Saturday, March 17, 2012

Garden Shinanigans in Oregon Part 4: Doing the Dance of Oaks

It has been a real plant guys trip as we next hit up the boys over at Dancing Oaks Nursery.

I've heard so much about this nursery, purchased many of their plants and I met Fred last season at a North American Rock Garden Society meeting where I purchased some awesome things! So, it was really quite a treat to be able to see (AND SHOP at) their remarkable nursery and extensive display gardens. I also got to meet Leonard, a true plant fanatic!

Dancing Oaks guys
From left to right: Fred Weisensee, Matt, Leonard Foltz, and Erik soaking up the sunbreak and chatting plants before we raided their nursery and scored some wonderful plants!

Dancing Oaks 2Much like the O'byrnes, they have excellent bones and structure in their landscape. They have this stunning plot of land in the Willamette Valley that's just so rich and it really is an excursion to get to, but WOW.

Dancing Oaks 7
Though most of the wonderful herbaceous collections they have are dormant and marked only by blue flags to denote their location, the paths and the existing structures really help define what really is a remarkable garden that is really diverse in a way that people can re-create a lot of the elements in which they integrated in their landscape. With a basic bedding scheme like this simpled edged in stone, you can create an extravagant woodland garden just PACKED with treasures!

Dancing Oaks 8 focal point to pondThey also use conifers effectively and I love the simple stonework of the formal path that leads to a future focal point, which, I believe is a grand stand of HUGE Gunnera manicata aka DINOSAUR FOOD!

Dancing Oaks Hellebores with Bamboo

There were more Hellebores to be found and this patch growing amongst a grove of crook-stemmed bamboo was quite attractive.

So, luckily, Matt drove and brought his work truck so we could get as many plants in as we could. And boy did we PACK IT!!!

Dancing Oaks packing truck
Complete with the O'Byrne's Hellebores, We strategically loaded it up! No, we weren't done loading yet! LOL!

Dancing Oaks Matt packs it in
As determined Matt was to get EVERYTHING in, he had to leave behind a few plants that Fred and Leonard would graciously bring up to Washington on their next speaking/plant selling engagement.

Dancing Oaks 6
So, I thought this was their house. Nope. It's actually their guest house. Freakin' unbelievable.

Kitchen at Dancing Oaks Nursery
They warmed up their guests with tea and baked goods in a most awesome kitchen that I'd want someday. Look at that open space and the island could also serve as a demonstration platform to give talks, lectures and even film a television show!!!

At Dancing Oaks Nursery with the guys
Fred kindly took this photo of us, but the group photo of all of us turned out blurry. I always strive to capture moments I want to remember, but all the more reason to return and pay the guys another visit and buy more plants for myself and client projects.

Dancing Oaks rainbow 2

We were then treated to a nice rainbow that graced the nursery and garden making for a wonderful ending to a most awesome trip.

This is a definition of a true, retail NURSERY. It's not a garden center where you can find all your tools, composts, gloves, pots, fertilizers, aprons and other crap like that. It's an actual place where plants are grown, propagated, evaluated and truly take centerstage. OH, BUT THEY'VE GOT SOME OF THE BEST ORGANIC EGGS EVER!!  $3.50 for a wonderful dozen of assorted eggs, which Matt taught me how to fry them "over easy". Hhahhaha

Good times...good times....


  1. I have really enjoyed this series of posts on your Oregon adventure. Dancing Oaks will definitely be on my next trip down that way; I have never been!

    On the other hand, you've really shattered my apron-buying dreams.

    1. Thank you for reading, Ian!

      Didn't know you had an apron fetish. LOL


  2. I've only been there once, but it was a huge treat (and right about this time of year). I really need to make it down there in summer or fall, when I think the display gardens must be amazing!

    1. I've only seen pictures, but YES!! A MUST!

      FIELD TRIP!!!