detect a faint, though pleasant, smell.

 Of course, I stumbled across several other plants on my wishlist. Garden Fever seems to have a remarkable knack for carrying things I've been looking for, especially ones just recently added to my list. In the foreground of the photo below are three Penstemon pinifolius 'Melon' from Xera. I had almost settled on the regular red form of this species for the driveway island makeover, but I had a vision in my mind after seeing 'Melon' in a post by Tamara of Chickadee Gardens, covering the garden of Paul Bonine. I carefully selected these three plants out of the others because they have all rooted along the stems sufficiently for me to divide the three into six, possibly more.

Also a fairly recent addition to my wishlist, Geranium harveyi has gorgeous evergreen foliage. Or, more appropriately, ever-silver. The leaves, barely an inch across, are an almost molten silver. This South African geranium is hardy to zone 7 and forms a mat less than a foot tall, spreading to 3 feet or more. It tends to weave through other plants. After my success with Geranium robustum, I'm ready to try another South African geranium.

The fuzzy, blue-green leaves below belong to Origanum dictamnus, commonly known as dittany of Crete. It pairs beautifully with Carex testacea. I love it and I'm already wishing I had purchased more than one. What was I thinking? I'm already planning to take cuttings next year. The flowers are smaller and more airy than 'Kent Beauty' oregano and the foliage is much better in my opinion. larger, fuzzy, and more blue, they are also slightly succulent and have a stronger scent. From the information I've been able to find, this subshrub is evergreen in mild climates while in colder areas it dies to the ground and returns in spring. Since it's only hardy to zone 7, my garden might be cold enough that it dies back in winter. We shall see.


Comments

  1. That's a cool Origanum, I might have to look for that one., especially since you said it has more of a scent than others. Do they have Leucodendron for sale at Cistus? I was there last weekend and didn't see any.

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    1. It at least has a stronger scent than Origanum 'Kent Beauty', though not as strong as culinary oregano. Cistus has a handful of Leucadendron out in the retail area. There are more in the production houses, waiting to be propagated...

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  2. I wonder if starting small like that would give sinogrande a better chance of thriving. Ours survives, but just. You have me pining for a visit to Garden Fever.

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    1. We shall see! What I really need to do is get screening plants put in along the fence to the south of where I plan to grow it. My Rhododendron rex doesn't like the dry summer wind that sneaks in under the Douglas firs. I can't imagine sinogrande will either.

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  3. You guys are so lucky to have so many great nurseries within easy reach :)

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    1. The Portland folks are the really lucky ones, aside from having to live and drive in Portland. I have to drive over an hour to get to these places.

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  4. I'm so glad you made it to Garden Fever. I thought about offering to pick up that Rhody for you but knew you'd probably want to see it (and everything else) for yourself.

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    1. I thought about asking you to, but came to the same conclusion. ;) The extras were so worth it, especially the geranium and penstemon.

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  5. Great haul Evan! So glad you got that rhododendron as I thought it was gorgeous in Loree's post! Crinodendron is fabulous! Mine have made it through several winters with no more than a bit of leaf burn in one of the really cold winters. Somehow I missed something. Why are you so lucky as to be at Cistus every week?

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    1. All that dense foliage in your garden and your proximity to the Sound protects things like Crinodendron from the dry Arctic blasts that hit my garden so much harder. Still, I've been tempted to believe reports of greater hardiness. Maybe I'll grow it in a container until it gets too big and then I'll try it in the ground. I'm working at Cistus part time as a propagator.

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  6. $5 rhododendrons! I'd probably buy them too, even knowing they're virtually impossible to grow here. You got a nice assortment of interesting plants - kudos!

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    1. They were impossible to resist! Thanks!

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  7. The Leucodendron is beautiful, even though I'm not at all familiar with it. Or the Crinodendron hookerianum for that matter, but I love those hanging flowers. It's exciting you can now buy these keep those in your green house. I thought of you and this post the other day when I spotted a ghosty-leaf Cyclamen. I was going to get it, but then forgot. How did that happen? I'll just have to go back and get it.

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    1. That Cyclamen is probably wondering why it was left behind. You'll have to go back and bring it home!

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