Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A visit to the Little Prince of Oregon Nursery

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of joining a group of local garden bloggers for a tour (and shopping!) at the Little Prince of Oregon Nursery in Aurora, OR.

 If you live in Washington, Oregon or California, you have probably seen Little Prince plants at your local garden shop: their distinctive tags carry a cute frog wearing a crown, and they contain excellent use and culture information. There are multiple plant lines, like Made in the Shade, Water Misers, Ground Control, etc., each targeted for a specific growing condition.

Our genial host, Mark Leichty, had prepared some welcome refreshments.

Mark gave us a short overview, then set us loose on the 160,00 square feet(!) of greenhouses. First up was one brimming with Tillandsias.
From little to big, and silver to red, they were all here.
Ever wonder how growers mass small Tillandsias for care? Just poke them through a metal grid, it appears. They display nicely like that, but the bottom line is they're probably much easier to water and manage.
Apparently you can just lay the big ones on a shelf.

Not only did I not get a picture of one of the huge silver Tillandsia xerographica, but I forgot to go back and get one for myself at the end of the tour. Bad plant shopper! But here's one of two unusual Tillandsia butzii that did make it into my box.

In the big greenhouses, there was something mesmerizing about the long swaths of the same plant: here Armeria maritima, I believe.

Here's almost a lawn of Acorus graminius 'Ogon'.
 Prior to the tour, I was most familiar with Little Prince's succulent lines, and the big flats of mixed sedums in one greenhouse were a gorgeous sight.

Can you imagine the succulent pots you could create with all of these?

I have always admired Dymondia margaetae on visits to Southern California. It gets used as a ground cover and even as a lawn substitute because it tolerates moderate foot traffic. Narrow leaves roll to display silvery backs, and the yellow daisy-like flowers are a bonus.
The tag said semi-evergreen to Zone 7, so I scooped up three plants to try at Longview Ranch.
Then I discovered the Agave and Yucca greenhouse. Oh my goodness! Below, Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata', correction: Yucca dismetiana 'Blue Boy', with rosy coloring from the cooler weather. I brought home one with beautiful dark red tones - and apparently the wrong tag.

A small army of Agave parryi ssp. huachucensis waiting to delight west coast gardeners.
Apparently this group is Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata'. A little different from 'Blue Boy', huh?

I was definitely in my happy place.

 A few of my blogger cohorts gathered with their chosen plants: From left to right, Tamara Paulat of Chickadee Gardens, Heather Tucker of Just a Girl with a Hammer, Amy Campion of The World's Best Garden Blog, Jenni Dennis of The Rainy Day Gardener, Laura Heldreth of Gravy Lessons, and her husband Charlie. Note Tamara and Heather sporting their sleek new Little Prince caps - it was a gorgeous day, and positively HOT in the greenhouses.
Naturally, I came home with some selections from the exciting Agave greenhouse, and a few other plants, including the aforementioned Dymondia, an Erica darleyensis `Mary Helen', and a Lewisia. The big guy close to the middle is Agave 'Red Margin'.

Taking a closer look at the Agaves, this one might possibly be the world's prettiest: Agave shidigera 'Shira Ito No Ohi'. Pretty name, too.
Agave striata.

Mangave 'Blood Spot'

The Lewisia, L. longipetala 'Little Peach' is ready to bloom, so it's already been planted out into the garden.

One Little Prince of Oregon line I particularly like is Native Ground, which features plants indigenous to the Pacific Northwest. But they have a catalog of over 570 plants, so research them there (or here), then find them at retailers ranging from Fred Meyer to local nurseries and upscale plant shops.

My thanks go out to Tamara Paulat for organizing our shopping trip (ahem, tour), to Mark Leichty, who took time out of his Sunday to open up for us, and to blogging buddy Ricki Grady (of Sprig to Twig), for driving us out to the Little Prince Nursery. What a fun way to spend a late winter Sunday afternoon!


  1. Those flats of mixed Sedums would come in handy for the overhaul of my gravel garden. Love all the great plants you picked! That Agave 'Red Margin' is gorgeous.

  2. Next time, we should compare our final flats--so we can run back and get the amazing things our fellow bloggers managed to snag. Your selection looks great.

  3. It's Little Prince of Oregon day! (I posted today too, as did Jenni...maybe more to come!). What a wonderful day. I realized on the way home, after getting a mental vision of you with that 'Blood Spot' in your hot little hand, that I forgot to get one, darn! So many fabulous plants that it became a little overwhelming...

  4. So much goodness! Is that 160,000 square feet? Wow. Absolutely love the Tillandsia butzii you brought home!

  5. What great fun! I was especially curious about their tillandsia propogation so it was interesting to see them on those shelves! You got a great haul! Thanks for sharing - loved the vicarious thrill!

  6. It was a great day with fine company. You did such a good job of chronicling it that I think I will simply refer my readers to this post. As I look at your haul, I'm thinking I should have followed you around and grabbed what you grabbed.

  7. It IS Little Prince of Oregon today!! So cute :) I vote that we schedule in a 'decompressing' drink if we get to visit LPO again. Your selection is great, always a fine eye, Jane!

  8. That is a great trip!! I can see you really had a lot of fun! I´m still amazed by the great variety of plants that nurseries offer to gardeners in Oregon. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sorry I missed it! Looks like a good time! Between 2 yards of gravel, 5 yards of mulch and the cough/cold from hell, I just couldn't do it.

  10. So bummed I had to miss it. Next time!

  11. I'm looking forward to their booth at the Clark County PUD Idea and Garden Fair in Vancouver, WA at the Fairgrounds, I got a Persicaria from them that has done well. Your picks look so cute, especially the Agave and Mangave.

  12. Great outing! So glad you went! LPO rocks, let's do it again. Soon.

  13. Oh, that looks like a fun nursery! Love that purple Armeria.

  14. I have that Armeria and mine is blooming right now too. What a fun time you all must have had. Your selections look wonderful.


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