Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hortlandia: The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's plant show

I was so good, you guys. There were so many plants at the HPSO sale and I stuck to my list (mostly). I wanted ferns and I wanted crocosmia, preferably one of the crazier varieties from Far Reaches Farm. I am a newbie at this so I didn't know that you could call them ahead of time and ask them to bring plants down. It's too bad because crocosmia is completely unremarkable right now, so they didn't bring any.

There were, however, a lot of ferns. I was on the lookout for Woodwardia fimbrata, the giant chain fern. It's a NW native and it gets six feet tall and up to eight feet wide. What's not to love about a prehistoric hunk like that? We stopped at one table with a lot of ferns and asked. The woman was COMPLETELY BONKERS. She started laughing hysterically, talking about how she doesn't take them the Oregon, no wait, Eastern Oregon, no wait Washington, ha ha ha ha ha HAAAAAaaaaaa.

Greg looked at me like I'd dragged him into an insane asylum and he wanted out NOW. We backed slowly away from the table and hit Cistus where they had plenty of Woodwardia. I told him about the other wackadoo and how she said they're too hard to grow away from the coast. He sanely replied, "No, they grow just fine here."

Any tips?
Nope. Just put them in the ground and water them. You'll be fine.

No hysterical laughter, no word salad. Greg exhaled. He already liked Cistus, claiming it's the only fun nursery for him, but now I think he loves them. I installed it in the rain garden where it will get ample water. Grow, baby, grow!

I planted a Salal behind the rain garden but it could take many years for it get up to size. I decided to fill in this area with ferns in the meantime.

Click to embiggen

Ferns and fringecups (Tellima grandiflora)should hopefully obscure the gutter after some time. I got an evergreen Mexican male fern, a really cool looking golden-scaled male fern, a cinnamon fern, and a Japanese painted fern. I also put in three fringecups from another plant sale, and a lady fern from another part of the yard. Hopefully they won't look too silly with the non-woodland looking bamboo and Japanese aralia (Fatsia japonica) to the right. I love that plant too much to move it. It wards off bad spirits!

I also had a brainfart and confused broad-leaved shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii) with broad-leaf starflower (Trientalis borealis). I already have shooting stars in my yard and find them so uninteresting (even though they look crazy!) that I didn't take a single picture of them last summer. What I wanted was the painfully pretty starflower, a groundcover that likes shade. I've had a hard time finding it in nurseries here and I fell in love with it at a naturescaping tour. It was interspersed with meadow rue and it was the prettiest woodland scene I've ever seen. I mean, come on:

Image from here: http://bamlog.com/mfpmain7.htm

So pretty. Shooting star is neat-looking but not the look I wanted.

Image borrowed from here.

(In my head, at least) the leaves of the starflower would mimic the tropical-looking leaves of the Japanese aralia and it would fit in better with this scene. I'll just have to keep looking.


  1. Crocosmia is headed your way this weekend!

    Ummm, I don't get the part about male ferns. Was it something I missed in Master Gardener classes? I'm sure they didn't say a word about fern gender, but they can be a pretty straight-laced bunch.

  2. Hooray for crocosmia!

    I have no idea about gendered ferns--that's just what's they're called on the tags. I'm pretty sure that ferns are slutty, spreading their spores wherever, regardless of who's around them. This might be a taxonomic hangover from botanists who thought lady ferns were pretty (they are) and that male ferns looked like the type to scratch themselves in public places.

  3. So glad you made it to the sale. After yesterdays post I was afraid you were home being all project studious all weekend. Also glad to hear the knowledgeable and fairly level headed folks at Cistus came through for you!

  4. I was worried that was going to happen too! Sunday afternoon turned out to be pretty nice--no lines and all the vendors were loopy. :)

  5. Yay! Glad you made it to the sale...and found your fern! I generally only socialize with the nursery owners I've already met (Joy Creek, Dancing Oaks, Wind Dancer). It think it's a bit of a madhouse...and probably does drive many of them slightly bonkers by the end. I know after I'm done shopping, it's quite a relief to get the hell out of there! I still have bruises where old ladies jabbed me with those carboard boxes...those things are lethal!

  6. LOL. Those old biddies are ruthless!

  7. and one of them is coming to your house on Saturday!