Princely Pastures

My garden pal Evan – whom some of you might know as The Practical Plant Geek, if you follow his blog (which you should), organized a field trip for us bloggers to famed wholesale nursery Little Prince of Oregon, this past Saturday. I was so bummed to have to miss it, that I arranged my own visit two days later. Actually, as chance would have it, I had a client meeting in nearby Woodburn, so I invited myself to stop by on my way home. Mark – Supreme Maverick of Marketing – was kind enough to not only let me in, but also showed me around – even though I turned up at the end of the day and he probably had way more important things to do. But, as the Queen of Distraction, I prevailed, and I got the royal treatment.

Blue house.

I immediately got lost. On my previous visits, the offices had always been housed in this on-site construction hut-type structure at the far corner of the property. I parked in the usual place, walked around the corner, and saw the note on the door; “We’re in the blue house”. Yup, that made sense. I had noted the grand, new building as I drove in, but not made the connection. Which was stupid, because it was obvious – the members of the Princely Court are moving up in the world. The new offices were glorious!

Bright and cheery, with glassy expanses in all directions. Fresh, new plantings lining the path to the front door.

The inside behind the red door revealed a well-lit, communal office space with tall ceilings, held up with massive glulam beams spanning the distance. The interior was flooded with light. I loved the doors – there were two of them.

The second floor is the break room. A full kitchen with bar seating and plenty of counter space…

… large tables, and comfy seating to lounge on for a while. All enveloped in wonderful light!

The third floor sported but one desk. I figured this must be where the Prince hangs out.

Next to the desk was a door out to a generous terrace, from which the Prince and his visitors can survey the Kingdom. He has every right to be property proud. Straight ahead, are the greenhouses.

To the right, are more greenhouses., and the production and shipping facilities.

Looking to the left, you can see the tidy rows of greenhouses marching on the horizon…

… flanked by horses out to pasture! So wonderfully bucolic!

Down below, we walked through the hustle and bustle of the shipping area.

The plants are grown mostly unlabeled, and get their label when they are on their way out the door. This is the library of tags. I can just hear the shipping center mantra – Right Plant, Right Tag….

Here, orders are being assembled, and loaded onto trucks.

Don’t you just love the diffused light illuminating the space through the rolling waves of shade cloth?

Rows of the popular Eco-roof Bird Feeders waiting to go out.

Ground covers galore! I can’t get over how spotlessly clean this place is. Not a thing out of order – this place seems run on almost military perfection. It’s stunningly beautiful!

Here is where the propagation takes place. Tiny succulent cuttings will one day fill out their allotted space, and be ready to be transplanted into the next size up. Until they are ready to brave the world of the market place. Plants from Little Prince of Oregon cover table space in most every retail nursery as well as box stores and grocery stores here in the Pacific Northwest.

Another greenhouse shot. The door patterns is what captured my attention this time around. It almost looked like one of those eternity mirrors…

Delosperma ‘Fire Spinner’ lighting up the room. According to Mark, these are fantastic pollinator plants.

Once outside again, rows and rows of greenhouses to explore. They grow lots of different things, but the same plants usually stay in the same greenhouses from year to year. I imagine that makes it easier to remember what’s what – and where!

i just love the clean, quiet, rhythm of the pristine greenhouses. This nursery is incredibly well kept!

See all the pink flags? That means the plants are stock plants, and are used for propagation only. This is where the sweet stuff that will make us consumers ooh and aah next year, is contained.

Sempervivum ‘Braunii’ – adorable!

Row after glorious row…

Not sure which kind this is, but it had decided to flower in its little pot. So cute!

Anyway, a new client AND a visit to Little Prince. I had a very, nice Monday. Thanks Mark, for taking the time – I loved it! 🙂

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Wednesday Vignette – a seahorse convention

It’s fern-unfurling time in the garden. One of my favorite times of the year. They are so perfect when they start unraveling. Don’t get me wrong – I love them in full, extended glory as well, but seeing them like this is just precious. Maybe it’s the anticipation of it all? What do you think?

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Wednesday Vignette – a gardener’s de-light

No philosophical musings today – just some really fun lights that I always admire at Fino – a neigborhood Italian restaurant. For a cuisine that relies so much on tomatoes, I have a hard time imagining more celebratory lighting. This garden of lights adorn the wall between the bar and the dining room. I finally snapped a picture of them. Pretty fun, aren’t they?fullsizeoutput_a01fullsizeoutput_a00

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Wednesday Vignette – O say can you see…

Time wise, Spring in Oregon is behind where it usually is. It has been record-breakingly wet, and the water levels of the mighty Columbia river are alarmingly high. Driving west, on Highway 30 an early morning, the views were so breathtaking, I just had to stop and snap some photos. Budding trees are holding still, as temperatures are not quite yet where they need to be for them to leaf out, and the high river is splashing around their trunks. Things are indeed a bit off…


