The Joy of Plants at Joy Creek Nursery

Portland gardeners are lucky ducks. They seem to have an unusual concentration of high quality nurseries in their area, nurseries whose display gardens would make them worthwhile destinations even if they had nothing for sale.

Blue Hydrangea and grasses at the Joy Creek display garden.
Blue Hydrangea and grasses at the Joy Creek display garden.

We don’t have that in Chicago, where land is at too much of a premium to be used that way by a retail nursery. By the way, I took these pictures as Judy missed the first day of the Fling. So they may not be up to the usual quality.

Rudbeckia hirta
Rudbeckia hirta

We visited two such nurseries during the Fling: Joy Creek and Cistus. One of the Portlanders told me that these two nurseries define two local styles of gardening. “You’re either a Joy Creek gardener or a Cistus gardener,” she told me.

Matilija Poppy. Wish we could grow these in Chicago.
Matilija Poppy. Wish we could grow these in Chicago.

If I lived in Portland, I would definitely be a Joy Creek gardener.

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Joy Creek has over four acres of display and stock gardens.

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And by the way, they also do mail order. Here’s the Joy Creek website.

Bee Balm, I think it's 'Jacob Cline'.
Bee Balm, I think it’s ‘Jacob Cline’.

Joy Creek specializes in Clematis, and their garden has an amazing selection.

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2014-07-11 16.30.18joy creek clematis

This one reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors. Feed me!
This one reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors. Feed me!

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Now if only I could get them to open a branch in the Chicago area.

60 Comments on “The Joy of Plants at Joy Creek Nursery”

  1. What pretty flowers. The rudbeckia are a joy to behold. But then I saw the last 2 clematis and you know how I love them. The last two – including the little shop of horrors – are intriguing. And what is “The Fling”? I’ve been on another planet recently, so maybe you have explained already.

  2. I’m more of a Joy Creek gardener. 🙂 Although we have our share of great local nurseries in the Seattle, I try to swing by Joy Creek whenever I head South. I really appreciate specialty nurseries that have a web presence. I can check out the offerings and make my plans–even have them put the plants aside for pick-up. Love that!

  3. Jason, you and Judy make a good team. Judy is an amazing photographer! And these photos are fabulous, too! I can see that the Joy Creek visit was one I would have enjoyed, as well. When you and Judy are in the Madison area next time, we’ll have to visit some of our garden centers here together. The Flower Factory, Jung Garden Center, and Kopke’s Fruit of the Bloom are my personal favorites. We have a lot of options here, but sadly some are closing because of competition from the “big box” stores. I hope my favorites won’t close! Great post!

  4. That’s so funny, I hadn’t thought of them as mutually exclusive…but I do visit Joy Creek regularly…and Cistus, rarely (usually when I’m with someone and they want to go), so I guess there’s a grain of truth to that. I’m glad you enjoyed the visit…our fabulous local nurseries really do spoil us here in Portland 🙂

  5. Hello there !
    I have thought the very same thing about how lucky you people are on the west coast with so many wonderful nurseries around ! Not only the milder weather but these nurseries are amazing .. I would have to pick Joy Creek too if only because my name is Joy too ? LOL
    Joy in a colder climate !

  6. I agree, Jason–I wish we had something like these nurseries around here, too! I remember the large stand of Rudbeckias and admiring all the bees buzzing about it. And who can forget those huge BLUE hydrangeas?! Have you ever been to Hornbaker Gardens in Princeton? They have some beautiful display gardens that make the long trip worthwhile.

  7. Seems I have company in the split personality department. I thought maybe it had to do with my dangerous location almost exactly between JC & Cistus. The plant in Little Shop of Horrors had a fun name which escapes me, but the one you show is Oshi Kiri. Big demand, small supply, according to Maurice.

  8. Lovely Clematis. Is that poppy a Romneya coulteri? They are tricky plants, they will either take over the entire garden or sulk and die out. Mine hasn’ t quite decided which course of action to take. It’ s still weighing up the options.

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