NEWSLETTER: Spring 2015 Open House and OVERLY ATTACHED PLANTS SALE!!

Spring open house is this weekend, Friday through Sunday, details and directions about which can be found here. More about that below! But first, some whining:

Good grief, what a month! I am sorry if I have not responded to your email. To start with I had my SECOND hard drive crash of the season, which had the misfortune of coinciding with my computer guy being out of town. At least the hard drive was under warranty, but I still don’t have my main computer back (and the others don’t really work well enough to count). Then on top of that our internet hardware seems to have died. I hope we have that resolved in the next day or two. In the meantime I admit the emails are piling up. I’m here in the library typing this and for some mysterious reason STILL can’t get into my Desert Northwest email. (Which also means this newsletter won’t go out via email right at this moment.) I hope all this will be resolved soon, hopefully before I turn into a complete technophobe.

Then there’s the nursery. Earlier this spring I got off to a great start, but parts of the nursery are now in, shall we say, less than ideal condition because babies (of the human variety) don’t sleep through the night. They are also a major distraction but in a good way of course. So the end result is, I’ve decided to announce a sale on OVERLY ATTACHED PLANTS. All overly attached plants will be offered at… drumroll please… 50% OFF the listed price on the web site.

What’s an overly attached plant, you ask? Well, that’s a plant (generally in a 4″ pot, but even a few larger items) that just loves being at our nursery so much that it rooted itself right into the ground through the bottom of the pot before anyone managed to move it. In general most of these plants are still salvageable given the right care. You’ll see some that I pulled out, cut back hard and potted up earlier and they are now doing fine. I still have a lot more of that to do and fortunately all summer to do it. But maybe we can speed this process along by trying to clear a bunch of them out right now.

The only conditions are that “overly attached” is defined according to our discretion (but don’t worry, we won’t be stingy), and plants should be pulled under staff supervision (that’s me!). Reasons for this include making sure you, the customer, have realistic expectations about the plants’ salvageability/performance. We’ll want to determine that a good proportion of healthy roots are still in the pot. We may also want to cut it back for you and/or soak it in water, which will be available. Another reason is if you pull something from the nursery and later decide you don’t want it, we’ll need to attend to it/them that evening. They may not last if they are just left out in the nursery, especially if I don’t find them for a while i.e. if I don’t know they have been pulled. Finally, the usual quantity discount for one-time purchases of $200 or greater does not apply to these plants.

Now lest we think this is entirely a salvage operation or something, there is also plenty of good news. Certain sections of the nursery are in good shape such as the conifers (a great selection as always) and the Fuchsias. Our selection of things like Olearia, Callistemon and Podocarpus remains good as well as various Washington native cacti (all Opuntia, no Pediocactus at this time). There are even a few exciting things like Heteromeles arbutifolia, Grevillea x gaudichaudii and Brachyglottis ‘Otari Cloud’ out there if you poke around. So yes, there are still a lot of NEW plants in the pipeline, and hopefully clearing out some of the old stuff will make room for them to fit!! And as always, some of the usual stuff like Grevillea, manzanita and the like remain available.

I will not be putting up my usual signage for this event, so it will be beneficial to arrive with a list of what you have in mind. I will be here and available all weekend to assist you with any questions. One thing about my signs is that there are a lot of good plants in the nursery for which I have no sign, and people keep passing these by, so we’ll just see how it goes without signs this time and call it an experiment. Maybe some of the other good plants will get some attention!

So there you have it. This is the first proper “sale” we have ever had and will probably be the last for a long time! Unless we change our minds. Well I’d better stop typing before the library staff accuse me of hogging all the internet. Thanks for reading!

Ian & Co.
The Desert Northwest
PO Box 3475
Sequim, WA 98382
mail@desertnorthwest.com
http://desertnorthwest.com

2015 Schedule of Sales and Events!

Is it 2015 already? Why didn’t somebody warn me this would happen?

Well that was an exciting few weeks—first I had way too much going on at once, then I got sick. Then my hard drive crashed. (Fortunately I had backed up all my files.) After waiting a bit to get my computer back with a new hard drive, it took another day or two to get files transferred and programs downloaded. So for all those reasons, it’s been a challenge to keep on top of emails. I think I am now caught up but if I owe you correspondence, just write again and bug me; I don’t mind.