We are now in the third month of the 45th presidency. I need to tell you something interesting. About two months ago, I had a phone conversation with a very clairvoyant friend of my mother’s, who lives on the east coast of the US. From afar, over the phone, she was checking my energy. As I was sitting by the kitchen table, engaging in the conversation, my legs were crossed under the table. “I can’t feel your left leg” she said after a few seconds. “Can you make sure you have both feet on the ground?” I just about died – how could she possibly sense that my legs were crossed????? Whatever your beliefs are in terms of spiritual matters – to me, this was amazing. How could she know?? Anyway, later that day, my mother told me of a conversation she had had with her friend – about the new administration in the White House. Her friend had said simply: “Yeah, it will be a long three months…” At this, my mother had jumped – as did I when I heard. Three months? How? What??  I was so excited – this gave me hope!  We both marked it down on our calendars. Now, two months have passed, and there is only one month left to go. With almost giddy anticipation I look forward to whatever it is our clairvoyant friend knows is coming. What does it mean? Will it change things for the better? For the worse? I don’t know, but whatever it is, I welcome the change. For one thing, it gives me something to look forward to. And, hopefully by then, the waters will have receded down to more predictable levels, and we can all draw a deep sigh of relief.

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Foliage Follow-up and belated Bloom Day – March 2017

Apparently, sometimes it is in ones favor to be fashionably late. Yesterday, on Bloom Day proper, it was so grey, wet, and miserable here, that I would have worried for my camera’s safety bringing it outside without an umbrella. This morning however, skies were blue, and we had the most wonderful, golden sunrise. There was a premonition last night…

… Mother Nature gifted us double rainbows, before disappearing beyond the horizon. Such a relief!

So – onto the garden… Let’s start in the  front, since that’s where I spent the first hour and a half this morning raking up magnolia leaves and debris. That poor thing… as you might know, it has had a rough year, but I am ready to tackle the challenge of restoring its good looks. Or, at least the framework of its former good looks.

Arum italicum ‘Pictum’ which tends to seed itself in the most impossible places is peeking out through the plentiful new growth of Lonicera ‘Baggesen’s gold’.

More of the Lonicera. I appreciate this plant so much – does great in shade (mind you, tends to stay more green), is evergreen, and tough as nails. I also love its dainty leaves as contrast to larger fare, like the Fatsia next to it.

The sun is shining on all the little narcissus in the parking strip. And they shine back!

The aforementioned Fatsia, putting out new growth.

The combined protection of a Great Southern Magnolia, and Fatsia, and the planting atop a well-draining stone wall, creates a cherry spot for my Daphne. It’s pretty much in the eye of the howling eastern winds sweeping through the Columbia Gorge. Even so, while Daphnes elsewhere take a fairly brutal beating, this one always seems to come through alright. It helps to have mighty neighbors. I included a few yellow leaves – the only damage it sustained this comparatively badass winter.

I know you’re supposed to cut your roses back around President’s Day, but I’ve never understood why. Besides, there is enough cutting going on in the current White House administration, so I’m taking the benevolent approach and leaving it be.  How could I not – the Hot Cocoa’s new growth is so… well – hot! Nothing like a little rebel gardening to make you feel better.

An eastward sunshine shot through the foliage of Fatsia and Fargesia robusta ‘Campbell’s form’ that was just planted last fall. All good there, it seems.

I have no idea what these are, but seeing those blushing beginnings of goodness has me kind of excited! I don’t remember planting iris there. Someone gave me starts of this iris-like, light yellow plant last year – it could be that. Eagerly waiting to see what it turns out to be.

Onto the back…

Buds of Clematis armandii ‘Appleblossom’. Last March, it was in full, magnificent bloom. But hey, I’m a gardener, and gardeners are a patient breed – right? It will get there, I’m sure!

Closeup of the buds.

Some kind of Hellebore, and one that I happen to like a lot. Not sure what name it goes by, but I love that color, and the greenish yellow edges on the petals.

‘Connie’ looking a little frostbitten, but not too much. She’s a sweetie!

I tend to like black flowers. I have several dark Hellebores, but this one is by far the darkest. That sad thing in the background is my beloved Grevillea ‘Scarlet Sprite’. It would normally be in full, fabulous bloom by now, but as you can see, had a very rough time this year. Makes me sad – she was covered in buds when the first ice hit. She definitely put up a good fight, but I’m doubtful as to whether there is still life under all that brown foliage. There are a few green spots left, and I hope they will prove to be more than temporary.

Ostrich ferns starting to unfurl. I take this as a sign that it likes its new home better than the last one.

