Shrubs

Joy Creek Nursery vs. "Mr. Bear", Plus a Giveaway!

Joy Creek Nursery vs. “Mr. Bear”, Plus a Giveaway!

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Win a $40 gift certificate to Joy Creek Nursery! JCN opens for the 2017 season this Saturday, February 25. (They do mail order, too.) But first, a visit to this amazing nursery in Scappoose, Oregon, 20 miles northwest of Portland. I was invited to Joy Creek recently, along with some of my garden blogger friends, by co-owners Maurice Horn and… Read more →


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Cool Plants at Xera Plants Opening Day 2017

Cool Plants at Xera Plants Opening Day 2017

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Portland has had a horrendous winter. Multiple ice storms, lower than average temperatures, and a single freak snowstorm that dumped nearly a foot of snow have taken a toll, and not just on our spirits. Plants have been heaved out of the ground, broken in two, killed outright by cold. This is good news for nurseries, as people will be… Read more →


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Whipcord Arborvitae: A Cool, Quirky Dwarf Conifer

Whipcord Arborvitae: A Cool, Quirky Dwarf Conifer

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‘Whipcord’ arborvitae (Thuja plicata ‘Whipcord’) is a cool, quirky dwarf conifer that has been on my wishlist for quite some time. Instead of the usual flattened sprays of foliage, this lovable mutant form of our native western arborvitae, or western red cedar, sports a mop top of long, skinny, green rat tails. It tops out at around 4 to 5 feet tall… Read more →


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Winter Flowers on New Year's Day

Winter Flowers on New Year’s Day

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Let’s face it, “winter interest” in the garden often amounts to a few somber evergreens, a spray of colorful berries, and some shreddy bark. Honest-to-God winter flowers are rare, and flowers on January first? Well, that’s asking a bit much. Or so I thought. I went to Edgefield McMenamins in Troutdale, Oregon on New Year’s Day to take some “winter interest”… Read more →


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A Visit with Roger Gossler of Gossler Farms Nursery

A Visit with Roger Gossler of Gossler Farms Nursery

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“That’s my favorite tree in the garden,” said Roger Gossler, as we gazed at a dazzling katsura tree in peak fall color at Gossler Farms Nursery in Springfield, Oregon. He said it was a Cercidiphyllum magnificum, not a Cercidiphyllum japonicum, as I had thought. I asked him what the difference was, and he said that C. magnificum stays smaller and has a more arching,… Read more →


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Fothergilla Fall Foliage Fiesta

Fothergilla Fall Foliage Fiesta

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When the crisp, cool days of autumn transform the garden into a fiesta of color, no shrub parties harder than fothergilla. In response to October’s increasingly frosty nights and shorter days, its matte blue-green foliage breaks out in jubilant tones of purple, gold, orange, and crimson, eventually culminating in an orange-red glow. Fothergilla is no slouch in the flower department, either, although… Read more →


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The Spiral Goes Viral: Topiary in the Suburbs

The Spiral Goes Viral: Topiary in the Suburbs

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Before I realized that horticulture was my true calling, I was a sociology student with plans to become a professor of sociology. Then I discovered my love for plants. I left grad school after getting my master’s degree and took an entry level job at a nursery. There haven’t been many times when my old world and new world have met,… Read more →


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12 Unusual Plants at McMenamins Edgefield

12 Unusual Plants at McMenamins Edgefield

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McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale, Oregon is a former poor farm turned restaurant/hotel/brewery/winery/theater/golf course. Heck, they even have a glass-blowing studio. Of course, my favorite attraction is the incredible landscaping! Here are a dozen interesting and unusual plants I saw there this year while exploring the grounds (in chronological order, more or less). Pretty sure I killed this as a houseplant… Read more →


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12 Best Websites for Plant Descriptions

12 Best Websites for Plant Descriptions

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I write a lot of plant descriptions. It used to be a slow, tedious process, but over time I’ve learned exactly where to go to find the information I need, and that has made my job a lot easier. Allow me to share some of my favorite web sources for plant information: Missouri Botanic Garden Plant Finder If you do… Read more →


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Eight Great Shrubs for Fall Foliage and Fruit

Eight Great Shrubs for Fall Foliage and Fruit

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The rainy season has begun in Portland.  It hasn’t been terribly cold, but we’ve had several fires in the fireplace.  After a day of sloshing around in the garden, it’s nice to sit by the fire and dream of sunnier times.  Like last week… We had one bright, sunny day last week, and I went looking for fall color.  Here… Read more →


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