This last weekend I was lucky enough to hear about an open house for Grassy Knoll Plants in Oregon City. It was their first open house ever, after 17 years in the nursery business. I’d visited the website before, when I was looking for a local source for Aristolochia gigantea seeds or plants. The variety of unusual and exotic plants on the website was impressive, and at the time I had written it off because I wanted a physical nursery to visit and choose my plant.
The first morning of the open house was when I showed up. To get the best stuff, you have to get there first, right? When I arrived, I was a little shocked. The parking area was a mowed lawn, and there was a house right next to the greenhouse. Was I at the right place? Turns out I was. I was pleasantly surprised that GKP was truly a small specialist nursery, run by someone like me! Well… sort of. Elizabeth was much more knowledgeable and had some pretty great greenhouses. I am still building my first small greenhouse, and I know just what I’ve read in the last few years.
There were lots of large specimen plants that were on display (but not for sale) outside the first greenhouse. The first one really caught my eye. Puya alpestris doesn’t bloom often, but when it does bloom it is very impressive.
Maybe a protea, or close relative? I neglected to get the name of this one.
Banksia dryandroides, a sun-loving Australian native.
Grevillea petrophiloides ‘Big Bird’, another Aussie.
Inside the larger greenhouse I was immediately stopped in my tracks by a shrub/small tree with giant leaves. The leaves were about a foot wide, and maybe around two feet long. Definitely large enough to attract my attention. Unfortunately it wasn’t for sale. Any guesses as to what it’s name is? No cheating.
Passiflora lindeniana. You read correctly. I didn’t make any typographical mistakes. It is a passionflower in tree form. Native to Venezuela and Columbia, it is very slow growing and rarely flowers and it is even more rare when those flowers set fruit. This is one big leaved giant that is better off being admired by me, and not grown by me.
Once inside, the variety of plants did not disappoint. Most of the plants were passionflowers and their close relatives, but there were many clivias, proteas, South African succulents and just unusual plants. Instead of describing them, how about I show you some photos of those plants? Let’s start off with one of the several impressive Aloe polyphylla (Spiral Aloe).
Passiflora preciosa blooms just about ready to burst…
Stapelia, Orbea, Huernia and other stinky awesome things…
I did end up coming home with plants, as is the norm. Passiflora murucuja is already blooming, and this flower has faded since I brought it home unfortunately.
Passiflora incarnata, one of the most cold hardy passionflower vines out there. Considered a weed by some people, but paid for with money by others.
Passiflora ‘Preciosa’, a large and red P. alata hybrid.
Passiflora ‘Lady Margaret’, one of the easier red passionflowers to grow.
Passiflora ‘White Wedding’ is a large white flower, as the name suggests.
Protea cynaroides, the King Protea. This is the national flower of South Africa. Hopefully I can keep it alive!
Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Ace of Spades’ hopefully reseed itself in my garden.
Boophane disticha! I’ve been looking for this one for a while, but paying full price for a mature plant was a bit much for me. When I saw the opportunity for 7 little ones, I couldn’t pass it up. Check back in 5 years to see this plant blooming, because they are very slow growing.
I also came home with a cactus. I’m thinking that it is of the Opuntia genus, but other than that I’m stumped. Speaking of stumps, this Opuntia had a stump after Elizabeth kindly cut off the top and put it in a pot for me. Does anyone have any idea of which Opuntias have trunks? It almost looked like the pads had been grafted onto a columnar cactus, but that wasn’t the case.
Having been there now, I am even more impressed by Grassy Knoll Plants. I’m looking forward to their next open house…
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