Some people call them statement plants, others splurge plants or anchor pants. These plants are called to perform a very special role in a garden. Quite often they require a little gulp when you see the price tag, either in terms of the money to be paid upfront, or in terms of the care and attention they will need to perform to their full potential. Today was one of those days.
The plant we added into the collection was Bismarkia nobilis – a major statement plant if ever there was one. It is a silver blue palm that can grow to be quite large, but is also a slow grower. It is destined to be at the top of staircase that will be built to produce a forced perspective. The path will zigzag up with each zig and zag getting shorter than the one before making it look as if it is receding into the distance. The statement plat at the apex of this path will thus appear to be even larger. It will also be coming from the Fairy garden where everything is small, so I hope it will make a very big statement.
None of this is built yet and will be part of the plans for next year. First we have to keep it alive over winter and then prepare the location where it will be planted – long before the path to it will be built.
Bring On the Roses
When the garden was first started, roses were on the top of the menu for the deer. I kept a sole rose on the deck (Vavoom) where they couldn’t get to it. Last year, I tried a climbing polyantha ‘Cecile Brunner’ on the portal where it had some protection. Some blossoms poked out from the trellis and they didn’t get eaten immediately.
So this year I am ready to try the next step. The number of deer incursions into the garden has reduced, so I am putting in two new climbers along the exterior fencing: Golden Showers and Purple Splash. I am hoping that climbers will be able to handle a small amount of munching without undue damage, whereas a shrub could be eaten to the ground.
** It took the deer two days to find them and find a way to get at them. They are now reduced to sticks with just a few leaves remaining. Given they were due to go into dormancy, I will not give up hope, but I will make sure to put a protective shield around them before spring.
Mourning the Loss
It is always sad when a nursery that you have discovered and has provided incredible and unique plants disappears. This has happened twice this month, both in rather different ways. The first is saying goodbye to the only nursery in Tillamook – Hidden Acres. It was recently bought by Jandy Oysters and has been turned into an oyster bar. They still say they want to do plants on the side, but it is unclear if there is any knowledge or expertise left amongst the staff. There is always the hope that they will continue and only time will tell.
The second is Joy Creek in Scappoose. They have suddenly decided to retire and close operations at the end of this planting year. This was a true nursery in that they found and propagated most of their own material, meaning that most of their products were not the common stuff you find in the big box stores. This is a big loss to the Portland area gardening community, and we will certainly try and get a final trip in there to say goodbye and thank you. We wish you a long and happy retirement.
** We did indeed get there and came home with a collection of 20 Fuchsias and many other plants. We have started to plant a Fuchsia garden and now we will always associate that with Joy Creek.
Finally a month where this years rainfall exceeded last year, and not by a small margin. We almost doubled it. This year’s total was 12.50 inches compared to 6.45. As can be expected, a majority of the rain was in the back half of the month which is exactly the period that was almost without rain last year. 2019 managed to record 7 inches. As for temperatures, we were slightly colder this year and windier, but not by any significant amount.