Brookings, Part II

Let's see if I can finish up covering the Brookings Botanical Garden in this post. It's amazing how many photos I took in such a tiny garden, but then, it is packed with lots of cool plants.

One corner of the garden is apparently dedicated to stereotypical Pacific Northwest landscaping, i.e. widely spaced conifers with ground covers or mulch in between, and of course the token Japanese maple. Except for a few of the ground covers, I wasn't especially impressed by this section.

Then again, this might be the nicest 'Blue Star' juniper I've ever seen. It may be common as dirt, but it's an attractive, tough plant and should be respected for that. I'd want this one in my garden.

I liked the texture of this super-tiny ground cover.

And this one, a mini-landscape complete with rolling hills. I'm not sure if this is actually a moss, or a moss look-alike.

Japanese maple, Japanese forest grass, Japanese blood grass, mini mondo grass, and assorted other regular players in PNW landscapes. But at least it's been done fairly well.

Back to more interesting plants, unless you're from California. If Arctotis were hardy in my garden, I might have more daisy-type flowers. Grey foliage and fiery orange blooms. Yes, please.

Persian rug of thyme and other ground covers. These kinds of plantings are great for seeing how well these various ground covers actually cover the ground, how they play with others, and whether they get dead spots or other problems.

A Sitka spruce under-planted with a mass of native western sword fern sits just behind that ground-cover rug. I love that they featured these two natives so strongly, though I suspect it might just be that the conditions under that spruce are so difficult they couldn't plant much else. I love sword ferns. It doesn't bother me.

A few selections of Osteospermum were scattered here and there in the garden, mostly along the side bordering Highway 101. In my colder garden, the only reliably-hardy selections, as far as I know, come in white to purplish. I'd like to be able to grow these yellow to orange ones.

As Loree rightly pointed out from my last post, there is a very stout Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Steroidal Giant' in the garden, and it has more flower buds than it seems it has any right to have. As to why it's so compact and the leaves are so heavily-textured, I'll chalk that up to cooler coastal temperatures and enough wind to encourage stoutness without shredding the leaves.

The highest leaves were just above my head, so it really wasn't that tall, but look at that inflorescence!

It's not all smooth sailing along the coast. I hope I don't offend anyone in the Harbor Garden Club by pointing out this rather sad-looking Daphne x transatlantica 'Summer Ice'. They have plenty of more interesting plants thriving in the garden.

Like this huge Fuchsia microphylla!

Such tiny leaves and flowers on a plant that reaches over 6 feet tall.

Gorgeous Pittosporum with black stems.

Cyclamen! I only have one still in bloom.

The biggest, happiest Prostanthera cuneata I've ever seen. I think it was over 3 feet across. My two plants died in the heat these last two summers, but I have new starts in cooler, better-drained locations.

Dryopteris wallichiana, one of my favorite ferns.

Grevillea 'Pink Midget'

Telopea oreades! Unfortunately these blooms are rather past their prime. I-didn't-see-a-sign-ifolia.

Grevillea 'Fanfare', also known as 'Austraflora Fanfare', though according to the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the "Austraflora" bit has been dropped.

No flowers on Embothrium coccineum, but it was absolutely covered in seeds! I considered asking permission to collect seeds for a friend, but thought it would be better to get seeds from a plant growing in a colder area for better hardiness. Then again, for all I know, this tree probably is probably from one of the nurseries further north in Oregon or Washington.

Big, beautiful Callistemon pallidus. It's so dense! Actually, it might benefit from being opened up a bit to show the bark and a bit of structure.

From their own breeding program.

Protea! I have arrived in paradise! Protea magnifica may potentially just sneak into the very top of zone 8b in perfect conditions, but I still wouldn't bet on it surviving for more than a few mild years in Portland or Seattle.

In addition to the Acacia pravissima I shared in my Wednesday Vignette yesterday, there was an Acacia mucronata in the garden, too.


This is one of those pinks I like: Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Cascade'

A very prostrate Leptospermum, happily devouring the Sedum 'Angelina' growing underneath it. The tree behind it is the Acacia mucronata.

Grevillea lanigera 'Coastal Gem' and a red-orange Arctotis.

So many flowers!

Westringia fruticosa and its cultivar, 'Morning Light' (bottom right).

One of my favorite plants in the garden: Melaleuca hypericifolia. The specific epithet "hypericifolia" refers to the resemblance of the foliage to the genus Hypericum, of which St. John's wort is a member.

I can certainly see the resemblance, but I think the Melaleuca does it better.

And just look at those feathery, glowing, coral-orange bottle brushes! You can tell from the old seed pods that it blooms a lot. I'd love to see it at peak bloom, but was content with the few stragglers I found.

A huge Leucadendron salignum 'Chief'. The Harbor Botanical Garden Club (and the Brookings/Harbor area in general) is lucky to have at least one woman who is passionate about the Proteaceae family.

Close up of 'Chief'. Too early for blooms.

Leucadendron 'Wilson's Choice'.

I did at least catch Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' with gorgeous color.

Csapodya splendens (formerly Deppea), in a protective cage. Deer must love it.

Oh Brookings, if only you weren't so very far away from everything, and so terribly rainy. Really, who would want to live here?...

Seriously, though, don't come here... It's awful...yeah...just terrible...


  1. Nice tour and it's especially nice to see how group of volunteers has created something so special with all those textures and blooms. I can see why you liked this so much with all the similarities to what you are accomplishing in your own garden. Minus the typical PNW look of course.

    1. I don't mind typical PNW plants, and actually like quite a few of them, but I do try to plant them in more natural ways rather than spacing them apart in a sea of bark chips.

  2. It surprises me just how many of the plants grown in my own garden and their cousins grow at Brookings. And a lot of them look better too! Oh, for just a little of the rain they get up that way!

    1. It is pretty amazing. What doesn't show in these photos, though, is that many of these plants are growing on low berms to aid in drainage. There was a dead Phylica that I didn't include. It probably died from too much water. I'm sure they'd happily send you 10-20 inches of their annual rainfall!

  3. Wow...I'm almost speechless. So may fabulous plants. So close, yet so far...

    Being a city girl I couldn't handle the isolation, but damn it's tempting.

    1. The rain doesn't seem like quite as big a deal, now, does it? But it is still a small, isolated town. Personally I find that appealing.

  4. I love Blue Star juniper. They are low and slow, always blue, extremely dependable and stand out in the winter garden. I've added a third one last year.
    I share your enthusiasm for coral-orange bottle brushes and their seed posts. I believe you have a couple of bottle brushes in your garden. I wonder how long before they start flowering.

    1. I like it, too. It's a shame they've gotten a bad reputation from being planted in horrible landscapes with bad maintenance. I had to do a mental count of my callistemon. I think I'm up to 7. So yeah, a couple. ;)


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