As promised, here is what I bought from Portland Nursery last weekend. Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ (tall rangy thing in the middle) was the evergreen vine I chose for the deer fence. It’s supposed to have fragrant, light pink flowers in spring. Hoping it fills out quick. From left to right, there is also a Canna ‘Australia’ (red leaf), Fatsia japonica, a pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Violet Bells’), Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’, two ice plants (Delosperma congesta and Delosperma cooperi ‘Garnet’), and my favorite of this bunch, sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina).
This will make my third one of these. Look at those leaves! Like a hardy Banksia grandis that won’t die this winter. The leaves are scented too. I just wish I could get it to spread. The descriptions always say it can spread rapidly, but my other two are still only one or two stems even after 5 years in the ground.
The next day, I snapped this photo when the ice plant flowers opened up in the sun. I much prefer the leaves of D. congesta on the left because they are more angular and firm while the leaves on the D. cooperi on the right are more like squishy green beans – yuck. I’ve tried these a few times in my first rock garden and they always rotted over winter. This year I am going to try them in the new rock garden, which is raised and should have much better drainage (I hope).
The planters at Portland Nursery always catch my eye.
I like that it puts the plants up close where we can appreciate them better. Look at the patterning on the scalloped leaves of that Saxifraga stolonifera (slightly left of center).
And how about the flowers?
Here’s another planter. Newer, and not as filled out yet. But at a nice height. Relatively simple design. I could build one of these…
My favorite display at Portland Nursery is their rock garden. If I could buy this, bring it home, and plop it in the driveway, I would. Pictures don’t do it justice.
That blue sky and those clouds!
I am surprised they are able to keep the whipcord hebe this small (Hebe ochracea). It’s been here about 3-4 years and it seems like mine always grow big too fast. Hebe has to be one of my favorite genera. So much variability in leaf form and symmetry galore. I think many people would mistake this whipcord hebe for a juniper. But it’s not. So, much cooler and not even a conifer at all. More closely related to Veronicas. The flowers give it away – no self respecting conifer would do anything like that.
And, probably my favorite fir, Abies pinsapo, tucked in on the lower right of the hebe. The pattern of the needles arranged around the stem is mesmerizing.
Even this Japanese garden juniper looks good cascading down off of the basalt like a green waterfall. That alarmingly good looking flat green mat to the right is…
Azorella trifurcata, a carrot relative. It needs a weekly drench of water in my garden though. Otherwise, it turns brown in short order.
Hebe ‘McKean’, a perfect green sphere. Again, I wonder how they keep them so small. The one in our yard is massive. Love the symmetry of the leaves. If I had more acreage and sun, I would grow hundreds of these.
One last parting shot. Goodbye rock garden. Until I see you again.
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I wish I could get Comptonia to survive and flourish here.
I’m trying to figure out how to grow it too. Hopefully I find a spot where it spreads like horsetail.
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