Now we look into the future once again to try to predict where and when we will be selling our plants this year, besides mail-order and by appointment which are always available. We are taking it a little easier on ourselves as far as spring sales, which tend to drain all my energy at exactly the time of year I need to be putting work into the nursery. So here they are, in chronological order.

March 21 – 22: Sequim Garden Show this weekend! Yeah that’s coming right up. I guess you’ll have to really drop whatever you’re doing to make that one! Well, I would have provided more advance notice had I had my computer for the last two weeks.

April 17 – 18: Rhododendron Species Foundation Sale in Federal Way. Hopefully this year it won’t pour down rain all of Saturday. That was exciting.

May 16: Heronswood garden open and sale, Kingston.

May 29 – 31: Spring Open House here at the nursery in Sequim!

July 25: Heronswood garden open and sale, Kingston. I expect we’ll be bringing some extra cool stuff to this one.

July 31 – August 1: Summer Open House, Friday and Saturday only. (The date on the main “open house page” is incorrect but I’ll fix that soon.)

August 8 – Fronderosa Frolic, Gold Bar, Washington. I’m glad Judith is still hosting this event. As with last year it will be one day only.

September 12: Salem Hardy Plant Society sale in Rickreall, Oregon (just west of Salem).

September 19: Heronswood garden open and sale, Kingston.

September 25 – 26: Fall Open House in Sequim, Friday and Saturday only. Early fall is a great time to plant and our availability is usually at its peak around this time!

So here’s the “what’s different this year” section, along with some further random thoughts.

We’re skipping “Hortlandia,” the big HPSO April sale this year, since it conflicts with the RSBG sale, which costs us less in travel expenses and we think we will do better there given the type of stock we currently have more of. We still like it though. Hopefully we’ll be back next year.

There is still no Bloedel Reserve Plant Sale, which is too bad. I have one nursery friend in the know who swears it will be back soon, and another who swears it will never be back. So that’s interesting. If they ever have another one, we’ll do it, despite the challenge of preparing for it.

The Clackamas County Master Gardener sale. That went OK, but not great; and I expect we’ll give it at least one more shot, but not this year. It’ll be more worthwhile if I have my trailer ready to go, which I still don’t at this time (another project on my list!). (The trailer not being ready is also a factor in choosing RSBG over HPSO, for that matter.)

HPSO Fall Plantfest (which, ironically, is actually in summer). Last year I said I hoped we would do this but we didn’t end up actually doing it. I’m pretty sure that’s the same weekend as the SHPS sale so we’ll probably once again not do it and stick with SHPS, unless something changes at their end. That is a long way off so who knows.

NHS. Unlike last year, there is nothing on their web site this year that confirms they are having a sale in September, the one they have had for many years. Will there be one? When will it be? Who knows? Perhaps they haven’t decided yet. But if they are, it is certain to land on one of those weekends we are already doing something else. The two times we tried to do it in coordination with the SHPS sale at the same time, the added stress hasn’t been worth it. So, for those reasons and others, in all likelihood we’ll be giving it a pass even if it’s on.

Just for fun, and because I need to test out the new image editing software I downloaded (GIMP), here’s a random photo of our booth at the Salem Hardy Plant Society sale.

IMG_8948

Exciting Facebook groups YOU should join—and General Update

When you start getting emails of “are you still in business?” that must mean it’s been too long since a web update or at least a blog update. Of course this has been on my mind for a while now, but we’ll start with the blog since that is easier. Yes, we are still in business and we have in fact been quite busy.

Before getting to that though, let’s take a moment to talk about Facebook. You’re on Facebook, right? I mean, come on man, everyone is doing it. Actually, if you are one of those who has still opted out, I can’t blame you. I’m half expecting everything we put up on Facebook goes into some vast database that Big Brother will eventually use against us. But then the same goes for most everything we put on the internet, including my blog and web site, so I guess it’s a chance I’ve decided to take for now, unless someone can convince me to go back to snail-mail only for the nursery business. At least I haven’t bought one of those TVs that listens to your every word and transmits your information to some unknown data cloud.