Some of us did not come out of this winter looking fresh and ready for a new season. But, even death is sometimes lovely. This is an asparagus that I planted next to a Manicot. Pretty sure both of them are toast, although I don’t know enough about either to be absolutely certain. Ever the optimist, I’ll leave them in place for the time being. You just never know…

The adorable foliage of a mini Alchemilla I just bought. It’s not even planted yet, but looked so cute this morning with raindrops in its cupped leaves. Sadly, the photo doesn’t capture that jeweled look, but you get the idea.

Molly the Witch is shooting through the earth with magic powers. Creeping Jenny is sporting new growth, too. I know lots of people absolutely abhor that plant, but I love it, despite its habit of wanting to eat everything around it. But, sometimes that’s the whole point, is it not?

Drimys lanceolata, and a lovely little thing called Hebe odora (anomala) ‘Purpurea nana’. Love how the reds work off of each other. These two are going in a planter together, along with some other goodies yet to be determined. I will be teaching a workshop on planter design at local hot shot nursery Joy Creek (where I also work a few days a week) on April 2nd, if you’re interested and able to come. Details on their website. Would love to see you there!

Super excited to see buds on my little Berberis jamesiana. It’s pretty much just a stick yet, but that thing will one day have absolutely gorgeous fruits!

Himalayan Maidenhair fern in full, frontal unfurl!!

Love the little pearly buds on my little miniature Elm.  Adorable! Better photos here!

The Edgeworthia is finally blooming! Learned a lesson this year. In previous cold winters, I have covered this plant up. It has always frozen its buds off, and I have gotten hardly any blooms on it. This year – which was worse than any other we’ve experienced since living here – I didn’t bother. Good thing – it seemingly sailed through it without any help from me. I imagine it was probably that extended existence under wet covers that damaged it those times. Better to leave the wind to dry them out than extended moisture, I guess. Good to know, and less work for me!

If anything, a few blooms are quite a bit sparser than in good years. Still, I’m grateful for what I got.

My Cryptomeria ‘Sekkan sugi’ has cones! Never mind that it fell over in the howling winds, and I had to tie it to the fence to keep it standing – it seems alive and well.

There are buds on Stachyrus salicifolia. Can’t wait to see all those green blooms open!

Crappy, out-of-focus shot, but it captures the light quality I was enjoying out there, this morning. Ahhhh…!

Love the sight of emerging Podophyllum pleianthum. This clump gets bigger and bigger each year – I love it! Eve – if you’re reading this – you’re at the top of my list for starts… 🙂

This year’s very first mouse on my Mouse plant. So cute!

Comptonia peregrina coming along with new growth.

Here is a closeup.

A bud on a little Grevillea that wintered over in my shed. Good thing – the one that was left out is long gone…

New red growth on Metapanax davidii. Yup, had to tie this one to the fence too, as it was falling over in the storms. The winds this winter were brutal.

The cool stripy Rush I bought at Hortlandia last year, seems to have survived. I’m pretty sure the green stuff on the right is an imposter – probably a seed from our native Rush that found a welcoming environment.

Finally – out of all my pitcher plants, this one came through looking the best. So glad I, or Father Winter, didn’t kill them!

Well Friends – that’s about it! For more fab stuff, please click over to Pam at Digging, and Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see what else is surprising gardeners across our globe, in this wonkiest of weather years.

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Wednesday Vignette – so much water…

Anyone else tired of all the rain yet? It’s one of those things I feel I really should be grateful for. I mean, what would we do without it? Water is life… right? I know it is, and I know I should be careful what I wish for, but right now, I would just love a couple of benevolent, sunny days with temperatures in the mid-50’s or so. Maybe even 60’s… Just a couple of days would be nice. So the soil can recover from having that oversaturated mucky plasticity it currently has. And – pretty please – let those two days happen when I have no commitments or deadlines whatsoever. I wonder what the worms and all the other critters do when it is this wet. Do they move to higher ground? If so, in that sense, I suppose they are kind of the opposite from me. When it’s this wet, I go underground. Or, at least under cover.

This photo is from last winter, in Sweden. At least there, the sun came out, even if it was wet.

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Wednesday Vignette – weathered withering

It’s been raining a lot lately – a lot more cold, bone-chilling rain than in a normal year. February was the wettest one on record. Everything is soaked, the ground is muddy and soft, and – as evident by this wall I spotted the other day – even vertical surfaces are seemingly saturated. This old barn wall is in decay, its lower edge covered in moss. From the silvery hues of the aged wood up top, through the varying degrees of moisture saturation increasing downward with the aid of gravity, to the lively green of the moss (or is it lichen?) adorning the bottom – I thought it made a marvelously arresting vignette. How about that – decay on display.  🙂


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