Going on Now: Labor Day Sale at Cistus Nursery

Gorgeous Hedychium met us in the parking lot.
This summer has been lean and mean for me financially. So when Cistus Nursery posted that they were having a 30% off Labor Day Sale I knew I was in luck. What a great opportunity for me to save some pennies and head on out to Sauvie Island with my friend Billye.
Admittedly, I hadn’t been to Cistus since June so that made this visit a bit more special to me. It looked lovely as usual and I was so happy to be back.
While walking around with all the prickly things I thought about my friend Loree over at Danger Garden. I can still hear myself thinking, “Wow, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t take a picture of one of these things for my blog. I can talk about these things.” Then, just as I leaned in with my camera to get a closer look at the gorgeous Agave americana ‘Yellow Ribbons’ on the top shelf, the Agave aff. macroculmis T73-99 just beneath it on the bench poked me in the leg. Oops! When will I ever learn? (Both are great plants. Don’t let me give any of these plants a bad name.)
I admire those of you out there who can live with these plants and not hurt yourselves. Maybe I would do better with the Nolina macrocarpa sitting beside ‘Yellow Ribbons’? Hmmm, I think not. No. Let’s be positive. Maybe now is just not my time.

It really was a beautiful day and I loved looking up above the nursery to see all of the textures from the plantings. I’m so in love with green texture these days.

I was a little bit disappointed that Sean Hogan (the nursery’s owner) wasn’t around that day, but I hope to catch up with him this winter. He is a good plant friend and very much understands and encourages my seed habit. I like talking to him a lot about seed collecting adventures.

Canary Islands Juniper, Juniperus cedrus.

During this visit I looked at things differently. Sure, I don’t have room for this tree, but I liked it so I took a picture. I’m branching out a bit again, learning a few new things, paying attention.

My friend Billye with her new Italian greyhound Tango.

When you visit Cistus Nursery it’s often quite relaxing. This is the kind of retail environment you like to sit around in while you enjoy the sights.

Than again, if you’re like me, you can park people in the shade while you shop. Billye went for the plants but we all know that we’re not always so lucky and sometimes we end up dragging people with us to nurseries. Cistus is friendly for those folks.

While we were there, birds swirled overhead.

Chilean lantern tree, Crinodendron hookerianum.

As we walked back to pay for our plants I saw this Chilean lantern tree blooming. Mine is still happily growing along but it’s not blooming right now. I think I might have pruned it when it didn’t want to be pruned. I can wait.

Ashe magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla ssp. ashei.

My friend and I ventured back into the corner we’d missed. It was fun seeing a big leaf magnolia. These trees really make me smile with their big huge leaves.

Giant Cape Restio, Rhodocoma capensis.

There were other treats.

Lysionotus pauciflorus.

Up at the register I found temptation after temptation.

Lysionotus pauciflorus.
This one was really difficult to say “No” to but I did. Maybe next time…

Salvia buchananii ‘Velvet Slipper’.

I liked this one too.

Looking around it felt great to be back. I wish I could have purchased more but planting all of these plants takes time. I don’t have a lot of extra time nowadays. It’s good though because I’m staying busy with my garden coaching client.
Sometime soon I’ll be back. I highly recommend you go too if you can do so before now and Monday. The sale was really quite a treat. It’s worth the trip.

In the end I walked away with a few things I’d lost in the garden: Sedum divergens, a pine-scented rosemary, and a Melicytus crassifolius. I also added a few new friends: Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’, Mahonia gracilipes, and my first Dahlia. (It’s a Dahlia ‘Fascination’ and I’m so excited to finally have one.)

Who knows what I’ll end up doing this weekend, oh wait, I know: Annual Dahlia Festival. Maybe I’ll see you there!


Birds & Blooms

Birds are our friends—right? Sometimes though, it is hard for me to describe my feelings about birds. I am married to a bird lover, who has a mother who is a bird lover, and I only discovered in my 20s how much I enjoyed birds too. (My mother never let me keep any pet birds because of their noise and their mess making.) But I am talking about pet birds now, and not wild ones, and that opens up a whole different set of feelings.
The Dude, our old bald Senegalese parrot from the Oregon Humane Society. We adopted him with a female Senegalese we named Pretty Bird. She is now living with my mother-in-law and The Dude moved to a home with an indoor aviary. They were our first therapeutic foster kids since they were older birds who had been neglected and did not like people much. Their anxiety levels were the worst I have ever seen and our cats were traumatized by the whole experience. Parrots falling into this state just breaks my heart. I am happy though that we helped them both by praising their individual talents. The Dude loved to dance and we loved to watch him listen to music. Pretty Bird is much more complicated though. To put it simply, she would make a great old school nun at my Catholic grade school.
We live in the Great Northwest and it is fairly well known that our access to wild birds is really quite incredible. I have travelled and camped in many of the greatest bird watching areas in Washington, Oregon and Idaho and yet I have not done so to watch the birds. Since I am chronically ill, and can sit and watch virtually anything for long lengths of time, none of this makes a great deal of sense. My New Year’s resolution is to work on this and to include more bird watching outings with some of the kids who come to our home as Therapeutic Respite Foster kids. Not all of them will enjoy this activity, so for their enjoyment, and for ours too, we are going to begin close to home with our bird watching.
Last weekend we visited one of the Backyard Bird Shop stores in the Portland Metro Area. I love these stores, and my husband had never been to one, so we took one of our animal loving kids.

If I’d had more money, I would have bought a lot, but instead I chose some basic items: new suet cakes with mealworms embedded in them, gourmet food for the winter birdies, and a bird ID pamphlet for anyone who wants to use it.

I think that  all of these should be interesting for the winter birds, and I plan to let you all know what is popular in the neighborhood. Since we have two very large Douglas firs on our property, and a large park full of adult trees up above us on the extinct volcano, there are plenty of birds hanging out year round. I only want to keep the occupants happy so that they will keep my garden in order.

Lastly, this is my first Amaryllis bulb ever and my first bloom. Enjoy it as you have enjoyed your own!

Hippeastrum “Picotee” aka Amaryllis

PS: For those of you who wanted to see the French King Cake, I was too ill to make one this year, but I have heard that my favorite local French bakery is making them throughout the month of January so I am going to check into this.