Sunday, March 20, 2011

Portland Chinese Garden Plant Sale

chaenomoles japonica closeup
Chaenomoles japonica
This weekend was the annual Spring Plant Sale at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. I've meant to go for the past few years, but always miss it somehow. This year, thanks to MulchMaid and her recent post promoting the event I finally made it!

Epimedium wushanense
Epimedium wushanense
This was THE plant I wanted...isn't it lovely...beautiful, shiny burgundy leaves lined with little spines. I snatched it up, so excited with my discover...then discovered it was $30 per plant. GULP. Somewhat deflated, I put it back and sadly parted ways.

tetrapanax chinese garden sale
Ahhh....if I had an acre of land, I'd gladly give these babies a spot there :-)

chief joseph pine  008 rustyscreen
Chief Joseph Pine Rusty Metal Screen
I really, really, really want one of these, but as you can see by the price tag...even a tiny 6" sprout is crazy-expensive. If I win the lottery, I'm totally getting one...until dice. Also, I kinda fell in like with this rusty metal screen. What is it with me and rusty metal?

Well...the sale had some great things, but I was feeling a bit non-committal, so Norm and I decided to head to the Garden to look around. I haven't been there very often, so there is still an air of discovery when I do go. Following are a few photos of the Garden itself...I'll spare you too much jabberin...especially since I'm not terribly knowledgeable about many of the plants!

Mystery Shrub




pink camelia


weeping willow
Weeping Willow

camelia on rock
Camelia on rock

lorapetalum & rhododendron
Lorapetalum & Rhododendron foliage

climing hydrangea clematis 2
Climbing Hydrangea Clematis

Podophyllum (Chinese Mayapple)


thorny bush 2 rubus 2
Mystery Thorny Bush Rubus - love that pleated foliage

pebble path 2
Pebble Path with Moss - Because moss makes everything better!

pebble path 1 rhododendron
Pebble path Rhododendron

tree peony 1
Tree Peony Foliage

cherry tre blosom
Cherry blossom

pond edge

hypericum relative chaenomoles japonica
Hypericum relative Chaenomoles japonica

peony bud 2

Persicaria 'Red Dragon'

epimedium and lorapetalum
Epimedium & Lorapetalum

Stipa gigantea March 20 2011
Stipa gigantea
So what did I but at the sale...well, nothing :-) I really wanted the Epimedium...but at $30 a pop, couldn't justify that expense. I also picked up a seedling of Peony Obovata...but at $12 for a mere sprout, decided against it. to Portland Nursery to get some Chives (had been meaning to plant some for the past few years. While wandering around, I passed the grasses - I could hear my partner already, "More grasses?". They actually had a few small Stipa gigantea this year...which I could NOT pass up!


  1. I love that dark red flowering quince. No thorns too if I remember correctly. jaw droppingly good photos Scott! I was pretty proud when Loree thought I had the best Chinese Garden post, but your photos are light years beyond mine. I saw an exhibition at the garden of member photos, and they were all pretty good, but lacked the way you frame your subjects, and combine colors. Also thanks for making not feel so bad about missing the sale. I mentioned it to my wife last week and she said "we don't need any more plants". WHAT!!!??!!!!!11!!! I can't believe she said that. I know a no-win argument when I see it (and I still bought plants at Al's on Saturday! (AND I'm still going to the plant sale (YES, this is second nested set of parenthesis (but I'm a programmer so it's okay)))).

  2. Beautiful photos! Could your mystery shrub be a native Corylopsis?

  3. Beautiful photos Scott - sometimes it's fun just to look, esp when the prices are so eye popping! While that special epimedium is lovely, I love my plain ordinary ones that were pass-alongs from friends - esp rubrum.

  4. Lots of fun plants opening up! your mystery thorny plant is -Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'. Les has one in his garden, quite the thorny tree!
    That Chief Joseph is a bit pricey!

  5. Okay Scott you and I are two peas in a pod for these reasons:
    1. You love rust!
    2. Moss makes everything better
    3. Your affinity for Stipa gigantea [Mine is going on 4 years now and it's my favorite grass--little space--big impact!]
    and 4. You just bought a four-inch of chives. Me too.
    5. You pass up plants that are too pricey even though you want them.

  6. Ryan is so right...your photos are drop dead gorgeous!!! My post today is about my visit to the sale and the garden and I almost want to just go delete it out of embarrassment over my pictures after seeing yours!!!

    I totally missed that rust gate...LOVE IT! I bet it was a pretty penny too huh? I ran into the MulchMaid at the sale...she was buying one of those darling Tetrapanx, made me so happy to see it in her hand! My new goal is to get you to buy one. They are lovely in a container you know...maybe somewhere in your back garden redo?

  7. I chatted with a fellow at the YG & P Show that does grafting of the Chief Joseph. He told me that out of 100 grafts the return is about 3 plants........I'll wait till I hit the lottery too.

  8. My husband and I went to that garden last year and I just loved it. I recognized some of the plants and the pebble mosaic pavers too.
    I agree with Alison that mystery shrub is Corylopsis 'Buttercup'. I have one just starting to bloom now, it has a very light fragrance too.
    I'm the same with plants, I just can't see spending that much on something so small. Even on a big tree it still is hard to do.

