Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Will You Discover?

By Hortiholicus happii and Gardennia nutti

We had such a great day on Tuesday discovering new garden centers, plants, and making new friends. We started out at the Oregon Garden with a tour of the trial gardens for Proven Winners and Ball Horticultural which display and “test” primarily annuals that are new this year or will be introduced in 2010 in a garden-like setting. All America Selections (AAS) annuals and vegetables are also on display. Plant breeders go through rigorous trials of new plants, and we discovered that the Oregon Garden is one of the places used for these trials. We also discovered that the potato vine used commonly as an annual in containers produces an edible sweet potato and looks great as a ground cover rather than being relegated just to containers! (The Oregon Garden donates their tubers to the Oregon Food Bank and said they are very tasty, but please, before you dig in check to see if your variety produces edibles first.)

If you decide to go to the Oregon Garden remember to check out the plants for sale in the front entry area – plants were donated by Conifer Society member wholesale nurseries and proceeds will help expand the Conifier Garden, already the largest such display west of the Mississippi. You’ll find great values for some tried-and-true plants and also interesting selections, such as a tempting Douglas Fir witche’s broom found by Oregon Garden volunteer Doug Wilson. We bought a beautiful Cedrus deodara 'Divinely Blue' for a ridiculously low price...

Our next stop was Raintree Tropical where we discovered hardy palms and bananas and many other ornamentals. Steve was instrumental in showing us wonderful new additions to our yard…and showing us all the frogs that live in his greenhouse along with their beautiful orchids!

The last stop on Tuesday was Out in the Garden Nursery. Carol Westergreen has a robust selection of shade plants and we filled several flats with ferns, bergenia and grasses for our shady areas. Polystichum neolobatum and Asplenium scolopendrium 'Cristata' were two ferns we couldn't resist: both are evergreen and the foliage is just stunning.

Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful weather and making your own discoveries on Le Tour des Plants!

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