Cistus nursery delights gardeners at Portland Fling…

Our third stop on the first day of the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling was Cistus Nursery.  Coming from the Lan Su Chinese Garden, which was serene and peaceful, Cistus provided a bold contrast — it was chock full of plants – a sensory explosion for plant lovers.

There were many familiar plants at the nursery, like these Yucca rostrata, which grow happily at home in Austin, Texas.

 I did say chock full, didn’t I?

 But some of the Cistus family were uninterested in visiting bloggers.

“Yeah, I see you, but it’s hot and it feels good here on these cold bricks, so I hope  you don’t mind if I don’t get up to greet you!”

 Oh, so true!  It should have said, “gaggle of plant nerds!”

 I’m smitten with interesting tree bark and there were several great trees to photograph.

 Love these Eryngium — their dramatic spiky blooms provide unique texture in any garden bed.

 Dramatic grasses billowed in the breeze.

While it was easy to become engrossed in the plants on the ground and the tables, the impressive views extended to some of the majestic trees that love the Pacific Northwest.

There were many different species of Eucomis in the gardens and nurseries in Portland.  I’ve been  babying one in my own garden at home for some time.  Forced to suffer the scorching heat and the periodic nibbling deer, it is tough as nails.  Hmmmm…. and thus began the idea of taking another one home with me…

I saw this plant all over the Portland gardens — Melianthus major.  Big, bold, textured and tough, it really caught my eye.  I took several photos of it, fully intent on finding one for my garden at home.  But after some research yesterday, I’ve decided it might be too invasive in my garden…but maybe I can keep one in a pot!

 Another favorite in my garden, Euphorbia.

 Flingers in search of treasure.

 More interesting bark.

And these crocosmia were everywhere.  Their beautiful strappy leaves combined with vibrant blooms add a real pop to any garden setting.

 More amazing Erygnium.

 Reaching for the sun.

Being a salvia collector, I’m going to have to try to find one of these in Austin for my garden — Salvia guar. ‘Argentine skies.’

Even the growing heat couldn’t keep us from fanning out across the nursery in search of garden goodies.  Some bloggers left with plants.  I left with something almost as good — ideas!

Beautiful Austin gardens on Wildflower Center tour inspire with details and structure…

One of my annual Mother’s Day treats — the day before Mother’s Day — is to spend the day on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s annual garden tour with my garden blogging friends. 

This year’s tour included exceptional gardens that were previously featured during past tours.  Since I had previously seen three of the gardens,  it was a great opportunity to see how they had evolved over time. 

Our first stop was an early invite to catch the morning sun in Tait Moring’s garden before the crowds arrived.  Situated on a hilltop with an amazing canyon view, this garden is always a treat to visit.  It includes classic elements and eclectic focal points — finely-honed view corridors and magnificent vistas.  Several water features and a range of plants from xeric to native to tropical fill garden rooms with unique appeal.

This beautiful iron gate – which matches several others around the property, is the gateway to the beautiful view.

Strategically placed pottery and other objects serve as focal points around the garden.

Pots decorate patios, too.

I remembered the wonderful sculptural pruning of this pittosporum and after several more years of growth – it was even more beautiful than before.

 More simple, understated pots with lush plants made a perfect match with the clean lines of the house.

Along the side of the house, these dramatic pots planted with yellow hesperaloe grab your attention.

In another vignette – this hardscaping elevates these pots with oversized agaves, both in height and in interest.

This ornate gate mirrors the other iron work on the property.

This wall was created with stones from Moring’s childhood rock collection and other memorabilia and art.

Pieces of glass are interspersed with the rocks in the wall, and a trio of pots adds more color to the display.

 We couldn’t decide if this carving was Aztec or Southeast Asian in origin — but it was very cool.

 And a field of native plants and wildflowers cascades down the hill.

 Wonder what my tour mates are laughing about?  I know!

 This fence was definitely not meant to keep these beautiful blooms on one side of the fence or the other. 

Pops of spring color.

I’m not sure this guy paid for a tour ticket!

This hammock, hidden down in the woods, called to my blogging buddy.

 Intricate raised stone beds in the potager were filled with vegetables and flowers.

 Artichokes on tour.

A small pocket of sun in a secret sitting area in the woods illuminates a blooming cactus.

After a long trek down the hillside and through the woods (no river), we found a beautiful Texas madrone tree.  The Texas madrone is known for is its distinctive exfoliating bark. When the older layers come off, the new bark is smooth and can be white – like this one – or orange or even red. The madrone needs a xeric climate and very good drainage.

Another addition since our last visit – a beautifuldark-bottomed swimming pool.  Subtle and simple, it fades into the backdrop of the garden.

A collection of tropical plants lines the stone wall and wood fence that serve as the backdrop for the pool.

This made me feel like I was in the Yucatan!

A delightful and fascinating garden, I left feeling peaceful and inspired.