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Northwest Travels Part 2: Christmas Trees, The Best in the West

During the week of August 19, 2019 our plant buyers made another trip to Oregon and Washington in search of the best plants for Roger’s Gardens. While most of our plants are purchased more locally, we do bring down several loads each year from the Northwest, where there are some incredible plant growers.

Come along with our buyers for Part 2 in our Northwest travels series. In this part we will visit two of the best plant growers in the country.
One of the premier growers in the Northwest is Iseli Nursery, Inc.. They are located about 45 minutes outside of Portland on a bit over 500 acres and they were our first stop after getting off the plane.
Iseli is not your ordinary plant grower, they are an extraordinary plant grower. Their quality, craftsmanship and passion are far above what is normally experienced at a wholesale plant grower. Trust us, we have seen a lot.

Iseli specializes in rare and unusual conifers, especially dwarf conifers, as well as Japanese maples. They are dedicated to producing the finest quality plants and only sell to a limited list of quality garden center retailers in the United States. We are proud to be one of those quality customers.
Quality and craftsmanship are everywhere at Iseli and starts right at their office doors. Founded in 1975 by Jean Iseli.

Iseli maintains significant display and test gardens at their site, covering several acres where experimental plants are grown for many years and evaluated. Others are maintained purely for their beauty.
One of our buyers, Isaac, seems to be enjoying the dwarf Alberta Spruce. Those are probably 30-40 years old and are amazing. A favorite of Isaac's, the Colorado Blue Spruce, can also be found here as well.
Iseli grows a large range of specialty conifers. They also breed conifers and have made numerous selections that have been introduced into horticulture over the past 40 years. Both of these photos are spruce selections. These two are especially blue-silver; at the top is a selection of Abies koreana (Korean Fir) called ‘Silver Show’, and below is a selection of Picea pungens (Colorado Blue Spruce) called ‘Avatar’.
Gold tones are also especially popular in conifers.

The plants at the top are a selection of Norway Spruce (Abies glauca) with very golden yellow foliage called ‘Gold Drift’. ‘The Limey’, at the bottom, is also a selection of Norway Spruce, also with golden colored new growth.
Pines are in abundance here, but not the common varieties you might expect. At the top is a selection of Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra) and below are some very dwarf mounding Mugo Pines (Pinus mugo).
One of the most exciting groups of plants that Iseli offers are very small dwarf conifers. These are ideal for miniature gardens and fairy gardening, because they grow so slowly and stay small for a very, very long time.
An entire house of dwarf Red Cedars (Thuja plicata). The little super dwarf one on the far right was one of our favorites, called Thuja plicata ‘Haley Bop’. The perfect miniature garden plant.
Dwarf conifers can be assembled together into a low bowl and an instant miniature garden can be created. But the best part is that these potted miniature conifer gardens can last for years and years with no need for transplanting or fear of outgrowing the container. An almost no maintenance and very long lasting investment.
Pride of workmanship and quality is everywhere at Iseli. When we say this is not “normal” in a plant grower, we really mean it. You very, very rarely have this kind of quality experience when visiting a wholesale plant grower. Usually, you are dealing with puddles, endless gravel, rickety building, trash, broken down equipment and scattered weeds, and often somewhat irregular plants. A botanical garden like this is almost never part of a grower visit.
We really liked this little plant. It is a rare selection of a plant called Metasequoia glyptostrodoides. It is an un-named cultivar that is similar to one called ‘Gold Rush’ but much more compact and even more golden in color. Not for sale – this is the one and only. Don’t you love it?
We think this picture on the wall of the Iseli office tells an important story. Plants take time, and often the moist choice plants take much more time than the rest of the plants. It’s easy to grow an Aleppo Pine or a privit and have it be six feet in as little as two or three years. But what happens to that plant later is where the surprise lies.

A plant that grows quickly is much less costly to grow and much less expensive expensive to buy, since what you are really paying for when you are buying a plant is time. The biggest surprise to many gardeners is that relatively inexpensive and fast-growing plants don’t suddenly stop growing when they reach the perfect size that you were hoping for. They keep growing, and usually very quickly.

Then, out come the pruners and the gardeners, in an attempt to contain the issue. Maintenance time and costs go crazy, the plants lose their proper appearance and frustration grows. Yes, “Grandeur Takes Time”. When you come in to Roger’s Gardens and see these plants, remember they may have been growing somewhere for ten years before you are seeing them.
Iseli grows a wide range of Japanese Maple selections, from very small, compact varieties, like the photo at the top (these are about 8-10-year-old plants) to larger, more upright selections, like those in the bottom photo. All of them are perfect.
One distinctive characteristic of larger Iseli grown planta is the handmade cedar wooden boxes that they grow them in. The cedar is not only beautiful and long lasting, but it absolutely grows a better plant. Wood insulates the soil and keeps the roots considerably cooler than the same plant growing in a normal plastic container. Cool roots, especially with a Japanese Maple, make a big difference to the health and vigor of the plant. This is even more true in warm Southern California.
This Japanese Maple variety is one of our special and secret selections. We have been testing it in Southern California in small numbers over the past couple of seasons – and it’s a winner.

We hope you have enjoyed travelling along with some of the Roger’s Gardens horticulture team for Part 2 of our recent trip to the Oregon and Washington area. Be sure to add your comments at the end of this article. We enjoy reading your likes and dislikes and getting your feedback. And if you have any questions, be sure to post those as well.
 
