Today, two of my favorite merry pranksters (William and Gina) and I, went on a field trip to a little gem of a nursery called Nowlens Bridge Perennials. William has been there many times before, and this time he was interviewing the owner – Donna the Delightful – for Garden Time Magazine. Gina is our buyer at Drake’s. Last time the two of them went, I was green with envy when, upon their return, they unloaded all the treasures they had brought back for the store. Such cool plants! This time around, I got to tag along to see the place for myself. Donna and her husband grow unusual, unique plants that will kick any design up notch, and I have a couple of projects going on right now that demand something a little out of the ordinary. I’m so glad I got to go! I snapped a lot of photos, but I know for sure my pictures won’t convey even half of the excitement that dwells therein. Trust me when I say Nowlens Bridge warrants a personal visit – they are open by appointment, and are also open for the Cascade Nursery Trail events, should you be so inclined. (And you should be…)
In addition to fabulous plants, Donna and her husband raise sheep and grow hay on the farm. Cultivating plants started out as a hobby, and grew, and grew, and grew. Did I already tell you that you need to visit this place?
Under towering firs shade plants are set up on display. It is wonderful to duck into the cool shade and examine the contents of the many tables. I spent quite a bit of time there.
Hosta ‘Praying hands’ – love its wavy, variegated edges!
Inside and out, tidy rows of plants, happy in their pots.
Make sure you read the tags. If it looks like an Edgeworthia, chances are great that it’s the hard-to-find ‘Akebono’, and not just the regular yellow one. Donna doesn’t mess around…
Inside the greenhouse, the oohs and aahs continued. Flowering Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ on the right. I never knew their flowers were so stinky!
What an oddball plant, huh?
The pagoda-like stacked pom-poms of a Phlomis.
Kalmia – or Mountain Laurel
The red undersides of wonderful Rhododendron selection called ‘Wine and Roses’.
A Disporum ‘Black Heron’ with a colony of baby spiders.
If there is only one, you can be pretty sure it is being propagated – in which case it is not yet available for sale. We all drooled over this Viburnum. Maybe next year…?
Who doesn’t need another Begonia?
Our selections are growing. Here is Donna tallying it all up.
But wait – we’re not done yet! We need to check out the back of the building…
Donna has a great selection of Thalictrum…
… and lots of cool trees. Here is a large Emperor Oak – an evergreen tree with the most unusual leaves.
Here is William hauling trees out to our ever-growing stash. The beauty with holding a camera is that your coworkers are more likely to forgive you for your slacking off, and letting them do all the hard work. 😉
And here is Gina. She found an Acer dcvidii – a maple with the most amazing bark.
Check it out!
The marvelous leaves of a Hornbeam.
The flower of a red-flowering chestnut.
The airy foliage of a Helwingia.
The air was heavy with the fabulous flowering scent of Pittosporum ‘Tall and tough’. Yum!
Here is Gina, happily clutching a tiny seedling of our native Rosa glauca – which Donna graciously gave her. Who needs tools to pry it out of the soil – just use your hands!
As you can see, there are filbert trees of impressive size onsite. Hazelnuts are a main Oregon food crop, and Nowlens Bridge is located smack in the heart of the hazelnut plantations.
The tidy rows of filberts fill the fields on your way down here, and provide ample scenic delights on your drive. I was driving, so I couldn’t take pictures, but believe me – those soldier-like expanses alone, are worth seeing. When you go, I recommend bringing a friend, and letting him or her drive so you can sit back and enjoy the view. And of course, it’s always more fun to have someone to share the joy with. So, consider yourself clued into a very nice, relatively little known, western Oregon gem. You’re welcome! If, in the near future, you get to Nowlens Bridge, and can’t find some of the lovelies featured here, I imagine you’ll know where you might find them… right?
Oh, you ask, did I buy anything? I will elaborate on my near heroic restraint in a post soon to come, but I will leave you with the notion that taking a plant lover here is akin to offering up a speedball to a recovering junkie. Sweet, but cruel temptation!