My first close encounter with Notholithocarpus densiflorus (aka Lithocarpus densiflorus), commonly known as the tanoak or tan-bark oak. At least, I think this is my first encounter with the tree-sized version, though this is a seedling. All I remember from my time at Cistus was the shrubby variety echinoides, a wonderful plant, to be sure, but I also wanted to get to know the tree version.
Umbellularia californica grows into some fun shapes.
Pink leptospermum and nasturtium leaves make a nice combination.
This boggy area looks better in summer, I imagine, but I had to include it for the tall yuccas in thte background
I kept wondering where all the little tanoaks were coming from. I didn't see any mature trees. Then I came out into the open and looked up at the top of a small hill. Why hello!
There were a few mature specimens around the hill. This one had nice narrow leaves with heavy scurfy hairs that wear off to reveal glossy, deeply-veined surfaces.
I love the bark on this tree. I want some in my garden.
It reminds me a bit of cork oaks.
It seems that large Loropetalum specimens aren't very common in the PNW. They grow more slowly here than in the southeast, and are usually kept from reaching larger proportions by pruning. Not here! This one has been allowed to grow unimpeded into nearly small-tree size.
Just a Washingtonia, nothing exciting.
Lots of tree-sized cordyline throughout town. I ended up leaving the park for a little bit, walking around the adjoining neighborhood.
Like most small towns, Brookings suffers from a propensity for gardens and landscapes that range from pedestrian to non-existent. The small population and isolation just don't make for great plant availability, and usually people in small towns have little interest in the new and different. So, the vast majority of the landscapes in Brookings are composed of the most boring, stereotypical coastal landscape plants available. Given a climate that allows perhaps one of the widest plant selections in the country, Brookings may also be the biggest horticultural waste. Ok, end rant.
It's not all bad, and since I didn't spend that much time walking around town and didn't have a clue where to look, I'm sure I missed some amazing gardens. There were a few fun surprises, like this house-sized Phoenix canariensis. Actually, there are a number of large Canary Island date palms in Brookings and Harbor.
Cordyline loaded with flower buds.
More tree-sized cordylines
I was stumped by this plant when I saw it. I knew I had seen it in pictures before, but couldn't remember the name. Thank goodness for random posts from plant groups in my newsfeed on Facebook. Coleonema pulchellum.
Back to the park for one more photo. Azalea Park is named for the many native Rhododendron occidentale growing there. Western azalea often has a scattering of fall blooms. Unfortunately, I didn't see very many. This specimen was putting on a pretty good show, though.
A floriferous leptospermum.
A bit of variety in the phormium selection.
I had read about the gardens in the courtyard of the City Hall/Police/Fire Department, so I had to seek it out.
Arthropodium! I'm assuming it's Arthropodium cirratum. I love this plant and if I lived in Brookings, I'd definitely include it in my garden.
Big Nolina and a lovely small tree with cinnamon-colored bark whose name escapes me at present. I think it's something in the myrtle family.
Callistemon 'Little John'
For those tough places: Helleborus x sternii
This is what I mean by "horticultural waste." Magnolia grandiflora, Acer rubrum, and Liquidambar styraciflua. We're talking about a climate where you can grow Canary Island date palms and should be able to grow the hardier Metrosideros, like umbellata and collina, not to mention a staggering host of other plants that could be grown in this climate. Why limit your plantings to things that are hardy in USDA zone 7, or lower, when you're in zone 9?! They don't even have to be exotics. The natives would be 100 times more interesting.
Part of the problem is lack of horticultural knowledge. Case in point: what may be the saddest Dicksonia antarctica ever. What do you expect from a gated community likely landscaped by the usual mow and blow crew?
This was just painful to look at, so of course I'm sharing it so you can feel it, too. Why do people think everything needs to be sheared into domes, globes, cubes, and other unnatural shapes? Poor restio. You deserve better.
In Brookings, scented geraniums become hedge plants.
Just a palm and a rhododendron growing side by side. Totally normal.
And I'll leave you with this huge agave. The biggest plant was around 5' tall. Much bigger than we're used to seeing in the PNW, though I did see one bigger further north. I think it was in Gold Beach, but my memory of the drive is a bit hazy.