Like many Portland area gardeners before me—and likely after—I’ve tried to grow Geranium maderense in my garden with little success. Yes, those experiments could have been successful if I’d been lucky enough to own a larger garden with a greenhouse for overwintering large specimens, but I don’t have that kind of setup, so I need to work with what I have available at this time, and because of this, I just gave up on it.
Enter Geranium palmatum, also a large species plant, but one which I was talked into trying by a few of my garden blogging friends. My first impulse was to say no to the free starts. I was terribly reluctant because of the previous failures and disappointments. But then the prospect of it actually working took hold, and I wanted to save seeds from the experiment, so I committed to it for 2 years to see if it would work (it’s a biennial or short-lived perennial).
The fact that I was offered seedlings from someone else’s garden in the Willamette Valley said to me that I might have a chance with it.
The first year it was just lush foliage—but it grew well. The plant start I’d received had been in a 3″ pot so I didn’t know what to expect but I was told that it would get large quickly. And it did.
Last winter wasn’t too cold or rough for it. The plant began to take off as we warmed up, and I was surprised that during the winter it had remained semi-evergreen for me.
Then it bloomed its head off last summer, and I enjoyed the show.
So overall, I wouldn’t call this an easy beginner’s plant. It will require some more advanced gardening skills to plant it in the correct site, but it’s worth the additional light mental effort.
(If you’d like to read a nice post about the two different species mentioned written by someone else, I really recommend this one.)
You don’t see this plant offered often at nurseries since it’s really just a small start of a plant that will look much different later in the garden. Nurseries can’t keep plants like this in containers for long, and they’re a bit of a financial gamble.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.