Cistus Nursery: Seed Grown Wonders Currently on Mail Order


It has been a great week, but I’m exhausted, and I’ve not yet written posts in advance to make this weekly posting process easier. As usual, my commute back and forth to Cistus Nursery was pleasant and I continue to enjoy listening to audiobooks. There is so much change in the air this time of year.

One of the fun things happening at the nursery is that the City of Portland is regularly there for plants. I have no idea how or where they’re being used (most of the time), but I look forward to that tour in a few years once a few things have grown in a bit—especially the trees! Beginning there, let’s just say that there are many of our trees that I’ve grown from seed (or acorn) since I started. There are more than a few available now, but I cannot take credit for them all! We have so many wonderful things that we grow, and it takes a village to make that all happen.

Passiflora manicata Venezuela, a passion vine with a red bloom. It’s a zone 9 plant so for many of you it will need protection, or else it can be grown in a container.

Yes, online shopping at the nursery site is a bit old school, but we’re working on that. Until that changes, if there is something you’d like to order, sending an email works well, or else you can call directly to place your order over the phone. If we’re out, we can add you to a waitlist. For some of our very rare and super special stuff, it’s always good to get on those lists. Some crops are just small, and that’s the way it is, and this is how we’re able to offer so many incredible plant “flavors” at the same time.

Our waitlists also help us to decide what’s a propagation priority too! You ask and we listen!

Ferula communis ‘Gigantea’. If you’re like me and you like some dramatic foliage plants, this is the one for you.

Some of the plant crops we have are just plain A*M*A*Z*I*N*G. Nothing says: the gardener who lives here is just plain FUN—like a Ferula. Having seen these growing in the wild in Sicily I’m Forever a Ferula Fangirl.

Ferula communis ssp. glauca. If one is not enough for you, and you love to collect and compare, then here’s Ferula #2.

Nothing says “repetition” like a collection right? That’s why I have to have 10 of everything in completely different colors, right? #planthoard #gardenmaximalism #moreismore

And speaking of Maximalism, a design style that’s currently popular and one which I’m rather fond of, texture on texture, on texture, with colors thrown in, is what it’s all about. Cistus Nursery is a great place for the Maximalists out there!

Cercis occidentalis. A beautiful tree grown closer to home.

Folks sometimes confuse this native Southern Oregon/NorCal native with its more common relative Cercis canadensis. While it’s similar, it won’t do well being given regular irrigation during the summer. This tree wants to be a bit more on the dry side but you can irrigate it until it’s established. Just be sure to let it dry out between waterings.

Schefflera delavayi is not quite ready for mail order, but it’s close. I used to joke that I couldn’t keep this one straight with another but now they’re all straightened out in my mind. Growing these from seed has been quite an accomplishment and they’re simply stunning plants in the garden.

I jokingly avoided many plants from Cistus Nursery for ages because they were so popular with so many of my blogging friends. While I could have added them many times over during the last 20 years, I guess I’m a jerk and just needed to grow my own. It’s not meant as an insult to the other propagators that came before me, it just worked out that way! Once again I’m late to the party but I had to wait to fall in love with something. Being popular with my friends doesn’t always cut it for me but luckily we have something for everyone!

Sonchus palmensis is still available and they’re a bit larger than they were last year.

These seem a bit large for mail order, so keep that in mind. You’ll be getting a nice big plant. I grew these from seed last year, and they need some winter protection, but are otherwise a giant dandelion tree. No big deal. Kind of amazingly cool.

Aristolochia californica. We don’t have these in the catalog right now, but we have a crop of seedlings that was just potted up. We’ll have them again soon and I’d suggest keeping this vine in mind. It’s a wandering, scrambling, winter-blooming vine.

I’m adding a few photos of other favorite plants. I’ve been enjoying this vine in the parking lot for the last few months and soon I’ll be watching over its seed heads. We collect them there at the nursery, and then grow these plants from seed. Last year we lost the seeds to insects, but these are the wars we wage to do what we love.

Asparagus scandens var. deflexus. This one is not available, but we have a few different unusual choices for container plantings.

Lastly, I have this asparagus plant. I tent to love all of the ornamental ones, but this is a special favorite. It appears soft and fluffy as it tumbles out of containers. It’s a bit thorny though. I hope to have a new crop of it soon. I just needed to collect, clean and sow all of those berries.

No big deal. It’s just what I do.


Hope you enjoyed this little greenhouse tour of a few of my favorites. There’s nothing new and earth shattering, but it’s fun to share the fruits of my labors with you.

April 2018, a Month of Action!

IMG_1815Highlights from last April include the publication of this piece I wrote for the HPSO (Hardy Plant Society of Oregon) Bulletin.

There was also a much needed trip to the coast. I was able to walk in the ocean a bit, and later I ate some fresh oysters. I also got to see the alder tree at Dad’s house that had fallen into the river during the winter.

A few plants were purchased. At the annual Portland Orchid Society sale I found an Anthurium scherzerianum ‘Rothchildianum’. At another local plant sale I discovered Iris ‘Kinky Boots’. At my Gesneriad Society group I was able to get some seeds. At Hortlandia I volunteered at one of the HPSO booths and I bought the new edition of the PNW butterfly book by Robert Micheal Pyle.

Back at Cistus Nursery there was much going on. Year round there are plants blooming but in April things really begin to take off. We still had Aristolochia californica going and the Trillium kurbayashii were showing their beauty in the garden border. The Gasteria glomerata you see blooming was likely the one at Sean’s old house but these bloom off an on at work in the greenhouses. They’re one of my favorites. Preparations were made for seed germination. I continue to learn as the months tick by. There is still so much to learn and there are so many seeds out there to germinate. I propagated some Bergenia ciliata, and sniffed the most gentle of Mahonia. I potted up a Claytonia parviflora ssp. (I think) and that Ceanothus arboreus ‘Powder Blue’! Wow! Wow! Wowzers!

The garden at home suffered a bit due to my busy schedule. The Eccrecarpus bloomed all winter. The Darlingtonia californica found a perfect home. The front area of the house was still a mess. (Much as it is now. I just cannot tame that area.) Geranium phaeum ‘Sambor’ continued to impress. The Dodecatheon I’ve had for years continued to bulk up and the community garden plot definitely needed some love after months of neglect.

Lastly, there were the cats. Oliver really started to enjoy his spot on the back roof overlooking the living willow area, and Felix finally got to get out on his leash a bit. For the first time he visited the nursery while a group of us were on a plant-shopping field trip BEFORE Hortlandia. Yeah, I know, I’m bad! I don’t think I bought anything that day—or did I? A shout out to meeting an online friend too for the first time. Jason Chen is a designer and wonderful person who lives down in SoCal. I had no idea I’d be seeing him in Portland for Hortlandia and imagine my surprise when Felix jumped into his lap and fell asleep.

Last April was a really fun month.