During the week of August 19, 2019 our plant buyers made another trip to Oregon and Washington in search of the best plants for Roger’s Gardens. While most of our plants are purchased more locally, we do bring down several loads each year from the Northwest, where there are some incredible plant growers.

Come along with our buyers for Part 2 in our Northwest travels series. In this part we will visit two of the best plant growers in the country.
One of the premier growers in the Northwest is Iseli Nursery, Inc.. They are located about 45 minutes outside of Portland on a bit over 500 acres and they were our first stop after getting off the plane.
Iseli is not your ordinary plant grower, they are an extraordinary plant grower. Their quality, craftsmanship and passion are far above what is normally experienced at a wholesale plant grower. Trust us, we have seen a lot.

Iseli specializes in rare and unusual conifers, especially dwarf conifers, as well as Japanese maples. They are dedicated to producing the finest quality plants and only sell to a limited list of quality garden center retailers in the United States. We are proud to be one of those quality customers.
Quality and craftsmanship are everywhere at Iseli and starts right at their office doors. Founded in 1975 by Jean Iseli.

Iseli maintains significant display and test gardens at their site, covering several acres where experimental plants are grown for many years and evaluated. Others are maintained purely for their beauty.
One of our buyers, Isaac, seems to be enjoying the dwarf Alberta Spruce. Those are probably 30-40 years old and are amazing. A favorite of Isaac's, the Colorado Blue Spruce, can also be found here as well.
Iseli grows a large range of specialty conifers. They also breed conifers and have made numerous selections that have been introduced into horticulture over the past 40 years. Both of these photos are spruce selections. These two are especially blue-silver; at the top is a selection of Abies koreana (Korean Fir) called ‘Silver Show’, and below is a selection of Picea pungens (Colorado Blue Spruce) called ‘Avatar’.
Gold tones are also especially popular in conifers.

The plants at the top are a selection of Norway Spruce (Abies glauca) with very golden yellow foliage called ‘Gold Drift’. ‘The Limey’, at the bottom, is also a selection of Norway Spruce, also with golden colored new growth.
Pines are in abundance here, but not the common varieties you might expect. At the top is a selection of Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra) and below are some very dwarf mounding Mugo Pines (Pinus mugo).
One of the most exciting groups of plants that Iseli offers are very small dwarf conifers. These are ideal for miniature gardens and fairy gardening, because they grow so slowly and stay small for a very, very long time.
An entire house of dwarf Red Cedars (Thuja plicata). The little super dwarf one on the far right was one of our favorites, called Thuja plicata ‘Haley Bop’. The perfect miniature garden plant.
Dwarf conifers can be assembled together into a low bowl and an instant miniature garden can be created. But the best part is that these potted miniature conifer gardens can last for years and years with no need for transplanting or fear of outgrowing the container. An almost no maintenance and very long lasting investment.
Pride of workmanship and quality is everywhere at Iseli. When we say this is not “normal” in a plant grower, we really mean it. You very, very rarely have this kind of quality experience when visiting a wholesale plant grower. Usually, you are dealing with puddles, endless gravel, rickety building, trash, broken down equipment and scattered weeds, and often somewhat irregular plants. A botanical garden like this is almost never part of a grower visit.
We really liked this little plant. It is a rare selection of a plant called Metasequoia glyptostrodoides. It is an un-named cultivar that is similar to one called ‘Gold Rush’ but much more compact and even more golden in color. Not for sale – this is the one and only. Don’t you love it?
We think this picture on the wall of the Iseli office tells an important story. Plants take time, and often the moist choice plants take much more time than the rest of the plants. It’s easy to grow an Aleppo Pine or a privit and have it be six feet in as little as two or three years. But what happens to that plant later is where the surprise lies.

A plant that grows quickly is much less costly to grow and much less expensive expensive to buy, since what you are really paying for when you are buying a plant is time. The biggest surprise to many gardeners is that relatively inexpensive and fast-growing plants don’t suddenly stop growing when they reach the perfect size that you were hoping for. They keep growing, and usually very quickly.

Then, out come the pruners and the gardeners, in an attempt to contain the issue. Maintenance time and costs go crazy, the plants lose their proper appearance and frustration grows. Yes, “Grandeur Takes Time”. When you come in to Roger’s Gardens and see these plants, remember they may have been growing somewhere for ten years before you are seeing them.
Iseli grows a wide range of Japanese Maple selections, from very small, compact varieties, like the photo at the top (these are about 8-10-year-old plants) to larger, more upright selections, like those in the bottom photo. All of them are perfect.
One distinctive characteristic of larger Iseli grown planta is the handmade cedar wooden boxes that they grow them in. The cedar is not only beautiful and long lasting, but it absolutely grows a better plant. Wood insulates the soil and keeps the roots considerably cooler than the same plant growing in a normal plastic container. Cool roots, especially with a Japanese Maple, make a big difference to the health and vigor of the plant. This is even more true in warm Southern California.
This Japanese Maple variety is one of our special and secret selections. We have been testing it in Southern California in small numbers over the past couple of seasons – and it’s a winner.

We hope you have enjoyed travelling along with some of the Roger’s Gardens horticulture team for Part 2 of our recent trip to the Oregon and Washington area. Be sure to add your comments at the end of this article. We enjoy reading your likes and dislikes and getting your feedback. And if you have any questions, be sure to post those as well.