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Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Trip to Flower World In Search of Foliage -- Foliage Followup February 2014

For Foliage Followup today I'm going to do something a little different. I do have some foliage out in my own garden, but nothing really worth featuring in a post. So I'm going to show the foliage that I found on a recent nursery trip.

When I first woke up on Saturday morning it was gray but not raining. Unfortunately, that didn't last long, the rain soon arrived, along with gusty winds, which meant gardening was out of the question. I had mentioned to Nigel on Friday evening that I wanted to visit at least one nursery on this long weekend, so we decided to head out to Flower World in Maltby. It's a bit of a drive, a little over an hour, but worth it.

When we pulled up in the parking lot, it looked deserted. There were only a few cars, and I thought there was a good chance they were all employees' vehicles. But once we got inside, we did see a handful of customers. I had gone mostly in search of conifers, but wanted to check out their houseplants and tropicals as well. I left Nigel with a cup of coffee, sitting in a warm spot, playing games on his phone, and went in search of plants.

This Bromeliad looked interesting.

According to the tag this is a Tillandsia called 'Creation.' In fact, there were lots like it, with the same tag. But it doesn't look like the Tillandsia 'Creation' that I've seen pictures of now that I've Googled it. The leaf edges are very prickly, and it's planted in a pot of soil. I thought Tillandsias didn't have roots. It does look a lot like Cryptanthus bivitattus 'Pink Starlite.'

There's a flower forming.

The tag on these says Cryptanthus Star Bromeliad, and they look similar to the so-called Tillandsia. They cost the same too -- $9.99.

They had a couple of Sago palms/Cycas revoluta for $39.99.

Love the new growth at the center

In another nearby, nearly empty greenhouse was this enormous one (only $1500)

Ever since I made up my mind to give my front garden a semi-tropical look, I've been wanting a Cycad. Cycads don't just look prehistoric, they actually are prehistoric. Often referred to as living fossils, these plants look like ferns (but aren't) and date back to the age of the dinosaurs, having evolved very little in the last 250 million years.

I saw these wide-leaved Cordylines elsewhere last year. They're so colorful! This one is called 'Miss Andrea.'

Oops! A flower has snuck in to my foliage post! I don't know why I didn't get a picture of the foliage at the nursery, it's also quite beautiful.

This bright red flower is from a Ctenanthe oppenheimeriana 'Tricolor.'

I'm fascinated by these ponytail palms, but the price -- $59.99 -- was a bit steep.

A closeup of the swollen caudex

There was an enormous one nearby

In the middle of the tropical greenhouse is this lovely little pond and waterfall, surrounded by foliage, and with fish and a turtle basking on a rock.

Here's another pleasant water feature.

After perusing the tropicals I decided it was time to go in search of conifers. So out into the cold I went. Fortunately, there are a lot of covered but not heated areas at Flower World, so although I was cold, at least I was out of the torrential downpour and wind.

Looks warm, doesn't it? It wasn't.

Outside the cover it's cold and rainy -- and empty.

Pinus nigra 'Arnold Sentinel' is a possibility for the front garden
I'd really like to find the dwarf form of Cedrus atlantica/blue Atlas cedar, a variety called 'Hortsmann,' but so far all I've found are the weeping, contorted ones and the species, which gets enormous (actually the weeping ones get enormous too). I'm going to hold a spot open for a dwarf blue Atlas cedar for as long as possible, but I think this pine, which stays narrow and only grows to 16 feet when mature, might also work. It's not blue, and it's another pine (I already have a golden one), and I want to get as much textural variety in conifer needles as I can. It's a different form than my Pinus 'Tisbet's Gold,' shown here in a recent post.

I suppose I could always plant a loquat instead of another conifer. But I'd need to rent a truck to bring one of these home. Worth thinking about, for only $49.99.

Another interesting selection -- Washingtonia filifera/California fan palm, also only $49.99

The filaments are so cool, and look at those teeth on the stalk!
But I'm not convinced it's hardy enough, especially after this past winter. Although the label said it was hardy to 20 degrees, it also said it would need winter protection while still small. So maybe not.

Well, I didn't buy a blue Atlas cedar, but I did bring some goodies home.

