I live in an area blessed with an abundance of wonderful nurseries and growers. Those located outside of the city are worth visiting even if you’re not shopping for anything in particular, as they often have mature display gardens to allow your feet to wander, and your imagination to soar. For me, they provide an inspiring break from the exhausting, never ending, always evolving project that is my own garden. Simply put – even though time is scarce, it’s nice to get away. Given the chance, I will do all kinds of mental acrobatics in order to justify my outing. Two months ago, I visited Joy Creek Nursery – a nursery known for its stunningly extensive selection of Clematis, but also a major contender in the art of growing and purveying other interesting and often hard-to-find plants.
I usually like to begin with a walk around the gardens, and this time was extra special, as I had my own personal guide – my friend Tamara of Chickadee Gardens, who works there – show me all her favorites. It was a beautiful morning, made all the more special in her delightful company.
With all the pathways winding through large drifts of grasses and perennials, shrubs, huge conifers and trees, it is easy to lose yourself among the mature displays.
Surprises are everywhere. I think this is an Eryngium pandanifolium. I had never seen one of that size before – it is MASSIVE!
Here is a better photo of it.
In addition to being an authority on Clematis, Joy Creek also carry a large number of Hydrangeas. Not sure I’ve seen a Hydrangea with leaves this color before – it’s quite stunning!
Such deep rich color. Not sure which Hydrangea this is, but it is exquisite!
Such an amazing shrub – Buddleja lindleyana.
Not sure which Hebe this is, but I’m thinking it could be H. ‘Wingletye’…
Some sort of Bupleurum, I believe!
This is a great place to see Clematis up close. This time of year, you will be able to tell which have the coolest seed heads. And, you can get ample ideas for how to display and grow them – rambling up shrubs or trees, among grasses, spilling over pots, and so on.
What would fall be without Rudbeckias?
And, the Heleniums are so bright and cheery!
Many different grasses are tucked in along the way.
Few things are as lovely as fine-textured grasses contrasted with the fleshy bulk of Sedums. Such an effective combo!
Don’t you agree?
Can’t get enough of Miscanthus in flower. This grass totally earns its keep!
I think this is some kind of Panicum, or Switchgrass. A cloud of flowers carried high on vertical stalks.
I feel like I should remember the name of this fabulous grass, as it came with a story. Alas, it’s been too long, and I have forgotten. I really love the textural contrast between it, and the Weigela. First rate garden artistry!
There are lots of fun touches throughout the gardens – like this arch created with the help of an Atlas Cedar.
I’ve wanted one of these Weeping Sequoias since we moved to Oregon. Back then, I posed the idea of planting a Dr. Seuss garden to my little kiddos – an act immediately followed by me going off the deep end into my gardening obsession. Since then, I have planted a plethora of other Seussian plants, but not yet that one. By now, the kids have long since given up on my sincerity, and moved on to other things, like high school. Oh well… I still wonder if a quicker follow-through on the promise of a Dr. Seuss garden would have turned them into more avid lovers of gardening. I’m afraid I instead instilled in them a sense of dismay over having lost any possibility of ball-playing space. I also know I created in them an aversion to the inevitable clutter caused by a plant addiction problem. I expect an intervention any day now…
I wish I could fit every tree I fall in love with into my garden. This über-curly Willow is too cool for words.
Suffering from severe plant lust, over here…
A path disappearing in the distance, beckoning you to explore it.
Take your time – there is lots to see along the way. Here is a large tuft of Armeria, or Sea thrift.
From the beach, and on to the jungle.
A large stand of Bananas (Musa basjoo) always make me happy. Good thing I can grow them here, as I’ve yet to visit a tropical country. If I did, I probably wouldn’t come back.
These Abutilon megapotamicum flowers are pure perfection!
I always enjoy the thready, red flowers of Persicaria.
Fuchsias is another thing done exceptionally well at Joy Creek.
This color of this Caryopteris made me gasp! So beautiful!!!
Loved all the textures in this vignette – fine, bold, weathered, rounded… So great!
The flower of Gunnera mannicata is so otherworldly. I love the tiny orange specks in it. (Sorry, my botanical vocabulary is sorely lacking here…)
I imagine you can tell why this is called a Pineapple lily… right? (Eucomis)
Naturally, I spent some time looking through the many tables of assorted cool plants.
Saw these wonderful, inspiring Fern tables – a collection of shade plants assembled among rocks, driftwood, and moss on elevated concrete pavers. I LOVE this idea!!!
Such fun little mini gardens!
This one even had a visitor!
So – did I buy anything, you ask? Well duh – of course I did! In fact, I bought more than I actually currently have room for. But, fear not – things are coming OUT of my garden, so there WILL be room, before long. One of the funnest things that came home with me is a plant with the funny name of Scrophularia auriculata.
Close up, it looks like this. Snapdragon-like red flowers on tall, airy tresses.
Zooming out a little, you get a better idea of its height and structure. See the bumble bee buzzing around the buffet?
Here it is, seen from enough distance to appreciate its red companion plant. This combo did it for me. I have lots of red in my garden – both foliage and flowers. The Scrophularia will make a fine addition! 🙂
And that, my friends, concludes our tour of Joy Creek. I had no idea it would take me this long to get around to writing it, but then again, life has been so tumultuous lately. In retrospect I am happy it did take me this long, as it provided excellent distraction and well needed eye candy on this eve of the most bizarre and contentious election year in memory. One that also happens to be the first presidential election I’m allowed to vote in, since becoming a citizen. May the best woman win, I say! (And by that, I mean the “woman” – not the “bitch”, to quote our friend Bill Maher. 😉 )