Portland: Joy Creek Nursery

After Cistus Nursery, the buses took us through more scenic farmland (did we just pass a field of spirea and roses?!) and on to Joy Creek Nursery. Whereas Cistus has a bit of an emphasis on more xeric and spiky plants (Agaves, Yuccas, etc.) Joy Creek felt like a more "traditional" nursery -- but that is not the right term to use to describe this wonderful place.

What makes Joy Creek so special is, like Cistus, they have a huge demonstration garden. In fact, I would describe Joy Creek as a garden that also sells plants rather than a nursery with a garden. So much to show you, so I want to jump right in...


The photo above was taken from fairly close to the start of the drive into the property -- the barn marks the nursery area, where the part in front is display garden. I debated on how to show you the photos, and I concluded that I'd post them for the most part in the order in which I took them (excluding that first photo, which I took on the way out).

When I get to a new garden I like to walk around a bit first, not taking any photos. I don't want to distract from enjoying the space, getting a feel for it. So the camera stays down until I've gotten a taste, then I retrace my steps and snap away.

In this case I strolled down the driveway until I found myself at the nursery area. Since the gardens in the front had swallowed most of the other bloggers, the place looks empty. Believe me, it is not!

Open in new window for full, high-res panorama

I have to admit that I stayed away from looking at too many plants, knowing that I did not want to carry (or ship) too much back to St. Louis. Still, this is by far the most scenic nursery that I've ever visited. Look at the surroundings!

Now, time to look at the gardens. So many wonderful views, you can almost just randomly point the camera and come away with a nice shot. Since I was already at the back of the garden, I'm working my way back to the front in these shots...

The bamboo is planted where the road meets the driveway...

I could not identify the species, as many of the all-green types look very similar. Very impressive and beautiful though!

I spent lots of time with the macro lens too of course, since I feel that a garden should be experienced up close, not just from afar.

As I found myself in the hydrangea portion of the garden, I couldn't resist -- I love lacecap hydrangeas!

There were some great lavenders too:

There is a clematis garden too, with many different varieties planted. Most had finished blooming of course, but they all have such beautiful seed heads:

And if it's fluffy you like...

...smoke tree doesn't disappoint!

And now shield your eyes, because they have a Rudbeckia test garden that was dazzling:

It was just blazing with color!

To rest my eyes I turned back into the shady areas for a few minutes...

More bamboo!

But then I had to go back out and see what all of the hummingbird twittering was about:

Crocosmia, which it seems everybody in Portland grows. It's so incredibly large, as tall as me, that you'd think the hummingbirds could share. They're not good at sharing. (I saw ruby-throats Anna's and rufous)

With all of the incredible plants here -- and somehow everything was blooming at the same time -- you'd think I would have trouble choosing a favorite. Surprisingly that was not true, as this next one was easily my favorite:

Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula rubra) looking just fantastic against the blue sky! So beautiful, so big -- weird that I had to go to Portland to discover a plant that is a Missouri native! (Well, in some parts of Missouri at least.)

I actually went shopping locally for this plant this weekend as I just need to have it in my garden, and found it on sale, 1/2 price! (So of course I bought two)

The most vibrant bee balm I've yet seen, and there was no label to tell us what variety this was:

I believe these are Knautia of some kind -- can somebody verify?  (Edit: It's Astrantia major -- thanks for the correction cirmaraki!)

I worked my way back toward the house, where this huge tree provided lots of shade:

But turning around gave you another fantastic view:

Since at this time it was only a few minutes until the bus was going to leave I had to hurry and snap photos of whatever caught my eye -- and there was still so much to see!

Another panorama -- click or open in new window to see full-sized!

Even in the last 100 yards (90m) I kept finding beauty...

There was a large drift of this rush in the ditch across the road, next to the gravel lot where the buses parked. Perhaps just a "weed" in this case, but so wonderful!

A perfect way to end a trip to a really special place, Joy Creek Nursery. I won't forget this soon!

(If you visit, note that the fence around the property is electric, so watch your extremities when taking photos. Especially if you want to get that last macro shot of the bamboo...) 


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scottweberpdx  – (July 21, 2014 at 10:35 AM)  

Glad you enjoyed JC, Alan...it really is my favorite nursery...not just for the plants, but also for the amazing display gardens...and the awesome staff :-)

Chickadee Gardens  – (July 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM)  

Hi Alan, Wow, you captured this garden sooo beautifully. When I'm there I tend to go straight to the plants for sale, so it's lovely to see it from your perspective. The hummingbirds we have here are a lot of fun, we have two kinds - Rufous and Anna's which look like Ruby-Throats, but not quite as colorful. The Anna's stay year-round! We love them. Again, thanks for sharing! GORGEOUS photos!

Alan  – (July 21, 2014 at 1:38 PM)  

Scott: I can see why you love it! The sense of the place just can't be captured in photos, try as we might.

Tamara: Thanks for the correction on the hummingbird species and for the compliments! (Sorry I didn't get to see your garden on the trip!)

Mark and Gaz  – (July 21, 2014 at 3:05 PM)  

Your photos have done Joy Creek great justice Alan. Glad to hear you got hold of a plant you spotted and liked there, almost like a memento of your visit.

cirmaraki  – (July 21, 2014 at 4:10 PM)  

That knautia is really Astrantia major, isn't it?

Alan  – (July 21, 2014 at 4:26 PM)  

Cirmaraki: thanks for the correction! The plants that need cool evenings in summer don't do well here so I'm unfamiliar.

danger garden  – (July 22, 2014 at 12:05 AM)  

Wow, regarding the electric fence warning I hope it didn't hurt too much. Glad you found the Filipendula rubra locally. Did you end up hauling any plants back with you?

Unknown  – (July 22, 2014 at 1:08 AM)  

FanTAStic photography, Alan. Thank you for sharing.

Barbie  – (July 22, 2014 at 5:22 AM)  

I just loved all the colour and brightness!! Thank you - I needed that today!!

Alan  – (July 22, 2014 at 7:23 AM)  

Thanks Barbie and Unknown!

Loree: my elbow just barely brushed the fence, so it wasn't a full shock -- just enough to tingle. I haven't had an encounter with an electric fence since I was a kid. :)

Heather  – (July 24, 2014 at 12:54 AM)  

I always drive to Joy Creek if I'm chewing on something difficult. The beauty of the gardens and a conversation with Maurice and I'm all fixed up! Wonderful photos!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 27, 2014 at 1:18 PM)  

Your photos are stunning. You certainly know how to use that macro lens perfectly. I loved Joy Creek as well. In sense, it was a truly exotic garden for me since I can't grow many of the plants they have in their demonstration garden.

Pam/Digging  – (August 2, 2014 at 10:59 PM)  

You visit faraway nurseries the same way I do, Alan -- intending to bring home only pictures, not plants. I loved Joy Creek that incredible display garden.

Beth  – (August 5, 2014 at 1:11 AM)  

It is a wonderful nursery and great fun to visit! Did you happy to see Yowler the Nursery Cat? FYI we do not have Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds in Oregon. We have Anna's and Rufous.

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