Portland: Cistus Nursery

The first day (Friday) of last week's Portland Garden Bloggers Fling started with a walk, but then had us on the bus out to Sauvie Island, for a picturesque 15-mile ride to Cistus Nursery.

What makes Cistus (and the next stop of the tour, Joy Creek Nursery) different from most city and suburban nurseries is its display garden. With a larger-than-urban property, they can plant lots of the things they sell so you can see their potential. And although any nursery that has a wall of bamboo along one border is a winner in my book already, We'll start with the display garden, which you must walk through to reach the more typical sales area.


Again because of the harsh sunlight and too-hot temperatures I didn't take too many wide shots to give you an overall view, but I did take a few.

This path was for the more ambitious, with lots of small discoveries
along the way. It was fabulously cool too on this hot day!
Mainly though I went for macro shots again -- you'll see that as a theme in these posts. I don't know how anybody can photograph gardens and not have access to a macro function or lens!

Seen on the cool, shady path shown above.

The most striking plants for me in the garden were a couple of members of the poppy family (I learned from fellow bloggers on the tour). First up was "plume poppy", whose 8' (2.4m) bloom stalks were amazing against the clear blue sky:

Maybe plume poppy (Macleaya cordata) is a bit of a bully, spreading readily in the garden, but I'm not afraid of big plants that want to take over. I'll be adding this to my garden this year if I can find it!

Another was what I was told was the "fried egg plant" (which I believe is Romneya coulteri):

This one is also cold-hardy in my zone, so I may have to give it a try as well. I wonder if the deer like both of these as much as they do other poppies?

Back by the customer restrooms there was a patch of Eryngium -- I'm not certain what species, but there were multiple types it seemed. I love the look of most Eryngium, but the E. planum that I grow in my garden has an unpleasant scent of cat poop. These had no fragrance that I could detect, but attracted the bees by the dozens!

Look at the beat-up wings on this one! How can it even fly?

Does anybody know the species of these Eryngium? I want to try them!

Ready to take a look at the sales areas?
They're arranged into different "rooms" based on the conditions they like (if I remember correctly):

There is also a central area with so many wonderful Yuccas and similar...

And a few greenhouses. Do you know what's not the most fun place to be when it's 90ºF+ degrees outside? A greenhouse.

Still, there were lots of interesting textures in here, so I endured.

I've actually bought plants from Cistus before and had them shipped, so it was really nice to see where they originated. I've read other gardeners' accounts of their trips to Cistus before so not everything here was new, but photographs are a poor substitute for the actual experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the visit -- despite the heat!

Next up: Joy Creek Nursery, equally impressive as Cistus but with a completely different feel.


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outlawgardener  – (July 18, 2014 at 10:15 AM)  

Thanks Alan, I love Cistus and you got some great macro shots! It was delightful to meet you in person at the fling! Like anyone who has it, I'm always pulling Macleaya cordata to keep it in bounds and would be delighted to send you some. Probably spring or fall would be best?

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 18, 2014 at 10:26 AM)  

Aaah, Cistus. I could have spent all day there if it hadn't been so hot. We went back on Monday and it was almost as hot--the greenhouses certainly were a sauna. But there is so much to explore. Every nook and cranny has something droolworthy. It's pretty clear that Sean and his associates are plant freaks.

Alan  – (July 18, 2014 at 10:48 AM)  

Peter: great to meet you in person too! Send those seedlings whenever -- I'd like to stick some in this year to see what happens over the winter (will deer eat them, or rabbits, or woodchucks, or the cold, or wet) then I can try again in the spring if needed. :)

Gerhard: yes, you can really tell when a nursery owner is a plant person as opposed to a "landscaper". Wish there were more of those in St. Louis. :(

danger garden  – (July 18, 2014 at 12:28 PM)  

Great shots Alan! Wish you could have spent more time there.

Denise  – (July 18, 2014 at 1:08 PM)  

That third-to-last photo is the crassula I took home! (Crassula pruinosa) -- it was great to meet you, Alan.

Mark and Gaz  – (July 18, 2014 at 1:45 PM)  

With the harsh lighting it was a great idea to focus on collecting macro shots instead. Great shots!

Alan  – (July 18, 2014 at 2:53 PM)  

Loree: thanks! I moreso wish that it had been cooler. I would have taken a cooler short visit over a longer hot one. :)

Denise: At first I counted wrong and thought you were talking about the brain-looking one. The one you chose was vary attractive!

Mark or Gaz: I'd be taking macro shots in any conditions. The harshness just made me look like I had a clever plan. :)

Charlie@Seattle Trekker  – (July 19, 2014 at 11:32 AM)  

What a treasure, Oregon certainly has some amazing nurseries. I have been buying plants from Joy Creek for a while, but this nursery is new...The photos are great; I will make a point of stop to see it.

Hoover Boo  – (July 20, 2014 at 6:23 PM)  

You got some wonderful photos despite the heat--the double bees are fabulous. It was soooo hot! I remember drooping like an unwatered hydrangea.

Alan  – (July 21, 2014 at 9:51 AM)  

Gail and Heather: I could take bee photos for hours, so glad you like them! I especially liked the "blonde" honey bees -- I don't see that color here.

Kit Aerie-el  – (August 7, 2014 at 3:50 PM)  

Great shots Alan! It was sooooo hot that day.
I'm still in search of a nursery here like Cistus and/or Joy Creek too.
The Eryngium looks like 'Sapphire Blue' maybe?

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