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

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Successful Nursery Trip

Over the weekend I went looking for a dwarf Blue Atlas Cedar/Cedrus atlantica 'Horstmann.' After reading Peter The Outlaw Gardener's recent post here about Alpine Nursery and its excellent selection of conifers, I decided to give it a try on Saturday afternoon. I looked it up on Google maps before we set off, but I still didn't realize just how far out in Puyallup it was. And of course I didn't count on having to drive down Meridian Street in Puyallup, which, being a major franchise alley, is a mess of traffic most days but even worse on Saturdays. We crawled along amongst the Saturday afternoon shoppers and errand-runners. And of course, it was raining. In fact, it had been briefly snowing earlier in the day, but it changed to rain when the temps rose.

Anyway, we finally arrived at the deserted nursery. No one else apparently was on a mission like I was. I set off from the car and had barely set foot into the nursery when a man came out into the rain and cold to ask if he could help. I told him my mission and he showed me a couple of small specimens, which were really too small for me, unfortunately. One had a nice form, but looked sort of Bonsai-ish, sitting in a hypertufa trough. So he very kindly told me that his friend who owns Vassey Nursery had exactly what I was looking for, since he had been there recently and seen that they had a couple of very lovely Blue Atlas Cedars about 3-4 feet high. He made a call and told them I was coming and to pull their best one and hold it for me. I wish I knew the name of the man at Alpine who helped me out, but I'm assuming he was the owner. I'll definitely be going back when the weather is nicer to check out what else he has for sale. That's only fair.

I wish I had thought to check Vassey first, since it's actually much closer to our house than Alpine. Anyway, we set off for Vassey and when we got there, found the most perfect specimen waiting for us. In no time, we had it paid for ($74.99 for the curious amongst you) and loaded into the car.

What a beauty!

I just love those clusters of blue needles

On Sunday I couldn't resist going out to plant it, despite frigid temps. I put it in the front bed next to my Pinus sylvestris 'Nisbet's Gold,' a lovely Scotch pine that turns yellow in winter and greens up in summer sun. Not right next to it, of course. I've allowed room for both of them to reach their mature size in 10 years or so -- 6 ft. by 3 ft. for the pine and 8 ft. by 3 ft. for the cedar. Hopefully the info on the tags is correct. They're about 6 1/2 feet apart, measuring from trunk to trunk.

Pinus sylvestris 'Nisbet's Gold'

The long golden needles will make a nice contrast with the cedar's clusters of short blue needles

Right to left: Blue Atlas Cedar, 'Nisbet's Gold' pine, 'Sunlight Lace' Hinoki cypress, and far beyond them and out of focus, Abies koreana 'Silberlocke' and against the sky still waiting to leaf out, Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'

It was so cold when I finished that my hands were aching and red, but I still had to capture that lineup in a picture.


  1. What a beauty! I love adventures out looking for new nurseries. I'll be up in the Puyallup area shortly for the Sew Expo. AND I will stay on BUDGET!!! Down fall, I'm so weak when I see new fabric I don't NEED!!!

  2. A nice line up with their different tones and texture! Despite the hassle getting there at least it was still a good result and you came home with what you're looking for.

  3. You've chosen three gorgeous evergreens for that bed! What a spectacular show you'll have year round from them! Glad you finally found your Atlas Cedar! Just saw several this weekend at Portland Avenue Nursery.

  4. Score! I'm so happy you found your BAC Alison!

  5. Congratulations on your new addition, Alison. I expect you're making steady progress in planting your new area.

  6. Great choice Alison, glad you managed to track one down. What a helpful nurseryman he was.
    I was shopping for a new conifer at the weekend too. I bought a Abies Koreana. When it's mature, it will be too big for the garden but I will probably not be around to see that - therefore I'm not worrying about it. I'll enjoy it while I can.

  7. I went to a talk on conifers last night. The presenter could have used some pointers from you, as his choices were not half so interesting.

  8. You certainly have choosen for some of the most beautiful conifers in colour and texture. The Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' is a beautiful tree too.

  9. Congrats on the new garden family member! Also like your gold Scott's pine!

  10. you are one dedicated gardener , on a mission! I like your choices!

  11. Glad you found your cedar, Alison! That's a beautiful specimen and a wonderful combination with the pine!

  12. You have a wonderful collection of evergreens.


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