Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My most excellent weekend

The best thing about February is that it provides the perfect time of year to celebrate a birthday. Nothing else of note is usually going on except the long President's Day weekend, and occasionally, the holiday weekend coincides with my birthday. It happened this year, so I took full advantage of it, beginning with the Portland Yard Garden & Patio show on Friday.

Loree, of Danger Garden, and Scott, of Rhone Street Gardens, have posted excellent reports and photos of the show on their blogs, so I'll just share a few of my impressions, and at the end of my post show you what I schlepped home with me.

Although this effect was a bit more elaborate than I usually like, the look of the copper pipes and the vertical sedums was lush and attractive.
Yes, I know: big rocks. But the Mulchman is reworking some of the Northwest Territory at Longview Ranch, so we have rocks on the brain.

I loved these metal chairs.

I spent quite a while looking at the Hardy Plant Society's display tables. Since I want an Aucuba, this showy specimen originally from Heronswood stopped me in my tracks.

Likewise, the bright yellow-green of this Choisya ternata  'Sundance' was compelling.

Here's another plant on my want-list: Carpenteria californica 'Elisabeth'. This was just a display, but now I see where I could get it.

On Saturday, the Mulchman and I set off for Astoria. The drive out was spectacularly sunny and bright. On Sunday, we lunched at Baked Alaska on the waterfront. We'd avoided it in the past, thinking it was a little too starched-tablecloth for our style, but the food was excellent and reasonable. I enjoyed a marinated mushroom and fennel salad and watched as the Pilot boat docked right next door to let two people off.

For my birthday dinner, we went to our favorite Astoria restaurant, Clemente's. The building has some intriguing planters with the top and exposed sides planted in sedums, ferns, herbs and some perennials.

I like the effect, although I'm not entirely sure about the red painted wood.

River traffic is one of the cool things to enjoy in Astoria, even when the weather turns cloudy. Some of the lowest (and highest) tides of the year occurred while we were there, so I understand lots of people were clamming.

Back home on Monday, I got to play with my new YGP plants and clean them up for their portraits. This was done with great care: three of them are pretty pointy!

From Gossler Nursery, I got Agave parryi ssp. 'Huachucensis'. This specimen is even flatter than my A. parryi var. truncata.

Loree tipped me off to some agaves at the Bauman's Farm and Garden booth. I scored Agave geminiflora 'Rasta Man'.

Also from Bauman's is Agave victoriae-reginae 'Porcupine'. I love the white markings on its fat leaves.

I had been hoping for an inexpensive Red Tiger Abutilon to grow as an annual this summer, but the only ones I could find were large and more than I wanted to pay. When I saw this cheap 'Lucky Lantern' abutilon, I went for it.  I thought that it would be tall, like other abutilons, but I found out as I was checking out that it won't get much bigger than it already is. Looks like this baby is destined for a container when the weather warms up enough.

From Dancing Oaks Nursery, I picked up Yucca linearifolia. In the past this was called Y. rostrata var. linaris but recently it has been treated as a distinctly different yucca, so Yucca rostrata goes back on my plant want-list.

I also got three Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' bulbs from Rare Plant Research. Even the bulbs have some burgundy on them!

Here's a group portrait of the newest acquisitions. It's fun coming home to birthday weekend party favors you can grow!


  1. Belated Birthday wishes...you really know how to celebrate!

  2. Very spiky! I love your new plant friends. I had that Abutilon in my hand at one point but talked myself out of it since I've had such rotten luck with them in the past. I look forward to seeing yours progress. That Yucca is a good one! I've got the same one (Cistus years ago) and it never misses a beat...just keeps on looking good year round.

    When I was out at Cistus last Sean was talking about Aucuba and as I recall they had quite a few. Maybe you should extend your birthday celebration just a little longer and make a trip out there soon!

  3. Fun trip. Happy birthday! Love the plants you found.

  4. That chair is adorable, and I love that Agave parryi...I must have totally missed those somehow. Astoria is one of my favorite places on the coast...I tease my partner that someday I want to retire there...there is just something so wonderful and blue-collar about it...and the ocean is right there...just amazing atmosphere.


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