I'm also linking with Anna of Flutter & Hum for Wednesday Vignette. Be sure to click over to her blog to see other beautiful vignettes. Any one of the following images could serve as an inspiring vignette, but my official contribution can be found at the end of this post.
The first greenhouse is a little lean-to attached to the garage. Looks like it's used mostly for repotting and storage. It looks as if that acanthus is waiting at the door to invite people in. A ray of sun shining at the top of the door serves as the "open" sign.
Next is the vireya house. This is how I first learned of the Gerdemann Botanic Preserve. I was reading about vireya rhododendrons and kept coming across the name, "Jim Gerdemann," and later on I found mention of the preserve. The climate of Yachats, OR, is well-suited to growing these tropical rhododendrons.
|This attractive structure comes complete with a license plate proclaiming its contents.|
Wait, tropical and Oregon Coast don't usually go together, do they? Well, they do if the tropics in question are cloud forests. Not all tropics are hot. The mountains of Papua New Guinea and other islands in South East Asia and the Pacific reach heights where the temperature rarely surpasses 60 degrees Fahrenheit. But, being in the tropics, it also never freezes save at the very highest elevations, where a very light radiation frost can occur frequently. Radiation frosts form on clear nights with little or no wind, but the air temperature may not actually be at the freezing point. The generally mild temperatures and almost daily mists along the Oregon Coast make it one of the best places in the contiguous United States to grow these high elevation tropical rhododendrons.
|A large, fragrant vireya hybrid, likely involving species such as R. leucogigas, R. konori, or R. superbum.|
|The plants in the greenhouse are overgrown, making a jungle-like tangle with flowers visible through the canopy.|
|An opening in the canopy revealed this lovely truss almost reaching a beam in the roof.|
|Can't you just imagine stretching out on the floor, and then waking up in the morning to curl up on that bench with a warm cup of coffee with the cacti?|
Several specimens of Embothrium coccineum, the Chilean flame tree, are scattered about the garden. This individual has formed an entire grove by itself. What, don't you have a grove of Embothrium in your garden? No? Pity. I don't either. Memory is already becoming warped by imagination, but I still feel comfortable claiming that the largest trunks on this tree were over 6 inches in diameter. The dark grey bark is mottled attractively with lighter grey patches, adding a more subtle dimension to this tree which is so stunning in bloom. Just imagine a specimen like this covered in a conflagration of red blooms.
Not all the trees of note in the garden are living. There are stumps and logs of various sizes and in every stage of decay, though most are covered in a luxurious carpet of moss, ferns, and seedlings of various plants from hemlocks and spruces, to red huckleberry, to rhododendrons. Jim is still creating hybrids in this garden, even after he's gone. But the stump I want to show you is this one, riddled through with the mining of termites or carpenter ants. Just look at the intricate structure.
I don't usually think of olearias as trees, but everything grows larger on the Oregon Coast. This Olearia macrodonta has reached the proportions of a small tree, arching its limbs over the path. The exfoliating bark peals off in long strips, adding an even more exotic flair to this unusual garden. The dappled light filtering through the toothed foliage to splash across the bark made this tree especially beautiful.
Technically not a tree, but what else would you call a pair of 20-foot tall Cordyline australis? These weren't even the only ones. Really, if you haven't figured out this is a special garden in the Pacific Northwest by now, I can only hope these will convince you.
How about a tree rhododendron? Rhododendron arboreum is just that, growing over 80 feet tall in their native habitat in Nepal. On the Oregon Coast, with winter rain instead of summer monsoons, they grow more slowly, but the specimens photographed below were still over 25 feet. They are very upright and with an almost coniferous cone-like silhouette. Older specimens are broader and more rounded, looking rather like evergreen oaks that burst large flowers in trusses of 20 or more. The flowers can range from white, pink, red with white markings, to deep scarlet. The rest of the year, the foliage is an attractive dark green, with cinnamon-colored indumentum on the undersides. You can see some of the colorful indumentum in the photo below. I've pretty much "come out" now as working at Cistus Nursery as a propagator, though I still want to maintain some separation between my personal blog and my job. However, I will share this with you. While we didn't collect any cuttings of these Rhododendron arboreum, which can be a bit tender further inland depending on the subspecies or variety, we did collect cuttings from a hybrid of that species called Sir Charles Lemon, which has the same gorgeous foliage with white flowers, and is hardy to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. They're on the mist bench now. Cross your fingers that they root! Not for small gardens (at least not long-term), this hybrid can eventually reach heights over 20 feet.
Bad blogger. If I had taken notes, or labelled my photos after loading them to my computer, or gotten to this post sooner (if, if, if) I might be able to tell you which species of Eucalyptus this is. I tried to capture its beauty, but I really don't think I managed to do it justice. The late afternoon light was beginning to turn golden, warming the cool tones of the glaucous leaves and highlighting the reddish petioles and smaller branches.
Another not-quite-tree, this is still one of the biggest Tetrapanax papyrifer I've ever seen. Rising 15-20 feet high, with a trunk around 4 inches thick at the base, it rises above the surrounding fuchsias and rhododendrons, looking impossibly tropical.
My trip to the Gerdemann Botanic Preserve provided my first encounter with a mature specimen of Azara microphylla. The surrounding vegetation left me few options for angles from which to photograph it, and the rich, dark, glossy leaves made it difficult to shoot against the bright sky. Still, this picture captures some of the interesting character provided by smooth grey bark covered in moss, supporting a canopy of cloud-like plumes of tiny leaves. I would love to visit when this tree is blooming. I imagine the scent is marvelous.
Just look at the trunk! And this is the narrower side. I couldn't get a good angle to show you how wide it really is, but it's about twice as wide as what you can see from this picture.
Gazing up into the leaves provides an interesting view of sinuous limbs rising up through the clouds of tiny green leaves. I just loved the mossy tufts covering the trunks and branches, as well as the texture of the tiny leaves. The larger leaves photobombing from the right belong to a Eucryphia, also an impressive representation of its genus, but I could not get a good picture of the whole tree.
At least one large, grandiose pine rises above the garden, along with the spruces and hemlocks. Just a few hundred feet to the beach, these pines become windswept masses less than 15 feet tall. This picture also shows the only Thuja plicata, or western red cedar, in the garden, and one of the few in the area. Western red cedar is usually found further from the coast, or further north. This photo was another attempt to capture the golden evening light. To my hyper-critical eye, it just doesn't do justice to the real thing. You'll have to visit the garden to see for yourself.
This final tree was one of my favorite in the garden, which the group tentatively identified as Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila. Multiple trunks rose up, covered in smooth bark colored almost white, with darker grey and tan areas. When this tree performs its annual strip, more colors can be revealed, from lime green to copper to shades of purple.
For my vignette this week, I give you one of my more successful sunset shots from the trip, featuring the white trunks of Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila in the background, with a palm (Trachycarpus?) silhouetted to the right, and a mound of cordyline growing up front and center. This garden is simply magical. I could wax poetic about it for paragraphs, but this picture says it all much more eloquently than I ever could.