Rare Plant Research specializes in new and unusual plants for unique gardens. This small specialty nursery sources plants from Baja, Madagascar, South Africa and other exotic locales. As interesting as the plant material is, you’re bound to be lured to walk up to the gardens of the Spanish villa, built by the owner, which sits atop the hill overlooking a man-made pond and the nursery.
Burl Mostul is a DIY dreamer who readily admits to having no shortage of projects. He’s built by hand almost everything on his 14-acre propety, from the hoophouses to the wine press for his new winery project to the cobalt-colored tile roofing on the island patio in his man-made pond.
Mostul purchased his Oregon City property in 2004, moving his mail order operation from SE Portland. These days he’s transitioning from wholesale — “the base has just shriveled and shriveled” — and is setting of on a retail route.
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Mostsul started off by showing us his garden with hybrid trials — from canna to cactus, Cascade berries to olives (he hopes to introduce a new cultivar next spring). We then walked up the north-facing slope where he’s planting grapevines, on our way to the house he built, and also the future site of his Catalana Cellars winery tasting room.
Open to public one day per year, the week before Memorial Day; the annual event attracts upwards of 2,000 visitors. He hopes to open the winery by next June. “The plan is that people who come to taste wine will also be interested in buying the rare trees,” Mostul said.
“Cutting-edge gardeners do well with our plants,” he added. “When people buy a plant, they want a feeling. We need to help consumers get the feeling they’re paying for.”