  9. So many great plants and so few bucks. I understand this perfectly.LOL! I have just got to get a Daphne. I just love them.Scott your pictures are just wonderful.Gorgeous in fact.Got to run, Hail hitting the roof. LOL!

  10. Sounds like a fun outing...too bad everything was so expensive!

    I like the rusty screen, too.

  11. my favorites are the weeping willow and the nandina - they look like they were taken out of a coffee table book. your photography really is outstanding. I guess i'm old - but i've decided if i really want something and i have it in my hands - i get it - it may not be there later.

  12. Fall in love, pick up the pot, look at the tag and then put it down. That happens to me more and more lately, but you do get used to it, and you move on.

  13. Ryan: The quince was beautiful…and I don't remember seeing any thorns…it seems such a quintessential plant for the Chinese Garden, somehow. I was happy with how the photos turned out…we lucked out with the light that day :-) Norm has told me I couldn't buy plants until the back yard is prepped…but I don't listen…how am I supposed to dig in that slag pit!?! I definitely think the sale is more geared to a different type of gardener…I'm not terribly into exotics, so my view of it is probably different from A LOT of other gardeners :-) You go with your parenthesis…as long as I can still use my ellipsis ;-)

    Alison: OMG…I think you got it! It was so lovely…I must see if I can find one.

    Cyndy: Totally agree…and yes, after looking at other nurseries this past weekend, I think almost ALL Epimediums are lovely, not just the novel ones. I love rubric…it's the one I decided to get later :-)

    Janet: Yay! Thanks for letting me know…that's one of the great things about garden blogging…so many people to fill the gaps in my own knowledge base!

    Grace: Hahahah…indeed, kindred spirits, we are! I can't wait for the Stipa to get big and beautiful…I've wanted one for years, but none of the local nurseries ever had them. The salesperson at the nursery looked at it and sort of half warned me "That's going to get really BIG". I was like…"Can't Wait!".

    Danger: Awww…you and Ryan are making me blush :-) I just popped over to your post and it was great! That's the interesting thing about fellow bloggers posting on the same topic…we all come at it from a different perspective! I think you are right about the Tetrapanax…I already have a Macleya in a stock tank for the same reason (so big, very "aggressive" habit) and think it is the solution to my Tetrapanax conundrum. For some reason, knowing those little babies will get so big makes them utterly desirable to me!

    Steven: Wow…well that certainly explains the cost, I guess…oh well…luckily there are plenty of other, less spendy, plants to fill my days with!

    Catherine: You're so lucky to have a Corylopsis…I was just searching for them online (after Alison above clued me in) and they seem to be a bit hard to acquire. They look so lovely…how is the fall color for you…from what I've read it can be a bit inconsistent.

    Hocking Hills Gardener: OMG…hope the hail didn't do any damage! Daphne are one of those plants I sort of find uninteresting until they bloom…but when they do…watch out…that fragrance is DREAMY! And unlike lilacs (which I love completely), Daphne can bloom for literally months!

    Zoey: Yay…another fan of rust!

    David: Thanks! I love the weeping willow too…I've loved them ever since I was a kid…they are so lovely and elegant. I almost bought the Epimedium…but I have horrible retail guilt and knew I'd feel guilty later :-(

    Les: Hahahaha…I agree…there are so many times I've circled and circled an expensive plant, trying to convince myself to take the plunge…only to realize if I have to work that hard to convince myself to buy it, I must not really need it THAT much ;-)

  14. Well, I'm feeling bad about the Lan Su sale with you not finding anything quite right for both your heart AND your purse... Tell you what: when that little Tetrapanax I bought gets big enough, I'll dig you a shoot!

    You've taken some beautiful pics of the garden itself. That willow is heartbreakingly lovely. I do love the way you've captured the nascent potential in all those spring unfoldings.

  15. MulchMaid: Oh well...I still enjoyed looking around! I will take you up on the Tetrapanax cutting, for sure ;-) I do love this time of year as things are starting to grow again...each little bud is cause for celebration!

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  17. Crap, your photos are the bomb! Do you guys really sell Nandina in Oregon? It's number 2 on our invasive list in Texas! Love, love your blog!

  18. I've always thought plant sales at public sites should have at least fair retail prices. But it seems most people are very proud and overvalue there offerings. Come on!

  19. Wow some of those prices would make me unsure too. Gorgeous photos by the way! :)

  20. Wow, Scott, those photos are awesome! I love the camelia peeking out from behind the fence, or whatever that structure is, and the reflection of the stems of the plant that looks to be next to water. That pebble path with moss looks like a coarse fabric of some kind. I think I've only seen oxalis in a pot. That patch looks quite healthy.

    I'm sorry the plants you wanted were so expensive. The prices at the annual sale I go to have gone up, too. They offer different pot sizes, but not all the plants offered come in the smaller sizes, even if the plants themselves are not so big.

    We've gotten a couple more estimates on the tree, and both have been less. Today's was about half as much as the first one, and by a company that just does tree work, as opposed to a landscaping company, which is what the first one was.

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