Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Bloedel Reserve Plant Sale

This past weekend I went to the Bloedel Reserve Plant Sale, and met Peter of The Outlaw Gardener there. (I've posted before about the Bloedel Reserve here and here and here.) I brought Nigel too, who sat at a table outside with his Kindle while Peter and I shopped. OK, maybe shopped is not the word for it. We kind of wandered around, picking up plants and showing them to each other with big grins on our faces.

For a much more in-depth view of all the ins and outs of the plant sale itself, check out Peter's post here.

I actually went to this same sale two years ago, in its first year (I skipped last year), when there were fewer vendors and a lot fewer customers. This year, it was packed with people! It's a great sale, with lots of local small nurseries and unique plants that you seldom, if ever, see at big nurseries like Molbak's. I had such a good time, I actually didn't take any photos until I was leaving, when I turned around and got a shot of the plant tables and checkout line from far away.

The Bloedel Reserve is a premier garden destination on Bainbridge Island in Washington state.

On the way to our cars with our purchases, we passed a worker for the West Sound Wildlife Shelter who was holding a great horned owl on her arm. What a magnificent bird! His name was Orion, and you can read about him here. He's an educational ambassador who was born with a wonky wing and couldn't survive in the wild.

The West Sound Wildlife Shelter provides care for injured, orphaned, and sick wild animals. They recently rehabilitated and then released 6 local bald eagles that were accidentally poisoned when they fed on a euthanized horse that someone failed to bury in a timely manner.

After the sale we stopped in Kingston, WA, where we had lunch and then continued on to Dragonfly Farms, a cool local nursery that specializes in unique plants, whose catchphrase is "Where Abnormality is the Normality." I've posted before about Dragonfly here. Once again, Nigel sat and read while Peter and I wandered the aisles, in a trance, showing plants to each other and grinning. Actually, maybe it was more like kids let loose in a candy store.

So...what plants did I buy?

Well, one goal for the day was to buy a couple of new Epimediums. I was specifically looking for Epimedium wushanense, and I found it twice -- once at the plant sale, where I bought two small divisions from Far Reaches Farm, and then again at Dragonfly, where they had larger pots, with bigger and more impressive foliage.

Epimedium wushanense Spiny-leaf form

Epimedium species ex. Sichuan

Impatiens omeiana 'Silver and Pink'

Pyrrosia sheareri Felt Fern

Cardiocrinum giganteum

Syneleisis aconitifolia

Tropaeolium tuberosum
Himalayan maidenhair fern

Persicaria microcephala 'Purple Fantasy'

Such an amazing, rich red chevron...

Ribes speciosum -- a relative of our native flowering currant with hanging flowers that resemble a fuchsia

It also has scary looking spines

Primula Kennedy Irish Drumcliff

Such gorgeous dark crinkled foliage

The entire haul minus the Ribes

Now if only the weather would cooperate and provide me with some dry, warm days to get all these plants in the ground!


  1. The Reserve looks beautiful and plant sales are so much fun, especially with a friend who understands.

    Orion is magnificent! We have a couple of great horned owls in the trees behind our house but rarely get a good look at them. Having one pose for you is wonderful.

  2. I'd love to go to that plant sale one day. It looks beautiful at The Bloedel Reserve, I've got it on my list of places to visit this summer.
    I love seeing plant trays full of new plants! Maybe next week it will be dry enough to plant? I'm ready for the sun to come back!
    Thanks for introducing me to a new to me PNW blog!

  3. I had such a fun time shopping and being silly with you! Some people just don't understand our excitement about a leaf shape, color, texture, etc. Nigel is a riot! Thanks for the link love!

  4. Looks like you both had a great'll love 'Purple Fantasy'...mine are looking fabulous so far this year :-)

  5. What a wonderful day for you both! (and hopefully Nigel too) Thanks for the reminder that I need a Pyrrosia sheareri...and your Epimedium wushanense collection is enviable! Glad to see you got yourself one of those Ribes that you admired in the pics of Sean's garden.

  6. You always find the most interesting places with the most unique plants. It is so nice that your Nigel is such a good sport about all of it.

    You sure came home with a nice lot of favorite is the delicate maidenhair pretty. xo

  7. More blogger friends meeting? I just read Button's Blog. It makes me feel good. I like your plants. You certainly are a collector. I lose so many to winter that I have become less adventurous. I like looking at yours. Can't wait to see how they do.

  8. Seriously wonderful plants....Loving the epimediums and that persicaria!

  9. What a great owl! There is one in our neighborhood. I've had glimpses of it a coupl


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