In any case, there continues to be a steadily increasing amount of action on plant-based Facebook groups (as an aside, the group called Plant Idents is particularly fun). So now that you think I’m nuts, let me tell you about three exciting Facebook groups you should join:

The first is called Arctostaphylos Aficionados. I started this back in late summer or so for people with a serious interest in manzanita—growing it, photographing it, documenting it in the wild, whatever. We even got someone in the group who is doing molecular research on them, so that is exciting; as well as most of the living scientific authorities on the genus that I know of. Do you like manzanita? What are you waiting for? https://www.facebook.com/groups/1536485596588451/

The next is called Cold Hardy Australian Plants, which I started around New Years Eve or so. I am astounded at the positive response to this group which already has more people in it than the Arctostaphylos group; and lots of great discussion, information and photos have been shared. You can be part of the fun at https://www.facebook.com/groups/384205358407272/

Then we have Hardy Cacti for Temperate Gardens. Unlike my other groups this one has NOT really taken off. In fact I started it way back last March and we are still not quite at 100 members. But there is a back story here.

A certain Dan Carter, well over a year ago, started a Facebook group called Cold Hardy Cacti—nothing wrong with that. He then went on to define the subject of his group as being primarily cacti that will grow in USDA zones 6 or colder, where temperatures below 0°F are expected most winters. To the annoyance of some, contributors from zones 7 and 8 would be repeatedly informed their posts were of relatively less interest to the group. For example I even posted photos from an eastern Washington garden and was told my post was only marginally on topic. The problem is, with a title like “Cold Hardy Cacti,” it’s pretty much inevitable that you’re going to attract people who are interested in cold hardy cacti on up to zones 7 and 8; where, outside of desert areas, you very seldom see cacti cultivated due to the challenges of cold and wet. So, while I recognize someone is free to manage a Facebook group any way that he chooses to, in my mind it gets a little silly when you start a group with the title “Cold Hardy Cacti” and then tell such persons their contributions are not on topic. Now this is not meant as an attack on his group; in fact, I am still in his group. But this did motivate me to start Hardy Cacti for Temperate Gardens, which is meant as a “bigger tent” for people interested in discussing cold hardy cacti in any zone. (If Dan reads this and feels I am representing him unfairly, by all means please chime in—I have no personal beef here.) I won’t even say anything if you start talking about Agaves or Yuccas in my group; just don’t start talking about Encore Azaleas or something.

So I still wish to revive this group. It could be a valuable resource for those of us who are growing cacti in climates cold enough to be challenging but not frigid. With that remark I am pledging to become somewhat more involved there myself, and would love to have your contributions as well. Here’s the group again: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1468681576681957/

So what else is new? Well, some people have called this a “really boring” mild winter in the Northwest generally, but in our neck of the woods we had 3” of snow on November 29th followed by a drop to 18°F on the 30th. So we hit our “zonal low” if you will for the winter. A hard freeze before that and another just after Christmas were also annoying. (And what’s with all these early hard freezes lately? 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, now 2014. Perhaps I ought to just start expecting them.) So greenhouse 4 didn’t get built, but that isn’t really a surprise. But that is all right, since I’m knocking off a whole lot of other little projects that have been bugging me for years. For example an annoying pile of rocks and dirt (inherited from previous owners) on the east side of the nursery growing area that has been covered with groundcover cloth for years has finally been leveled flat. This week I am working on getting Dungeness River irrigation water over to the east side of the property, which is exciting. And I am finally getting more plants into the ground, but more on that in a future post.

I have been doing some cleaning and organizing in the greenhouses as well; in short, we are doing the usual stuff to get ready for spring. And fortunately I am more on top of annoying paperwork this year than before, which means I can be OUTSIDE doing the work! Of course there’s still the web site to update; but for now I’ll just say, if you’re wondering if something is available, just ask, and I’ll let you know.

The other exciting news is that last October I managed to get out and do a quick bit of plant hunting in southwest Oregon and California. Highlights were a couple nice forms of Heteromeles arbutifolia that have already rooted really well, one of which had huge clusters of berries (why didn’t I get seed? But hey, at least they rooted). I also revisited some very nice forms of Arctostpahylos x mewukka that I had collected in 2006 but later lost. These forms from the Mt. Shasta area are beautifully silver—not as screaming blue as some, but still pretty good—and ought to be super hardy to cold (-20°F?). Speaking of cold, I encountered Arctostaphylos viscida in the upper Scott Valley where temperatures in the neighborhood of -20°F are not unknown—temperatures that these manzanitas take in stride. Look for these and similar exciting items to make it to our web list later this year. Then we have the rare Ceanothus pinetorum which looks a lot like C. gloriosus, but it grows high in the mountains and it’s MUCH hardier. Sean Hogan (Cistus Nursery) tells me it’s a major challenge to grow but I’m hoping I’ll have better luck if I get them in the ground from a small size. I guess we’ll find out.

