A Visit to Dancing Oaks Nursery

The road up to Dancing Oaks

Over the Fourth of July weekend, David and I took a little road trip from our home in Portland to Monmouth, Oregon - a couple of hours on the road south to visit Dancing Oaks Nursery. Neither of us had been before so did not know what to expect. I have heard people speak highly of this place and after reading about it in Pacific Horticulture Magazine and realizing it was (relatively) close to Portland, it became a destination.

The landscape was farm-like and dry with the foothills to the Coast Range mountains to  the west. Really beautiful. Quite an unexpected place for a nursery, to tell the truth.

I regret I did not get a photo of the front gate. I was too excited and only remembered the camera once we parked. We thought we would be the only people there, however there were at least a half a dozen cars parked upon arrival. And we thought we left early!

 This is as close as we got to a photo of the entrance. We were swiftly greeted by nursery staff and shown the ropes - where each greenhouse was. Heaven.

Just for fun, after all I married one.
We learned quickly there are several acres to take in, so we took our time at each greenhouse then wandered around the many garden areas.

A lovely shade house collection

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

A really funny Eucomis - not sure the variety, but I love the little "hats".

Eryngium 'Miss Wilmott's Ghost'...  sadly they had none for sale that day... :(

Sedum spathulifolium in a mega-mound. Wow! Native to Oregon. SO cool in the garden, too. Several varieties, cape blanco, purpureum, harvest moon....nice! I have it scattered throughout my garden, many varieties and it's done well.

A view of the house and meadow, facing west I believe ... a place I would love to live!

Backlit gorgeousness

This was, I believe, my favorite part of the gardens. This was the area on the west upper end of the gardens - open meadow-y areas with foxgloves, Eryngiums, all kinds of lovelies. I think I really liked it because it was so open and casual but dramatic with the tall spikes of blooms and bees everywhere.

I love the combination of forms and colors.
Backlit glow-y goodness!

 This was the pond area, lovely aquatic plants and a totally different feel from
 the rest of the gardens.

One of the many garden rooms to explore. Plants are allowed to grow to their full, glorious size ... a luxury I don't have at the current time so it's great to see plants in their full best.

Kind of weird llama-esque trees.

Verbena bonariensis ... something I really enjoy seeing but I know a lot of people consider it a pest.
A small slice of the veggie garden - they had a lovely setup, to be sure. It must be something of a necessity since they are so far out there. Plus, they have such great hot weather! Who wouldn't grow veggies, given the space? Heck, there were even chickens and eggs for sale! How cool is that?!?

A neighbor's peacock found itself a new home at Dancing Oaks ... did not want to leave according to the staff. Who would want to leave?
A beautiful HUGE container planting, there were several in the main courtyard.

Looking at the road as we were leaving underscores the beauty of this landscape. I was in heaven, really. I understand there are several events at the nursery throughout the growing season - some music, food, etc. It all sounds wonderful. The staff were wonderful, so helpful, the gardens are glorious and varied, the plant selection was epic. 

Sadly, I did not photograph my loot - but I can remember most! I bought a couple Japanese Blood Grass for the eco-roof, a penstemon also for the (other) eco-roof - Penstemon kunthii, from Oaxaca, a Cotton Grass -Eriophorum latifulium, David picked out a Heuchera "Ebony and Ivory' and Solidago 'Little lemon' to replace a GIANT version I have out front. The Little Lemon variety is only supposed to get about 12" tall vs. the four-foot giants I have now. Oh, the trials of trying to plant native varieties! I often find the native ones, however great they are, can get quite large for my small space.

 All in all, a FAB day, we really loved it there and would seriously consider moving to the area if we could find such an epic plot of land for a **ahem** good price. Dream on....

We'll be back.


  1. So glad you made it down there...it's a fabulous nursery, and, sadly, I don't make it there nearly often enough. I think your mystery white flower is Michauxia :-)

    1. Thanks for the id, Scott! Nice plant, do you have one? I have a feeling that the nursery is so far away that I too will not make it as often as it deserves. BUT I'm always up for a road trip with whomever has the biggest hauling-mobile!

  2. I still remember my first visit to Dancing Oaks, I was dumbfounded. I've managed to go back at least once a year, although not yet in 2013. Glad you made it down there and enjoyed the experience (although frankly had you not I'd wonder about you!...)

    1. Dumfounded is an excellent description, Loree. I know, if I hadn't enjoyed it, I'd put me in a loony bin. What a place.

  3. fifi la fontaine7:06 AM PDT

    What a gorgeous place, T.! I must take a little road trip down there some day.

    1. Yes, do! If it's ever on a Monday or Thursday, count me in! Fabulous, Fifi...it is gorgeous.


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