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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Weekend Visit to Cistus Nursery

This past weekend I drove down to Portland for an overnight trip, and to go to the Portland Yard, Garden and Patio Show. Although check-in at our hotel wasn't until 4 p.m., I left early in the morning because I wanted to check out a couple of nurseries. First on the agenda was Cistus Nursery, which I visited once before for the first time, last year. Cistus is a small nursery, but offers a wonderful selection of plants that I seldom/never see anywhere else, up here in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Fortunately the weather that day was gloriously sunny and warm.

This is the view that greets you upon entering the nursery -- a grove of trunking Yucca rostrata and Agaves.

To the right of the door, even more Yucca rostrata, as well as other palms

An interesting pattern has been cut into the trunk

I had come in search of two plants -- Chaemerops humilis var. cerifera and Nolina 'La Siberica.' I checked the nursery's online list to see if they had them in stock.

I had a choice of these smallish ones, and some that were larger, and also more costly.

I pulled out two Nolinas to see which I preferred. I chose the one on the right, but I'm always second-guessing my choices. Maybe I should have bought two.

I almost picked up a Hesperaloe as well, but decided to wait. Now of course, I don't think I made the right decision.

A cluster of monkey puzzle trees

I was literally the only customer there, despite the beautiful weather.

My two new plants

After paying for my plants I hauled them to the car, and then went back to check out the display garden. I was actually happy to see that it was still in need of some tidying up. It made me feel better about the mess out in my own garden that I haven't gotten to yet.

The beds were covered in bamboo debris

This Phormium isn't looking so hot -- the winter was hard on it

Even the steel Agave has wonky arms

A bright red Edgeworthia chrysantha was flowering

It had attracted a honey bee, who was industriously examining every tiny open bud.

These palms were looking quite good, none the worse for wear

I've been tempted to buy a monkey puzzle tree for my front garden, but I fear it will just get way too big. It's such a great-looking, fascinating tree.

I almost bought a Hesperaloe from the Cistus booth the next day at the YGP show, but didn't. I still want to get one, but I'm trying to be disciplined. I'm trying to concentrate on plants for the new front garden, and if I buy a Hesperaloe, it will be for the gravel garden. Given all the planting I still have to do, I don't know when I'll get around to putting new plants in the gravel garden. I was afraid if I bought it now, it wouldn't get planted till the fall, or might even end up wintering over in my yard still in its nursery pot. We were thinking of stopping back in again on Sunday on the way home, but the weather was not cooperating, it was way too rainy, so we just went on our merry way and headed straight home.

What do you think? Should I have bought the Hesperaloe in the hope that I'd get around to planting it this spring? Or was I right to stay the course, and buy only plants for the new front garden? Once that's done, then I can take some time for tweaking other garden beds.


  1. What's wrong with the comment button? My comment about letting them store plants for you until you are ready unless there's going to be a Hesperaloe shortage just disappeared.

    1. Jean, I've had that problem a few times on other blogs. I think it's a Blogger bug. It's very frustrating. I've taken to copying my comment before I hit Publish.

    2. It's a peculiar thing. I maintain both Blogger and Wordpress blogs and there are still times when I have to switch my persona. Wordpress people have trouble with my Blogspot blog is the only reason I can think of to have a Wordpress blog. Now why did I have to reply as Wordpress to leave a message here?

    3. ... and then it lets me go back to my Google self. Strange.

  2. My rule is, never buy more than you can see but I think you made the right choice in leaving the hesperaloe. That's a plant that is plentiful in nurseries in our area so you can always pick one up when you're ready. However, you should go back and get that second Nolina and maybe a third to round out the set. :)

  3. Hesperaloe! Hesperaloe! Well, my motto is always "Just one more" so maybe I'm not the best person to ask. Shoot, if you would have stopped on Sunday we may have run into you. We took the trek after the YGP show and I did some damage at Cistus/Joy Creek myself. Well, when you decide you need another trip to Cistus, let me know and I'll meet you there and be the devil whispering in your ear "just one more, Alison"...hehehhe

  4. Of course you should have bought the other nolina, and the hesperaloe too! But those are a couple of my favorite plants so of course I'm going to say yes. Peter is right though, you should have no trouble finding a hesperaloe up you way. As for the nolina maybe if you're down this way for a spring garden bloggers plant exchange? Otherwise there is always the Fling in July...

  5. We're always happy when there are plants to lure you back to our neck of the woods. Isn't buyers' remorse supposed to work the other way around? I'm with you, though: it's the plants left behind that cause me the most regret.

  6. We can't wait to see this nursery in person Alison. As for the Hesperaloe, it will still be there and you can always pick one up during the fling.

  7. When I bought my Hesperaloe several years ago, the only place I could find it was Big Dipper Nursery in Washington. I was so thrilled to have such a unique and rare plant. Now of course it's ubiquitous. Peter is right, you'll be able to find it when you're ready. It's important to focus on your goals. Otherwise you'll get overwhelmed which is no fun at all. I'm eyeballing your palm but perplexed as to where I would plant it. Hmm...

  8. I often 2nd guess my choices too, whether I've left something behind or brought something I didn't "need" home. Unless it's a plant that's generally unavailable, though, you can correct matters later if you decide you need to round out a planting area. All will be well - I'm sure your new area is shaping up admirably.

  9. Still a bit bummed that I missed the YGP show, but your post gently reminded me that there is always Cistus. As for the plants, I think you showed great resolve in resisting. This means you'll be back soon. Besides, once you read that great book Nigel got you, you might have to add some more, new favorites!

  10. I never regret the plants I buy, just the ones I didn't buy.
    I didn't know that you can get red Edgeworthias. Oh well, it's no good coveting it.I have killed 2 yellow ones.Are they tricky or is it just me?

  11. Cistus does mail order, plus you have friends in the Portland area who are always willing to pick up plants for you. Feel regret free with this one!

  12. Sounds like you'll have no problem finding a hesperaloe when you're ready for one. And I'm still jealous that you have your lovely NEW area to plant. Self-discipline is a bit easier that way! Lovely palm you found, too.


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