Written by dshurtliff on March 1, 2014

by Mike Darcy

Plant Nerd Night arrives this year on Friday, March 7. If you have never been,
I invite you to attend. This is our 13th.Like a snowball it keeps growing and growing! It is a fun and social event and it also a learning experience with lots of plant information given out by the presenters.

The format is that there are six specialty nurseries from throughout the area that
have a 12 minute ‘window’ of opportunity to show some of their favorite plants and
also new ones.

The presenters supply door prizes as do other garden businesses.
The presentations begin at 7pm, but for an hour prior (starting at 6pm), the
presenters sell plants!! After the presentations, plants are once again for sale.

We expect a capacity crowd of 500+. Try to imagine being in the same room as
500+ other enthusiastic gardeners and you will get an idea of the energy as we all
anticipate the arrival of spring and a new gardening season. Some call it plant lust!

Plus there is the added bonus of entertainment!

Friday, March 7

Lake Bible Church

4565 SW Carman Drive in Lake Oswego

(corner of Kruse Way & Carman Drive)

Doors open 6pm

Presentations begin 7pm

Free event, all welcome

Presenters this year are:

Cistus Design Nursery, Sean Hogan

Far Reaches Farm, Kelly Dodson & Sue Milliken

Joy Creek Nursery, Maurice Horn

Petal Heads, Dave & Annilese Doolittle

Wind Cliff, Dan Hinkley

Xera Plants, Paul Bonine & Greg Shepherd

Mike’s Special:

I always try to find a new and/or unusual plant to feature at a special price to
encourage listeners to try something new. This year my special is a new plant
that will be available at local garden centers this spring. It is called Digiplexis
‘Illumination Flame’. This is a hybrid between Digitalis (foxglove) and a digitalis
relative native to the Canary Islands called Isoplexis. The resulting plant is one
with striking flowers that have purple-pink-tipped petals with orange-yellow
centers. The plants seem to be vigorous but whether they will survive our winters
remains to be seen. Because of the Canary Island parent, it may be tenderer than
typical foxgloves. It appears to me to be worth growing even if it is an annual.
Alice Doyle from Log House Plants referred to it as “a foxglove with lipstick”.

I will have a limited number at $8 each.

Digiplexis 'Flame' flower

Each year I ask each presenter to select one plant and offer it, often in limited
quantities, at a special price. I also ask the presenters to send me information on
several of the plants they will be presenting.

Far Reaches Farm, Kelly Dodson & Sue Milliken

Our special plant will be a snakebark maple species we collected in China – Acer
davidii var. metcalfii.  Beautiful striped bark with red new growth and good fall
color.  This is a real rarity and will be 10 bucks.

Another new introduction from China will be a Clematis armandii relative, Clematis
finetiana.  Evergreen with small white flowers.  Certainly these are among, if not
the first, introduction to this country.

Tripterospermum pallidum is a very fun gentian relative from China which vines
to 10’ and has white flowers in the fall.  Great addition to the fall garden and of
course, very rare.

From the same mountain as the Tripterospermum, we will have young plants of an
evergreen Magnolia which used to be in the genus Michelia.  This was a beautiful
fairly small-leafed species to 25’ with showy red fruit clusters.

We will bring down some really nice gallon pots of martagon lily hybrids such as
Claude Shride and Slade Morning.

Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’.  This is a fantastic thistle that is sterile and
has amazing red flowers to 5’ tall.  It looks fabulous in late June and July and is
perfect in the English Cottage Garden.

As for edibles. We will bring one of the many wild species of Actinidia or Kiwi
from China.  This wild species has tasty fruit kind of midway between in size
between the grocery store varieties and the boutique quail egg sized ones.

Windcliff, Dan Hinkley

The special plant is Galanthus nivalis ‘Pewsey Vale’ 49 @4.00. I brought this
form of Galanthus nivalis back from England years ago and find it to be the most
dependable and vigorous of any snowdrop I have grown. The charming white
flowers, with the inner tepal tipped in green, are somewhat smaller than the typical
species, however the clumps quadruple from one year to the next. If you want
masses of snowdrops in your garden, this is the one to grow.

Some other exceptional plants that I will be bringing along in small quantities

Roscoea purpurea ‘Red Gurkha’

Roscoea Red Gurkha

Arisaema thunbergii var. urashima forma alba.

Parrotia subequalis

Hepatica x media ‘Buis’

Joy Creek Nursery , Maurice Horn

The plant special from Joy Creek Nursery is Clematis ’Anita’. This has small bowl-
shaped, creamy white flowers growing on a large vine, 10-14 ft. 10 only, available at $15.

Other plants that will be talked about include:

Clematis ‘Brewster’

Helenium ‘Tijuana Brass’


Hydrangea ‘Eve’

Lobelia ‘Firewalker’

Miscanthus ‘Gold Breeze’

Petal Heads, Dave & Annilese Doolittle


We will be featuring the Popsicle Series of Kniphofia. We will have Lemon Popsicle
and Red Hot Popsicle, a total of 30 plants at $5 each. The plants will reach about
22” tall and start blooming in June.

Other plants featured included; Hellebores from the Winter Jewels, Spring

Promise and Gold Series, Hosta ‘Praying Hands’, Phygelius ‘Lemon Spritzer’,

Heuchera ‘Georgia Plum’ and ‘Galaxy’ and Heucherella ‘Buttered Rum’.

Cistus Nursery, Sean Hogan

The special plant from Cistus will be a Cyclamen with silver-centered leaves, violet
or white flowers, 3 year old plants. $4 each or 3/$10. 25 available at this price.

Other plants to be featured will be some new manzanitas, a selection of grevillea
with orange and sulphur colored flowers, pittosporums, some new ceanothus and
hardy succulents.

Xera Plants, Paul Bonine & Greg Shepherd

The special plant will be Grevillea ‘Orange Zest’.
A seedling grevillea raised at Xera Plants, ‘Orange Zest’ survived 7 degrees
only two months after being planted in the ground, and has been undamaged by
winter weather ever since.  Grows to 3′ tall by 6′ wide, and is covered in clusters
of bright orange spidery flowers starting in early spring and continuing through
summer.  No summer water required once established, and hummingbirds love it!

1 gallon size, 10 only at $10 ea.

Some other plants that will be mentioned are Pacific Coast Iris, Arctostaphylos

(Manzanita) ‘White Lanterns’, and a hardy artichoke Cynara baetica ssp. Moroccana.

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