Although it has taken me a while, I still intend to post photos to the web site both from this trip, and from the 2012 trip to Oregon and Northern California that I did with Mike Lee (formerly of Colvos Creek Nursery) and Vor Hostelter. There was also a minor trip to the Mt. Hood area in 2012 that I never did post photos of, but hey, it’s not too late!

We got to see some splendid gardens last fall, including Hummingbird Hill Villa on Whidbey Island, which houses an impressive collection of water-wise plants including a lot of things like Arctostaphylos, Grevillea, Leptospermum and the other usual suspects. The late Bob Barca, who was also one of our customers, started this garden which continues to be well maintained by the surviving family. We also visited Mike Lee, who continues to maintain a collection of fun, unusual, garden worthy plants at Arbor Heights Botanic Garden, a private garden in West Seattle. Both of these were kind enough to allow us some cuttings for propagation of exciting plant material, some of which we have not offered in the past. We also visited Derek Clausen and his amazing conifer collection back in October, but the cuttings from him mostly don’t look all that great now due to the downright hot weather we had back then. Anyway, stay tuned and we’ll see how much of it grows!

Not only that, Mike Lee was in Arizona and generously supplied us with a collection of cuttings and seeds, including four forms of Arctostaphylos, two of Platanus wrightii, the Arizona form of Frangula (Rhamnus) californica and more. (I opened the box and thought, what is this, Cotoneaster? But it’s all good; that just what this form looks like.) The Arizona Arctostaphylos are exciting because these get quite a bit of summer water in their native habitat, which could potentially mean they are both more “garden tolerant” in areas receiving summer irrigation, and possibly even that they would grow in parts of the mid-Atlantic region or Southeast—but has anyone tried? I have no idea, but I know Sean (the same as above) has already propagated a few A. pungens forms from southern Utah, and it’s certainly a fun possibility.

So, that is where we are at for the time being. I think we are going to have a good year with all the new stuff in the pipeline. Also, the word on the street is that the nursery business in general is picking up from previous years. Our local non-specialty garden center says business is way up from last year already, and with the mild weather people certainly have planting on the brain. Thanks for reading and for your continued interest in our business!

This is called 3" of snow, which fell on 11/29/14.  I left one Leptospermum juniperinum outside in a pot through the freeze just to see how wimpy it was.  It died.

This is called 3″ of snow, which fell on 11/29/14. I left one Leptospermum juniperinum outside in a pot through the freeze just to see how wimpy it was. It died.

Plant hunting in California.  This is Heteromeles arbutifolia with impressively large fruit clusters.

Plant hunting in California. This is Heteromeles arbutifolia with impressively large fruit clusters.

Arctostaphylos viscida in the Scott Valley, where temperatures to -20°F may occur.

Arctostaphylos viscida in the Scott Valley, where temperatures to -20°F may occur.

The gardens at Hummingbird Hill, Whidbey Island.

The gardens at Hummingbird Hill, Whidbey Island.

At Arbor Heights Botanic Gardens, this Acacia pravissima was loaded with buds.

At Arbor Heights Botanic Gardens, this Acacia pravissima was loaded with buds.

Cuttings from Arizona in the nursery!

Cuttings from Arizona in the nursery!

NEWSLETTER: FALL 2014 Update and OPEN HOUSE!

desert_is_stupid
Greetings Plant Friends,

Hey, what’s that wet stuff falling out of the sky? It may actually be rain. That means it’s time to plant! And I guess we timed our later-than-usual FALL OPEN HOUSE just right, because it’s this weekend! That’s right, come on out this Friday or Saturday and we’ll be ready for you! Check this page for directions and a map.

So was summer dry enough for you this year, or what? It was supposed to be a hot one, and indeed it was hotter than average across the Northwest. Here in Sequim we got just one good soaking rain in the middle of August – which was most unexpected, and not everyone got it. So we all got a good reminder this year of the good sense in using water-wise garden plants. We may have a long rainy season, but a 4 – 6 month dry season is still a long time to be irrigating!

So last year we had a little problem here at the Desert Northwest. And you can help to fix it. It was called, too many plants and not enough greenhouse space. This especially becomes an issue when I have to cram the greenhouses so full that there are plants in the aisles, and I can’t reach or even see a lot of our stock. You can imagine the mess that can potentially result, but things are reasonably under control at the moment so we won’t go there.

