Occasionally, Xera Plants in Portland hosts a plant sale from Gossler Farms, which means we get to shop two excellent nurseries at once. Gossler Farms is worth the trip, but it’s a two hour trek from Portland, so I don’t get over there as often as I might like.
It’s really fun to see the tiny but inspired display gardens on Xera’s small lot in a semi-industrial area of close in Southeast Portland. With the development in progress around the shop, they’re bound to be right in the middle of some fancy pants buildings and businesses in the next couple years. It’ll be interesting to see how that affects the nursery biz.
I fall in love with 10 new plants every time I go to a nursery. So much for sticking to my list. The combo of Mahonia fortunei ‘Dan Hinkley’ underplanted with this fine fern with intricately divided fronds completely won me over. Mahonias have been hot, hot, hot with our site traffic this year, and the peer pressure is getting to me. I’ve started to pine for them. But attach the name ‘Dan Hinkley’ to one of them, game over. That plant leapt right into my basket.
Paul told me the name of that fern, twice, but could I remember it? Nooooooo. I remember it ended with divisilobum, and it’s not Polystichum setiferum ‘Divisilobum’ I’m embarrassed to have to ask a third time.
We at plant lust all got afflicted with seafoam fever this spring. Have you heard of it? It can only be cured by acquiring Artemisia versicolor ‘Seafoam’. We pestered the Xera guys mercilessly as their crop matured enough to go up for sale. They sold out of it promptly at the retail shop, which I like to think our contagious case of plant lust fueled.
Callistemon pityoides ‘Excellent’ was showing off blooms in the display garden. Oh, dreamy soft yellowy chartreuse flowers, they mock me. I had to resist because I have no sun to it plant in, but if I did…
I dare you – just try resisting loading up the car with plants when you have these three plantsmen, Roger from Gossler, Greg and Paul from Xera, extolling the virtues of these plants. It’s as though they read my mind when they pointed out Camellia ‘Night Rider’. I was just going on about black flowers last week, and the first thing Paul points out is this plant from Gossler Farms, saying it has almost unreal looking small black flowers. The foliage is purple tipped and reddish on the back, with dark stems. I’m not even a big Camellia fan, but come on. Evergreen with stunning black flowers and purple foliage? Resistance is futile.
Impulse shopping is too easy at a place like Xera. Alstroemeria psittancina ‘Variegata’ drew me in with the rosettes of variegated foliage. I didn’t even look up the details until now, to find it’s a winter grower, summer dormant. Red flowers are tipped in green, and the foliage spreads slowly up to 3 feet. I am charmed.
Do you suffer from sun exposure denial? It’s similar to zone denial. You think surely you’ll find some available sunny spot for some hot shot sun lover. Surely the plant will forgive you fudging a little on its growing requirements. And some will if you give them a shot. But I try to keep my gambling down to a minimum, and look mostly for plants that can take some shade and very little babying.
Well, Eryngiums slip past my best intentions all the time. They sure look tough. And they’ll put up with my lack of sun for a little while before quitting on me. But here I go again, I couldn’t resist Eryngium pandandifolium var. lasseauxii.
And then this sneaky bugger, a Fuchsia procumbens ‘Mary Miller’ surprised me. I’ve never bought a Fuchsia before, but this is exactly why we have learned you never say never about a plant you think you don’t love. Variegated groundcover with yellow flowers followed by large berries. Yep, I want that. Isn’t gardening full of surprises?