Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Happy MLK Jr. day from all of us at plant lust. Gardening may not solve the problems of the world, but spending time in beauty and tranquility surely doesn’t hurt. Here’s to dreamers.


King Protea, aka Protea cynaroides

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“South Africa’s national flower, & the world’s best know Protea. This species has large upward facing blooms – up to 11” across, with pink outer bracts. Prized as a cut flower, & jaw dropping in person, it’s easy to understand why people will bend over backwards to grow this Protea outside its native range.”

Annies Annuals & Perennials


Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’

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Photo by one of our favorite world traveling garden photographers, Karl Gercens III

“Incredibly bright yellow-green foliage on a massive clump eventually reaching as high as 6 feet. If you need drama in your shade garden (and really, who doesn’t?), you need this plant.”

Arrowhead Alpines


Cyperus papyrus ‘King Tut’

A must have plant we snatch up each and every year here in our Portland gardens where they are annuals. The summer wouldn’t be the same without these elegant umbrellas.

Peace & love.

Spring Fever is Contagious

Spring Fever is Contagious

It’s been a few years since I’ve felt like showing off my garden, after multiple forces converged and took it from a wild lush jungle, to a big sad mess, with the occasional interesting plant hinting that a gardener used to tend these parts. Not the way I like to think of my garden.

Last year was a rebuilding year with some good progress, but it didn’t really reach my vision of a garden bursting at the seams with mature, happy healthy plants with fabulous foliage.

Starting over was a bit daunting at first, but with spring erupting, things are starting to look up. For the first time in a long time, I look out there and see potential.

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New Plant Obsession: Itea ilicifolia

New Plant Obsession: Itea ilicifolia

Somehow, this plant escaped my notice, and boy do I feel silly. It has everything I love in a plant. Dramatic, cascading, pendulous, prolific, foot-long green flowers! Which is quite enough for me. But it’s fragrant, bee-friendly, and evergreen to boot? I am dying.

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A new chapter in plant lust. Now with plant shopping.

A new chapter in plant lust. Now with plant shopping.

Since starting plant lust six years ago, it has been our dream to help independent nurseries sell their plants online. While most nurseries have their own websites, many don’t have online shopping carts. Even fewer work just as well on a smartphone, even as we see more and more online shopping happening on small screens. Building these things can take resources small nurseries don’t always have. Time, money, the desire to spend hours in front of a computer.

We hoped to give small nurseries a hand with a mobile friendly shop, sparing them the time and expense that usually comes along with building such things.

Garden nuts that we are, we also wanted a nice place to ogle all of the plants, and place our catalog orders all in one spot, without filling out a dozen different order forms. We wanted an online marketplace for plants that’s just as easy as shopping on Amazon.

Until today, the plant lust site was window shopping only. To buy plants, you had to do the leg work to order from multiple nurseries to get all the plants on your wish list. Today is different. Today is big. Today we are finally opening the plant lust store and shipping our first plants!

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We Interrupt this Winter for a Sun Break

We Interrupt this Winter for a Sun Break

Could you use a little break from cold wet winter weather where you are? We’re approaching what I consider the “power through” part of winter in Portland. I get the winter doldrums later than some people, because I love it up through December, and clouds and rain feel right to this native Portlander. But I feel a twinge of impatience coming on. I want to clean up the messy plant skeletons and fallen leaves they tell us we should leave in the beds until spring, and get planting.

It’s plenty warm right now. Tomorrow’s forecast is 62°F. We’re headed into February, where we always seem to get a false-spring where you see people standing motionless on sidewalks soaking up the sun. It’s hard to believe that we’re still in for the late frosts that always hit. But be patient, we must.

This is the time of year I’d borrow a little sunshine and visit the non-dormant plants with a quick sunny vacation down south, if I had the opportunity. But it’s not in the cards this year, so I’m going to revisit some old photos I didn’t share from the desert garden outside of Las Vegas a couple years ago. Think warm thoughts.
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A windowsill bark tray for little garden treasures

A windowsill bark tray for little garden treasures

I love giving gifts to gardeners. They can be so easy to please, as long as you know a little about their style. Miniature roses for the cactus lover would be a miss (but the cactus called miniature desert rose could do the trick). But when you’re talking about people who are happy playing in the dirt, you get to skip the mall, and never even change out of your muck boots if you don’t want.

One of my favorite presents I ever received was a piece of bark. Let me explain.

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Big, Bold, Statement Plants

Big, Bold, Statement Plants

I’m starting to think every front garden needs one. Mine sure does. A big old, stop-the-car, would-you-look-at-that, jaw dropping, statement plant. The kind you make sure to drive by when you’re in the neighborhood, like an old friend. Read More…

Snow Day

Snow Day

Controversy! Some of us at plant lust and friends love snow, and others hate it. I’m in the minority on the love-it side.

Snow makes my heart happy. We only see it every few years in Portland, and it’s usually fleeting. I watch the winter weather forecast eagerly, looking for signs of hope. Most of the time, snowflake forecasts are fools gold.

Even though I pray for snow, I understand the heartbreak when those of us pushing the limits of our planting zones have our hopes for mild winters dashed. I know a wintery day brings some people down the same way a 100 degree day sinks my heart. But the universe is indifferent to our suffering, all we get to do is watch.

This weekend’s snow was followed by freezing rain. I know. Even less popular than snow. Some of the plants may not survive their ice bath. But boy was were they pretty.

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Damn, I wish I’d planted that

Damn, I wish I’d planted that

To the best of my knowledge, there’s no rule against coveting thy neighbor’s plants. So I’ve been cruising this garden regularly ever since I spied pomegranates along the path last winter. I was kind of dying to know what was inside. The fruits are smaller than the ones you see at the grocery store. Are they ripe? Are they edible? I was soooo close to knowing the answer.

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