So obviously, your purchases – whether at the open house, or by mail – will help us clear out enough space to fit everything into the greenhouses. More importantly, they will help us to fund the construction of our next greenhouse, which shall be called (very creatively) Greenhouse 4. Greenhouse 4 is exciting because it will have a space dedicated to nursery stock grown specifically for regional sales, and will be available for retail shopping all the way to the back. The question is, can we get it done this winter? Well, we’re going to try, though (as usual) we have a lot of other projects to complete at the same time.

A few interesting plants are available that we haven’t had in a while. These may or may not be listed on the web site at present, since (once again) I need to update it. A nice crop of our native Arctostaphylos x media is a bit on the small side, but looking good. A couple of 1-gallon A. pajaroensis ‘Lester Rowntree’ are ready to go, and we still have some nice 2 gallon A. rudis ‘Vandenburg’.

We also still have plenty of the best and hardiest Grevilleas in stock, including lots of ‘Poorinda Leane’, ‘Marshall Olbrich’ and ‘Murray Valley Queen’ in 4” pots. Then there is a really nice crop of the grey-leafed Leptospermum cunninghamii also in 4” pots. This is a nice irregular evergreen shrub with delicate foliage, very showy flowers and totally hardy. Nearly our entire selection of ice plants remains in stock, as well as a good variety of our native hardy cacti. Yes, it’s OK to plant those now, as long as your soil drains.

Fall is especially good for planting conifers. People used to ask us for Fitzroya cupressoides all the time, and now that we have them, no one wants them. So we now have a beautiful crop of 1-gallons and they are feeling very lonely. Also looking good is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Chilworth Silver’ – this has delicate foliage and an upright habit like ‘Blue Surprise’ but is a whole lot easier to grow and won’t randomly die overnight of root rots.

Trachycarpus wagnerianus, a HARDY windmill palm relative with compact leaves, has now been moved up to the 1-gallon size and looks good. There’s lots of other good stuff too but I suppose we have to stop somewhere.

We wish to gratefully acknowledge the recent help of our assistant, Bob. He has a real passion for cool plants and has been assisting significantly with all the work I haven’t had time to do lately. With all this help the nursery is looking pretty good right now!

If you can’t come and see us this weekend, remember you can make an appointment to come out any time we are available.

Happy growage,

Ian & Co.
The Desert Northwest
PO Box 3475
Sequim, WA 98382
mail@desertnorthwest.com
http://www.desertnorthwest.com

NEWSLETTER: Summer 2014 Update!

Greetings Plant Friends,

Well it’s just about time for our summer OPEN HOUSE, which will once again be the fourth weekend of July! We welcome you to come on out and browse our selection of rare, unique and water-wise plants this Friday and Saturday – check this page (http://www.desertnorthwest.com/openhouse.html) for directions and a map. Now let’s see if I can make the rest of this newsletter short and sweet.

First I ought to mention that I have finally updated the availability on the web site of ‘Specimen Plants’ – those plants we sell in 1 gallon or larger sizes – just in time for this event! So now you can look online at what we actually have, and come on out and find it (unless someone else beats you to it/them – quantities are limited). When will I update the mail-order list again? Well, I’m getting close… baby steps, you know.

So what’s looking good? Well, we have a really nice crop of Arctostaphylos x ‘Sunset’ right now. This is one manzanita that’s beautiful, drought resistant and very easy to grow. Although it won’t grow in a swamp, it isn’t as fussy about drainage as some others. We also have a really nice crop of Olearia avicennifolia. This New Zealand daisy shrub is the perfect late summer show-stopper with its large masses of white daisies. It is super easy to grow and tolerates drought, wind and coastal exposure.

Hardy ice plants are blooming! These showy succulents are perfect, easy care plants for rockeries or if you just have a yard full of gravel which seem relatively common in Sequim. Some remain in a tight clump while others are spreading groundcovers. If you want to see Bergeranthus jamesii in bloom, come late in the afternoon when they open up.

We still have quite a few 1 gallon Agave montana, Yucca schottii, and Aloe striatula. Aloe striatula is a reliably hardy Aloe for our region but it grows better with good soil and summer water. The flowers are very showy! It will freeze to the ground in a colder winter but always comes back. We will probably “dig” some more hardy Opuntia cacti out of greenhouse 1 to sell, including our native ones. They have made a lot of new growth and are looking great!

Oh, and we’ve still got a few Araucaria angustifolia left! We have to mention that. See my blog a couple posts back for how special this tree is. And I suppose you’ve been searching all your life for a tree sized Eucryphia, right? Well, look no further. This late summer bloomer will be putting on a show soon. It gets covered in showy white flowers with yellow stamens that the bees love.

And now for a really special announcement. Do you love our plants but don’t want to pay for them? Do you like to work outdoors? Do you have tons of spare time? (I know, I lost you with that one.) If so, we could arrange a work trade to the tune of $20/hour in plant value – perhaps more if you’re really good? Maybe you are a horticulture student who wants to learn more about plants: we could call this an internship. Duties would mainly be (but not limited to) weeding, potting up, and helping construct/maintain our display beds (which are just starting off and don’t look like anything yet). There will be some different work in the fall with building a greenhouse and some tables, etc. I always think I am going to do it all myself but who am I kidding; history has shown I am not likely to get near as much done as I would like. It’s kind of low-key out here but at least I am very nice to work with – I think. If this sounds at all interesting to you, just let me know!

If you can’t visit this weekend, Fronderosa is August 9th! Come out to Gold Bar and see us. We’ll bring whatever plants you want us to. See this page for more information: http://www.fancyfrondsnursery.com/events

All right, I’d better quit before I get myself into trouble. We hope to see you soon.

Ian & Co.
The Desert Northwest
PO Box 3475
Sequim, WA 98382
mail@desertnorthwest.com

http://www.desertnorthwest.com

IMG_6763

Here’s Bergeranthus jamesii, a rare hardy ice plant with yellow flowers that open in the evening.

Colvos Creek Nursery Closeout Sale

Who’s ready for some sad news? Well we have some really downer news. (Where’s that “Brace Yourselves” internet meme when I need it?) After approximately 39(?) years of business, Colvos Creek Nursery is closing its doors. That’s right, they’ve been selling interesting, rare, and very cool plants since before I was born.

Unlike many nursery closures, this seems like less of a casualty of the economy than a casualty of circumstance. (Just in January owner Mike Lee told me that business was going well with interest in their plants on the rise.) You can read about the reasons for their closure here.

Thankfully there is a positive aspect about this: this Saturday is the final day of their closeout sale, with all plants being 50% off! So this is your chance to get on over to Vashon Island and get some cool stuff. (I’m making the link to their web site really big so no one misses it!) If you can’t make it this Saturday, you should contact Mike and see what could be worked out.

I need to say a little bit more about Colvos Creek, which currently consists of Mike Lee (founder and long-time owner) and Vor Hostleter (expert plantsman and possibly co-owner, I’m not sure).

I am supremely disappointed about this closure, personally. Colvos has been a great inspiration for what we do here at The Desert Northwest. I believe Mike is among the very best plantspeople in the Northwest, if not THE best, even if he is not as well known as some. His knowledge about plants, and the cold-hardiness of all kinds of plants (including many so rare virtually no one has tried them), is nothing less than encyclopedic. And he’s a really nice guy to boot. Now that Mike is freed up from the nursery I expect him to write a book. Or perhaps several.

Also of significance, Colvos Creek has been a long-time pioneer for water-wise gardening in the Northwest. For decades they have been quietly promoting the use of many of our favorite drought tolerant plants like Arctostaphylos, Grevillea, and Callistemon for Northwest gardens.

Not only that, their availability was saturated with the rare and edgy, rivaling Heronswood in the 90’s or Cistus Nursery for hard-to-find cool stuff. (I say “was,” but the stuff they have now is still cool, as you will find if you visit.) For example, way back in January 1998 I bought an Araucaria angustifolia from Colvos Creek, which is now the tree you see pictured in the previous blog post! If you see hardy Agaves or tree-sized Embothriums in gardens around the Seattle area, there is a good chance they came from Colvos.

Colvos Creek Nursery had a great run, and certainly outlasted most mail-order nurseries. We are grateful for their inspiration. We want to do all we can to ensure that all they have contributed to horticulture in the Northwest and beyond does not go unrecognized.

We also secretly hope this closure is only temporary, and Mike and Vor start producing more plants again. But don’t tell anyone.

