Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#GBFling14: Joy Creek Nursery, Scappoose, OR

Joy Creek Nursery, located outside the small town of Scappoose about 20 miles to the north of Portland, Oregon, is the kind of the nursery you dream about. Every plant looks pristine—better than it ever would in your own garden.

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In fact, Joy Creek’s demonstration garden, which surrounds an equally picturesque farmhouse where I believe one of the nursery owners lives, is a glossy plant catalog come to life. I had never been to a nursery like that. I’m not sure we have anything comparable in all of Northern California.

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Fellow Garden Bloggers Fling attendee Alan of It’s Not Work, It’s Gardening described Joy Creek Nursery as “a garden that also sells plants rather than a nursery with a garden.” I couldn’t agree more.

What makes the plants grow so lush at Joy Creek? Climate is a big factor, I’m sure, but so is the soil. I don’t know what the native soil is in Scappoose, but what Joy Creek uses in its garden beds is the most fertile-looking dirt I’ve ever seen. Crumbly and virtually black in color, it looks to be packed with nutrients. This is paradise for plants.

It’s virtually impossible to take a bad picture in such a photogenic place, so I’m going to let my photos speak for themselves. I will try to ID as many plants as I can, but since many of them are quite exotic to me (meaning they won’t grow here, or not well) please do correct me if I get an ID wrong.

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Astilbe

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Monardia

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More monardias

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And even more

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So many perfect monardias, you want to weep

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Hydrangea and Japanese maple

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Hydrangea and podophyllum

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Alstroemeria, possibly ‘Pink Lemonade’ introduced by Joy Creek in 2006

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Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’

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Another Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’. I saw this sea holly in many other Portland-area gardens.

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Looking back at the picturesque farmhouse

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Viburnum plicatum ‘Shasta’ and one of the many hydrangeas growing in the garden

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Viburnum plicatum ‘Shasta’

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Viburnum plicatum ‘Shasta’

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Unlabeled hydrangea, possibly Hydrangea ‘Mariesii’

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This photo shouts “woodland garden” to me

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The climate in Davis is just too dry for hydrangeas to grow well

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Another one I’ve coveted for a long time (and tried unsuccessfully): Ligularia stenocephala ‘The Rocket’

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Even the view up was beautiful

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This was completely unexpected: banana and inula 

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Inula species, not sure which, and banana

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Crocosmias were blooming in abundance

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Anna Kullgren of Flutter & Hum (yes, I do include people in my photos occasionally!)

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Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’ with a giant flower spike. Unlike many other yucca species, Yucca filamentosa actually takes quite a bit of water. Since mine has never bloomed, I assume it’s because I’m keeping it too dry.

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This is what a smokebush (Cotinus coggygria) should look like in the summer!

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Echinops sphaerocephalus ‘Arctic Glow’

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Possibly Helleborus argutifolius ‘Janet Starnes’. If so, it looks considerably happier than the specimen in my garden

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Brunnera macrophylla, maybe ‘Jack Frost’

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If I had driven to Portland instead of flown, this bird bath would have come home with me. I love how it resembles like ripples of water, even without any water in it.

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Clematis ‘Blue Angel’

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Clematis ‘Blue Angel’

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Could this be a Korean fir (Abies koreana)?

Just as I was getting ready to board the bus, I happened upon this corner of the garden. Talk about retina-burning orange!

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Apparently this is a rudbeckia test plot. Co-owner Mike Smith said they cull the best plants for sale in the nursery.

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I had never seen such a profusion of oranges, umbers and siennas. Simply breathtaking.

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Since I spent most of the allotted time in the demonstration garden, I barely had time to walk through the nursery. It’s tucked away to the side of the demonstration garden and house—almost like an afterthought, which I found very charming. It’s a great nursery if you live in a climate that has milder summers than we do and a heck of a lot more rain. Virtually all the plants I considered buying—the likes of rodgersias, podophyllums, ligularias and other large-leaved foliage plants—would wither in Davis in a matter of days.

Much to my chagrin I ended up leaving Joy Creek Nursery without a single plant. But at least I have 100 beautiful photos to remind me of this very special place.

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2014 Garden Bloggers Fling index

13 comments:

  1. Yes indeed, we have very little like this here in Norcal Gerhard..though the plant line-up is different , the closest I can think of is Digging Dog, one of my favorite gardens here. Have you been there ? I try to go once or twice a year.

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    1. I've never been to Digging Dog. Every year I vow to go to one of their sale weekends. The problem is they're not exactly around the corner. But we'll be in Mendocino in September; maybe I can swing by then if they're open.

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    2. Gerhard, sometimes they will open by appointment, I would contact them if you are not there on one of their regular open days. Mention you are garden blogger. You will see no succulents, it is a very 'Rhone Street' style garden..

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  2. You got wonderful photos, even the ones that had people in them. ;^)

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    1. Thanks!! Joy Creek made it easy to take good photos, and the light was decent for the most part, at least when the sun was behind the clouds.

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  3. It's a shame you never had the opportunity to see Western Hills nursery in Occidental when it was at it's best. Nor Heronswood Nursery when it was in possession by it's original owner. They were even bigger and better than Joy Creek, which is saying something. Northwest Garden nursery in Eugene is not as large as any of these nurseries, but is very like them, if you ever get a chance to visit.

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    1. I have a feeling I missed the golden era of independent nurseries in California. We need people to get the gardening bug like they do in the PNW. Then we will be able to support a wider variety of independent nurseries.

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  4. It's a fab nursery, and reminded us so much of cottage garden nurseries here. I love that bird bath!

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    1. Yes! I thought it looked a lot like a nursery you might have in the UK.

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  5. Next time you drive up you'll just have to make the trip a little further out Highway 30 and visit again!

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    1. Maybe pick up that bird bath if they still have it? The neat thing is that it looks like it has water it in even when it's empty. Perfect for parched California!

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  6. One thing that irked me about Joy Creek: even the Missouri native plants looked bigger and better in their garden! Glad you noticed those wonderful little "beehive" cones. :)

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  7. I never realize how unhappy and struggling some of my plants are until I visit places like JC!

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