things and places for homes and gardens

Even more Cistus?

Monday 12 July 2010 - Filed under Nurseries + Plants

Too much blogging about the plants at Cistus Nursery? Not possible. Either you are lucky enough to be able to visit frequently but you can’t get enough, or you aren’t able to visit, and it is our duty as Portlanders to share the experience.

Tree fern trunk
You must always stop and visit the mature tree fern. We rarely see them large enough around here to appreciate the trunk. It looks like a checkerboard, no? King me.

Fascicularia pitcairnifolia
Bromeliad Fascicularia pitcairnifolia (with correct spelling of the genus this time, thanks Loree). Leaves are divine as is, but as a bonus, it gets sky-blue blossoms surrounded by burgundy leaves. As much as I’m in love with agaves, it’s so hard to find a good sunny spot for the sun worshipers in my yard, and I’m a big failure at overwintering non-hardy plants indoors. Fascicularia says it takes some shade, likes cool conditions, and has recovered from 0F in zone 7. Now that, I can do. I made the trip looking for a Yucca Rostrata, but didn’t find one that was big enough to enjoy, yet small enough to afford, so I got a Fascicularia instead.

Dyckia choristaminea
Another terrestrial bromeliad – Dyckia choristaminea. It says full sun for “best color.” Do you suppose that means I can get away with it on my mostly shady patio? It’s supposed to be hardy to upper zone 8, but a plant this tiny, just a few inches tall and wide, that wouldn’t be so hard to overwinter in a bright window.

Puya venusta - pink stemmed form
Puya venusta shares that spiky form, spiky leaf combination of the Fascicularia and Dyckia. From the tag: “This is one of the most dazzling of the Puyas with clumping 3 ft rosettes so glaucous as to appear nearly white, and on this form the deep blue-black flowers were supported by 6-8 ft stems of nice pink.” Also hardy in zone 8 with well drained soil.

Agave ornithobroma
Back to plants I have no business looking at – Agave ornithobroma. The leaves are soft and cylindrical, almost like a thick leaved rush. Hardy to zone 9/10, although the tag says they’ve been growing it here in the ground and it has survived the last few years, so if you were inclined to press your luck, maybe this is a candidate.

Arisaema triphyllum Black Jack
Uncommon leaf color on an uncommon plant, that’s my favorite combination. Black leaved Jack in the Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum ‘Black Jack.’

phlebodium pseudoaureum (blue rabbits foot fern)
I forget sometimes what a fantastic fern collection they have at Cistus. Lots of really interesting unusual varieties. Phlebodium pseudoaureum (blue rabbits foot fern) is a small one, about a foot tall. The tag says the fuzzy glaucous leaves make good cut foliage. Some day we really must talk more about the ferns.

2010-07-12  »  megan

Talkback x 7

  1. Karen
    12 July 2010 @ 10:41 am

    Some day we must really talk more about the ferns you bought, or are going to buy! New list? I can’t remember if you are a fern person. Seems like something you can go nuts on, no end of possibilities especially if you have shade and good soil, as you do!

    OK, I am officially putting Cistus on my list of must-visit nurseries. That tree fern photo is one for the galleries!

  2. Denise
    12 July 2010 @ 2:27 pm

    I’m very glad to see you taking your duties seriously, as a Portlander, to visit Cistus frequently and blog about it. I had that puya in the front gravel garden for a couple years, almost zip supplemental water, and it rotted out, accompanied by the most fascinatingly stinky, foetid odor. Still haven’t figured that one out. That bromeliad from Pitcairn Island I assume, what a beaut, and I get to think of Fletcher Christian and the other mutineers. Must keep a sharp lookout for that one.

  3. Loree / danger garden
    12 July 2010 @ 3:57 pm

    Very exciting about your spiky new purchases! And I can’t wait to hear about your success wintering over the Fascicularia pitcairnifolia so that I can rationalize buying another next spring!

  4. Linda
    12 July 2010 @ 7:26 pm

    I bought that Bromeliad Fascicularia when I was at ‘Cistus’ last as well. Mine is in full sun – I keep checking to see it’s not frying …so far so good

  5. ricki - sprig to twig
    14 July 2010 @ 2:36 pm

    Too much Cistus? NEVER! I see something new every time, and then seeing through others’ eyes…all I can say is, “keep up the good work”.

  6. Grace
    14 July 2010 @ 7:30 pm

    I’ve visited Cistus several times now, Megan. Vicariously through you. Always such interesting plants. You all are so lucky to have such a fabulous nursery. I may have trek north and see it for real.

  7. Jane/MulchMaid
    15 July 2010 @ 5:03 am

    You regularly remind me why we Portland gardeners are so lucky. Amazing growing opportunities and even more amazing nursery options. Your virtual visit reminds me I need another real visit to Cistus – when I was there a month ago, my companion was running low on energy and we had to leave too soon. But it was still great!