Cryptanthus Star Bromeliad

Marked Tillandsia 'Creation' but I kinda sorta suspect it's Cryptanthus 'Pink Starlite.'

Sago Palm -- the very one I photographed in the nursery

Abutilon 'Red Tiger'

Cordyline 'Miss Andrea'

Ctenanthe oppenheimeriana 'Tricolor' -- Ah! There's the gorgeous foliage!

Did you do any plant shopping over the weekend?

Foliage Followup is hosted on the 16th of every month by Pam Penick at the blog Digging. Go here and check out the links in the comments from bloggers everywhere who are celebrating gorgeous foliage of all kinds.


  1. What a fun nursery! I have to say, I have never seen a price tag of $1500 at one, however. That palm was fabulous, though!

  2. A real large garden centre where you can spend hours I think. Love visiting garden shops and nurseries, especially on rainy and dull days.

  3. I'm not a huge fan of Flower World, but I do go there on occasion because they grow most of their own plants. That means that you can usually find plants earlier in the year (maybe not leafed out yet, but you get to check something off your shopping list) and you can also find bigger plants that have grown-on for a few years. I'm glad you found some things from your want list!

  4. Very nice haul, especially Miss Andrea! Best to avoid the Washingtonia for permanent in your area but that Pinus looks great, and the Loquat you can't go wrong with.

  5. I'm more of a Northwest natives and shrubs that blend and contrast with them sort of gardener. But to each her own. Glad you had fun with plants. That's the important thing.

  6. We almost hit Flower World on Saturday but decided on People's, Swanson's and Bedrock instead. You got some great plants! A loquat would be great with your lighter colored conifers and I have one in a pot (surprise) that made it through both freezes with no problem at all!

  7. That looks like a wonderful place to visit! And the Cryptanthus is pretty too! Glad you brought one home!

  8. That wide-leaved Cordyline is wonderful! I've never seen it before. I have a Cryptanthus exactly like the one you bought, which ended up in a terrarium, where it has done very nicely. Mine has never bloomed, though.

    I wish you could send that rain down south!

  9. I thought of another local nursery (Portland local) for your Smaller BAC, Cornell Farms. I've seen them there several times.

  10. What a grand post! Yay for the Cycad. I had a post last spring about Cycad seeds. I managed to get one seed to actually sprout. It's probably worth $1.50 now, lol.

    I didn't go to a nursery, just to the grocery store. Their ad said they had spring bulbs. I didn't even look.

  11. Good luck to you and your endeavours.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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  13. If we had a Flower World around here, I'd be there every day. The next best thing is going along with you, Alison. I am not familiar with most of these plants and it is really a treat to read about them. I can't wait to see what your new garden area looks like. The sentinel pine sounds very tempting, I adore conifers with a narrow footprint. I bought a weeping Atlas cedar last summer but after I did some reading up on it, we returned it to the big box store as the hardiness range wasn't for this area. I was enamored with that soft, blue foliage, though. I hated to take it back. But I will live vicariously through your beautiful posts.

  14. Hi Alison. I haven't visited any nurseries yet this year. For Christmas, I got a $20 gift card to one of the local nurseries but I hesitate to use it. I don't trust the weather this year. Still, your post makes me wonder if I should say to hell with the weather and go for it. Great stuff! I hope you find the dwarf Atlas Cedar.

  15. When we next see your front garden Alison, we are all going to think we have been transported to the tropics.
    You chose some lovely plants - I just knew you would not be able to resist the Cryptanthus or what ever it may be called.
    I do hope you are able to source the plant you want, it's a bummer when you can find the one on the list!

  16. Fun place, and you found your way out of there too! I thought of Hawaii, when I perused your images, so many grew like weeds there. The pony tail palm I've had for years as a houseplant that sometimes spends the summer outside. I bought it small for about 8 dollars at a Farmer's Market in Oregon and it has been a healthy specimen! Very easy as a houseplant if you are a forgetful waterer like I am.

  17. I love the two Cryptanthus you brought home. The pink one definitely isn't a tillandsia. I was just looking at a mail order nursery that has Cordyline 'Miss Andrea'. I think it's my favorite ti plant. How much was it going for at Flower World? I hope you find your dwarf Atlas cedar!


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