When we set out to tour the iconic nurseries of the Pacific Northwest, we confess to having been a bit nervous that they would not live up to the folklore that has been created and nurtured by the conifer cognoscenti. Our third stop, Buchholz & Buchholz, continued the theme of exceeding our expectations! Talon Buchholz, whose eponymous nursery is responsible for almost as many plant introductions as the Garden of Eden, met us upon our arrival and gave us a personal tour. His affection for the plants and their histories made this one of our favorite stops on our road trip.
Talon’s nursery includes a wonderful, quasi-naturalized display garden, the Flora Wonder Arboretum, which exudes more personality than most commercial settings. A number of the plantings have clearly been in the ground for many years, and elements of whimsy and creativity abound. Conifers, maples and other woody specimen plants are Buchholz’s specialty, which is one of the reasons that we were eager to visit.
It’s clear that Talon has a sense of humor; the weeping larch in the above photo looks like some kind of mythical creature and there is even a weeping Douglas fir that has been pruned in the shape of an elephant. The interplantings of conifers, maples and other deciduous specimen trees and shrubs is both artful and natural. There is no pretension here–the plants speak for themselves.
It was a joy to see specimens in the ground, obviously carefully placed and planted. Talon knows each plant–each specimen, actually–and tells the story of how it came to be – and be included in the Buchholz & Buchholz repertory. His nursery covers many, many acres and yet he speaks of the plantings with more personal connection than do most gardeners with infinitesimally smaller lots.
The Japanese maples in the gardens were amazing–a wild array of colors, shapes and textures. It was instructive to see so many mature specimens in the ground; so often we are reduced to seeing small plants in pots or recent garden plantings. The maples were beginning to take on fall color when we visited, we can only imagine what they look like in spring with new growth.
As the border above illustrates, the Flora Wonder Arboretum is an homage to the concepts of form and foliage; Talon interplants conifers, maples, ginkgos, natives and grasses with an easy hand. The plants are given enough space to demonstrate their shapes and architectures.
Many of the Flora Wonder plantings have been in the ground for decades – it is a great spot to see specimens that have attained some size, such as this Ginkgo.
The greenhouses abound with specimen plantings beautifully displayed in cedar boxes – Japanese maples, conifers, etc were arrayed in soldierly rows. We were particularly taken with the pumice planters, in which single plants or combinations were attractively nestled. It was at about this point that we tried to figure out if they would fit in our luggage.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and took our leave only because the staff was trying to close for the day. Talon’s website has hundreds of beautiful images and if our review of our visit piqued your interest, go on a virtual tour with Talon at Buchholz & Buchholz Nursery. You won’t be disappointed!
Next stop: The Oregon Garden’s Conifer Collection, Silverton, OR