Visit Our Location in Portland, OR
6469 SE 134th Ave
Portland, OR 97236
Summertime is one of our favorite seasons here at the nursery! After the madness of spring finally winds down a bit we can all take a breath, watch our plants grow, water from morning until night, propagate plants for next year and put plants in the ground here at the nursery and all over town!
Join us on a little photo journey of our summer to see what we’ve been up to and what fun new plants might be on the way in the future!
While we are very happy to have some lovely new neighbors we’re not as excited about looking at the 3-story tall structures where a row of trees used to be. Thankfully we love making diversified beautiful hedges so we reached deep into our bag of plant tricks and sought out the fastest growing evergreen trees suited for our climate. Thankfully these houses were built to the north of us so the entire length of fence is a perfectly toasty full sun microclimate with reflected heat for our young trees to take off!
Also known as the Omeo Gum, Eucalyptus neglecta is one of the most bomb-proof eucalypts that can be grown in the Pacific Northwest. We are in a particularly cold and windy pocket of deep southeast Portland so we took the advice of longtime eucalyptus growers in our region when selecting species for this hedge. We planted this one out as a little one gallon pot in March, turned our back on it for a couple months and next thing we knew it was 5 feet tall! There’s nothing like the instant satisfaction that eucalyptus gives, not to mention the fragrance that will be filling the air as you enter the nursery now!
While we only had room for 3 or 4 eucalyptus trees around the nursery, the research endeavor of finding seeds of the most hardy varieties for our area and the incredible amount of research done by other nurseries and plant folks in the region inspired us to revamp our eucalyptus selection for summertime. We’re very excited about these incredibly fast growing, gorgeous, fragrant and evergreen Australian natives!
Aside from Eucalyptus we also incorporated the ever-finnicky Pacific Madrone (seen below). Though this is one of our most gorgeous native trees it is rarely seen around town because of its habit of being incredibly difficult to transplant. The folks down at Seven Oaks Native Nursery were even apprehensive to sell them to us because they have such a reliable habit of dying during the first summer. The trick seems to be getting them planted in winter, planting them in very gravelly coarse soil in full sun and giving them very little to no water throughout the first year and for the remainder of their lives. A lot of work and a big risk, so we planted out extra assuming we’d lose many or most of them.
Maybe it was a stroke of luck, the right conditions and an especially mild summer but nearly all of our madrones have made it through the heat of the summer!!! It’s very possible they might give up the ghost in future years, but for now we’re just excited that this vastly underrepresented species has a home at our nursery!
Above is one happy looking Pacific Madrone tree planted even earlier in the winter than the others. It’s really taking off and loving life next to the nitrogen-fixing and equally drought-adapted Midnight Magic Ceanothus!
Other evergreen hedge species include the Emory Oak of the southwest! Perhaps the best tasting of any Quercus species, the acorns of the Emory Oak are not only lacking in tannins but they actually have a caramel sweetness to them! Typically thought to not be hardy here, we are trialing seedlings that our friend Sean Hogan brought back from a high elevation location that frequently receives very hard frosts. We’re crossing our fingers on this one and anxious to taste the delicious acorns from them.
The ever beloved Silver Oak, Quercus hypoleucoides, also from the American Southwest. This species is a tried and true street and garden tree here in Portland and we can’t get enough of them! Very fast growing, this tree was just 3 feet tall in a 2 gallon pot when we planted it.
A hybrid of Strawberry Tree, Arbutus unedo, and the Marina Madrone, we’re hoping this hybrid discovered by Cistus Nursery proves hardy here as it seems to have a lot of the characteristics of Marina!
The builder next door was gracious enough to let us choose all the plants going in to the new development so naturally we planted all evergreen Cork Oaks and Holly Oaks along their side of the fence as a second layer of visual screening. Pineapple guavas, mulberries, huckleberries, figs, bottlebrush and Hebe’s fill in the rest of the landscape so the new tenants will have plenty of fruits to snack on!
Next, we will show you some progress pictures and tell you some of the staff’s nicknames that our Nursery Manager “Seaberry Sam” made up to keep everyone light-hearted and having fun while they work.
Other gardens built around the nursery this year include this “Kind of Blue” garden planted out by our very own “Stormo Johnson” seen below.
This garden consists of ‘Native Blue’ and ‘Sweetheart’ blueberries along the border, both of which have very blue or tinted blue foliage along with other very blue or silvery plants such as Quicksilver Hebe, Sunshine Daisy Bush and various California fuschias. An O’Rourke Fig sits at the middle of it all along with a Chilean and New Zealand wineberry hybrid known as ‘Abigail Gordon’ that we are very excited about! An ‘Advance’ Loquat relishes in the reflected heat off the house, a couple Tasmanian Mountain Peppers mark the entrance and a ‘Louis Edmunds’ Manzanita stands at the edge to show off its bark and keep our spirits high and hummingbirds fed with its late winter flowers!
The next garden to be built was a former bare-root storage sawdust pile and now future outdoor classroom! After all the sawdust was moved our crew got to work grading the lumpy soil out. One huge advantage of having it under weed mat for the past 2 years is when we uncovered the soil there were no weeds as they’d all been killed. There’s nothing we love more than a blank slate for planting a new garden in!
To create the feel of an outdoor room we planted the space very densely and filled it with some of our favorite new cultivars as well as many evergreen companion plants that will fill in to create a wall of green to enclose our new event and classroom space. Plants for this garden include Big Jim and Argelino Loquats, Hative D’Argentile, Black Madeira and LSU Tiger figs, a Kalamata Olive (hopefully hardy!), Nazametz Pineapple Guava, Crimson Sky Pomegranate, the New Zealand Wineberry, Chilean Wineberry, and a few wineberry hybrids. We also added companion plants such as Alpine Mint Bush, ‘Sunningdale Gold’ Jerusalem Sage, Variegated Thyme, Silver Lotus Clover, various forms of Olearia, Pittosporum, Corokia and Leptospermum for that Southern Hemisphere texture, an interesting Chilean tea plant known as Boldo (Peumus boldus), a gorgeous form of variegated Bay Tree called ‘Sicilian Sunshine’, Mediterranean Myrtles (Myrtus communis), and a few Grevilleas to provide nectar and habitat for overwintering hummingbirds that we hope will pollinate our loquats!
We’ve also been re-routing our irrigation runoff to a rain garden at the end of the driveway. After channeling our little river towards the water-loving plants we jackhammered and dug out a truckload of concrete that the previous owners had buried underground. Removing all that impervious concrete has really helped the water penetrate and now the Brazilian Gunnera, Aronia, Juncus grasses, willows, and Windmill Palms will be able to sink their roots deep and turn all that runoff water into plant tissues! Wahoo!
Aside from sprucing up the nursery and keeping everything watered the primary task in summer is potting up thousands of plants for fall and spring!
One of the best parts of summer at the nursery is tasting all the fruit that is constantly ripening around the nursery! A new fig we’re trialing called Ronde de Bourdeaux ripens its main crop starting in August, extremely early for a main crop and incredibly delicous too! We’re looking forward to incorporating Ronde de Bourdeaux into our catalog in the near future. It’s delicious and cute!
Saved the best for last!
Meet our newest staff member, office support and nursery cat “Jasper Persimmons”!
The End! And now we head into the fall harvest and cooler planting weather. Hope you enjoyed this fun tour of our Summer 2019 projects and unique plantings.
Locals can join us for our most popular event – It’s all about Figs!
September 22 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm