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Vicki Green's Garden

Vicki Green's garden is one of the neatest and most immaculate gardens I've seen and it is a showcase for beautifully grown plants as well as art objects (she is a glass artist). The property was once wall-to-wall grass and now just a central portion is devoted to the green. A long pathway leads you around the perimeter of the garden adorned with lush plantings. Vicki is a master at pruning and her technique reminds me of the way Michael does it. She has trained many of her "shrubs" into small trees, such at the waxleaf privet and elderberry. A Wax Leaf Privet ( Ligustrum japonicum ) trained into an attractive small tree. I was taken aback by the size of the plants, some of which I grow, and my mind was racing. Driving up, I was immediately wowed by her 'Golden Spirit' Smoke Bush ( Cotinus coggygria ) although now I do recall seeing a very large on 117th St. However, this one is the most beautiful I've seen -   I also was surprised to see how large her 

Dancing Oaks Nursery & Gardens

Another notch off my horticultural bucket list was a long overdue trip to Dancing Oaks Nursery & Gardens. I have purchased plants from this nursery at their booth at Hortlandia but had never been to the physical nursery.  When friends Linda and Marvin invited me to join them, I jumped at the chance. 

The drive to Monmouth, Oregon is a long one, about two hours, but the countryside is absolutely beautiful and a refreshing change from home where there is always a car on your tail (I have a hang-up about that) and there is always a car coming when you are turning at a stop sign - always. There are mostly farms and orchards here, some covered with breathtaking blankets of white, planted with what we were later told was “meadow foam”. 

A long gravel road leads to Dancing Oaks. This plant paradise has a number of small greenhouses full of rare and hard-to-find plants. The display gardens surrounding the nursery is a beautiful place to see many of the sale plants in action. The nursery is owned and operated by Fred Weisensee and Leonard Foltz. Fred was generous enough to give us a personal tour of the gardens, including a new drought-tolerant rock garden that surrounds the residence behind the nursery. 

A sunny, cloudless day near the noon hour was not the optional time for photos but I've tried to enhance them. Needless to say, I spent most of my time buying plants. They were out of my beloved Cuphea ‘Strybing Sunset’, a tender plant I first discovered through them when I first started gardening here in the Pacific Northwest. I overwintered that jewel for several years in our garage before it died. I then found it again at Annie’s Annuals but it too has now expired. I know now to check early!

Many Arctostaphylos (Manzanita) are offered by the nursery and you can see them growing throughout the display gardens. Fred showed us a new planting in a field of berms with nothing but that plant.

This is an arctostaphylos created by them (not yet named) with dramatic red foliage (the photo does not capture it well).

A beautiful specimen of Betula pendula 'Trost's Dwarf'. We have this one in our garden.

A popular dogwood that we sell at Yard N' Garden Land called 'Scarlet Fire'. It is nice to see a more mature one to relate to customers. The color was stunning.

From a distance, I thought this was Mock Orange but it is Abutilon vitifolium. I purchased a version with blue flowers. The question is "where on earth am I going to put it"?

A close-up of the flowers

Many beautiful baptisias...

Catalpa bignoinoides 'Aurea' which they pollard. I have this tree but have not done this yet. I wasn't really sure how to go about it. Fred explained it to me.

Penstemon 'Catherine de la Mare'

The hedge maple 'Carnivale' (Acer campestre). I first discovered this tree when working in Rueben Hatch's garden and got one from Gossler Farms. Seeing this makes me wonder if we can keep it at a lower size. This one was huge!

It was an excellent day and so glad I got to go (thanks Linda and Marvin!). The nursery staff were top notch and it would have taken me all day to locate the plants on my list. The knowledgeable staff made it fast and easy. I can't wait to go back!

Here is what I came home with:

Billardiera longiflora (Appleberry)

Digitalis obscura (Sunset Foxglove)

Alstromeria 'Yellow Friendship' (Peruvian Lily)
Impatiens arguta 'Purple Patience' (Hardy Impatiens)

Lychnis flos-cuculi 'Petite Jenny'

Cistus skanbergii (Dwarf Pink Rockrose)

Kerria 'Golden Guinea'

Mirabilis longiflora (Sweet Four O'Clock)

Disporum camoniense 'Golden Temple'

Spirea morrisonicola 

Omphalodes 'Starry Eyes' (Navelwort)

Trifolium rubens (Ornamental Clover)

Abutilon vitifolium (Flowering Maple)

Fabiana imbricata v. violeacea (Chilean heather)

Persicaria 'Purple Fantasy'

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Such a beautiful place. I love Betula pendula 'Trost's Dwarf'! And the penstemon & dogwood are glorious.

  2. You're the second blogger friend who has visited and written about DO recently. I hope to get back there (it's been years) again very soon. Nice haul too!

  3. That's a long drive but clearly worth it. Nurseries in the PNW are notably different from those in my own area and I can't help but envy you. That's an impressive haul too!

  4. I’m jealous, Phillip. We saw Persicaria ‘Purple Fantasy’ at several gardens on the Vancouver BC study weekend last year. It makes a gorgeous statement in the garden. It’s on my wish list!

  5. So abutilons come in bLUE!?!?! I look forward to a variety name and photos when it blooms.

  6. That Abutilon vitifolium is stunning. As are many of the other plants you feature in this post. What a fun day that must have been! Thanks for taking us along.


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