2014 Garden Bloggers Fling plant haul

Sometimes it’s easier to start at the end. Before I begin posting about the gardens and nurseries we visited during the 2014 Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland, Oregon, I want to introduce you to the plants I brought back.


Yes, everything you see in the photo above was in my suitcase!

Before I left Portland, I bare-rooted most plants (two small Agave victoria-reginae and a Yucca linearifolia stayed in their pots), wrapped the roots in newspaper, and then put them in plastic bags. Thanks to the gracious help of Loree Bohl of Danger Garden this didn’t take long. I then placed the wrapped plants in my suitcase and stabilized them with clothing to keep them from shifting around. Apparently this approach worked very well; aside from a couple of broken leaves, there was no damage at all. I should add, though, that I had a direct flight so my luggage wasn’t tossed about as much as it might have on a longer flight with more connections.

Below is my bounty from Portland. All plants came from Cistus Nursery, which we visited during the Fling, with the exception of the cut leaf emperor oak (Quercus dentata ‘Pinnatifida’) you see in the lower left-hand corner. That plant came from Gossler Farms, one of the plant vendors at Friday night’s banquet—yes, we had a banquet and got swag bags just like Hollywood celebrities.


Here are some of my succulent goodies from Cistus:


Top row, left to right: Yucca aloifolia, Yucca linearifolia
Bottom row: Agave × arizonica (pups and mother plant), three Agave victoria-reginae (I selected plants with the most pronounced white markings from a batch of seedlings)


Agave gracilipes (mother plant and two pots with pups), Aeonium ‘Poldark’ (a hybrid from Trewidden Nursery in the UK, gifted to me by Mark and Gaz of Alternative Eden)

In addition to the succulents above, I also bought three variegated star jasmine vines. I’m as surprised as many of you might be because these are usually not plants I gravitate towards. However, the fence behind the revamped backyard bed below is awfully visible and the vines might soften it.


One of the three vines is a Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Goshiki’. Look at the bronze-colored new foliage!


Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Goshiki’

The other two are variegated versions of the regular star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Variegatum'). Apparently it’s hardy to 0°F!


Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Variegatum'

It was very difficult to be selective. As I was walking through Cistus Nursery, I saw many plants I would gladly have had, but they were too big to squeeze into my suitcase—like a 4-foot Yucca rostrata or two. And Cistus is only one (albeit it the most interesting) nursery in Portland.

Next time I’ll drive so I can shop to my heart’s content!


2014 Garden Bloggers Fling index


  1. Fine choice on using the jasmine vines for your fences, they'll look great! Was also inspired by the ones Sean is growing up on the trunks of his palms, might do the same.

    So hard to be selective at Cistus isn't it?

    1. After seeing so many different layers in the gardens we visited, I'm determined to add more complexity to my garden. It will be harder since we can't grow most of the large-leaved beauties I so enjoyed in Portland, but these jasmine vines are a good start.

  2. You got some wonderful plants. That oak is something special.

    1. I almost didn't buy that cut leaf oak because it was on the expensive side, but I would have regretted it if I hadn't. It will always be my official 2014 Fling plant.

    2. So glad you bought that oak!!!

  3. I'm still trying to figure out how the oak fit into that box! I'm glad I didn't have much room or I would have spent too much on plants that I don't have a place for (yet)!

    1. The box is just something I used to carry the plants from the house into the backyard. The plants weren't actually inside it on my flight home from Portland.

      If I'd driven to Portland instead of flown, I would have come back with 10x as many plants! And now is not a good time to put plants in the ground.

  4. I can't wait to see what you buy when you drive...DANGER indeed. Just think Cistus plus a stop at Gossler and Dancing Oaks!

  5. Suitcase plants are the best. You and Loree could run a plant nursery shipping department. What a fine job you did getting those beautiful plants home safe. It was wonderful to meet you, by the way!

    1. This was the first time ever that I've transported plants in a suitcase, and I'm a believer now. Better than shipping them in a box, and faster delivery too.

      It was great meeting you! Let's try to get together a group of people who might want to visit San Marcos like we discussed at JJ's garden :-).

  6. Nice plants!!! I think they are going to looke great in the ground!

    1. Thanks! I will post an update in the fall.

      Were you able to take home any plants?


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