Long Anticipated Exciting Spring Newsletter! (LATE PUBLICATION)

Editorial note: Well, I kinda goofed here. I sent out an email newsletter a few weeks back, but with so much preparation to do for the open house I didn’t manage to put it on my blog. Here I am adding it just for the sake of consistency because all the other ones are on here. So the open house is over and done, but that’s really not a big deal since you can always shop by appointment or come to the next open house July 26th. And anyway, the nursery looks better now than it did a few weeks ago.

Dear Gardening Friends,

So oh yeah, it’s spring! And it hasn’t been a bad one at that, we think. Not too cold but enough rain that we’re not watering all the time yet. For some of you, I know, it was TOO MUCH rain, but here in Sequim it didn’t feel that way.

Without further ado let’s announce that this weekend is our first open house of the year, and we would be thrilled to have your visit on Friday, Saturday or Sunday! Or even all three. Not only that, I have gotten myself together and put the open dates for the season – with directions and a map – back up on the web site right here. And not a moment too soon! Heh heh.

We like to start these things relatively late in the season after the regional plant sale mayhem is mostly behind us. It is also hard to get all the plants we crammed into the greenhouse for winter set outside and spread out in early spring, or else the deer will eat it. But by this time of year they not usually hungry enough to be a nuisance. (Yeah, someday we ought to do something about a fence.)

What? Did I hear that you still don’t have Grevillea victoriae subsp. nivalis ‘Murray Valley Queen’? You know, the one that is covered in showy red-orange flowers from October through May and keeps hummingbirds in your garden all winter. Well, we now have at least 100 little plants in 4” pots that want to go home with you. At $14 each they might sound pricey, but these are basically big enough to be a “1 gallon” plant and they look GREAT. Actually, we might have a few 1 gallons ($16) about ready to sell by now too. In any case, this plant is a great investment at any size! More details on our web site here.

So what else is new? Grevillea ‘Poorinda Leane’ is an excellent all-around hardy and tough shrub with nice foliage and apricot flowers. In the Australian plants department, our purple leaf form of Leptospermum lanigerum is back (little pots and a few 2 gallons), and we also have (not yet listed on the web site) a limited selection of hardy Eucalyptus including the world’s tallest non-coniferous tree, Eucalyptus regnans. Our Callistemon (bottlebrush) selection remains excellent, and includes the red-flowered ‘Woodlander’s Hardy’ and our own Callistemon sp. aff. sieberi that gets loaded with cream flowers in early summer. And we have a really cute, HARDY selection of C. viridiflorus blooming NOW in little pots.

Our succulent selection continues to improve. We now offer some nice 1 gallons of Agave montana, Yucca schottii, and as usual the native cacti Opuntia fragilis and O. columbiana. We also have a number of interesting 4” succulents that haven’t yet all made it onto the web site, such as Sedum palmeri (hardy form), S. praealtum, S. kimnachii, Graptopetalum paraguayense and the exquisite Crassula setulosa. Finally, an extensive selection of hardy ice plants is coming along; some of them are a little on the small side but we promise they are too cute to resist.

The selection of Chilean plants, New Zealand plants, and conifers remains excellent; and anyone wanting about 50 1 gallon Azara microphylla can take them all for just $300. Now there’s a steal of a deal. 2 gallon Arizona cypresses – and under-appreciated drought tolerant tree for the Northwest – are looking good. And this is your chance to get a little Araucaria angustifolia for the bargain price of $24. (Hey, YuccaDo was charging $30 not long ago.) This super-rare relative of the iconic monkey puzzle tree has comparatively bright green, lax needles and grows FAST. Some of you will have seen photos of the one I planted in Olympia in 1998 that is now approaching 30′ tall. You know you have room for another 100′ tree in your yard, and they won’t last long, so get one while you can!

If you can’t make it to the open house, our next regional plant sale appearance that we know of will be in Kingston at Heronswood on July 12th. In fact that remains true even if you do make it. How about that!

We want to thank all our customers who have done business with us at these plant sales, and via mail-order, and here on-site. Fun Fact: Did you know that we charge the same prices for our plants wherever we sell them? Hey, we are all about fairness around here.

Hoping to see you around,
Ian & Co.
The Desert Northwest
PO Box 3475
Sequim, WA 98382
mail@desertnorthwest.com
http://www.desertnorthwest.com

img_7482

A very happy Araucaria angustifolia in Olympia, August 2003. OK, so this isn’t the best picture, but there’s a Eucalyptus neglecta right behind it that I don’t want to cut down just yet (and anyway, the Araucaria grows taller, just not as fast).

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers