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Welcome to Far Reaches Farm

A Rare Plant Specialty Nursery in Port Townsend Washington

Sue Milliken & Kelly Dodson, proprietors


What's New at The Farm - July 15 2014

We are going through reentry after an amazing week looking at plants in Colorado with our friend Dan Post. The trip was orchestrated by our friend and Master Plant Puppeteer, Panayoti Kelaidis who is Senior Curator and Director of Outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens. Panayoti is a plant fiend who has never met a plant in which he couldn't find some meritorious quality to celebrate. Fortunately, that same approach is applied to people and Read more....

The Skinny on Far Reaches Farm

Welcome to our online store and hope you find many of the rare plants offered as fun as we do. We’ve been collecting, growing and learning about plants all our lives and the excitement has simply grown with time and we look forward to sharing our phytomaniacal obsession with you. There are worse things to be afflicted with than gardening. Take a moment and read some of the categories to your left on this page like "About Our Plants" for example so you know what to expect.

We have many more plants available here at the nursery that are not listed on our online store. Many are too large or don't ship easily or are in small quantities or we just haven't managed to get them up on the website. If we just didn't need to sleep, we could get more done. The nursery is not open all the time so check our hours and open days.

We propagate and grow most of our plants ourselves which allows us to grow many more impractical species than we should. Many times people shy away from a rare plant thinking it is hard to grow, but more often, it is difficulty of propagation or simply not fitting into a standard nursery routine that makes a plant rare in commerce. Of course, not all of our plants are uncommon - that would be leaving out way too many good ones such as some of our favorite herbaceous genera like Trillium, Meconopsis, Podophyllum, Paeonia, Paris, Heloniopsis, Crocosmia and then the woody genera like Sorbus, Styrax, Magnolia, Decaisnea, Hydrangea and the like.

You can start shopping now using the categories on the left, or read our Ordering Instructions first.

We will be adding new plants frequently so do check back.

We continue to enjoy the response from our customers - thank you! Here are a few of the comments we have received:

Got my order(s) today. My plants arrived beautifully packed, healthy, and surprisingly large. Thank you Far Reaches Farm!” – B. H. North Carolina

“I received my plants this morning and what fine ones they were! Thank you, too, for the bonus Iris. I will certainly sing your praises among the plant groups I belong to and, rest assured, I will be ordering from you again.” – RH – Colorado

Thank you, thank you for your beautifully wrapped plants that made their way to Montana bursting with vibrance and energy!” – LS – Montana

This is my second order with you. Your plants in my first order were large, healthy and very well packed. I greatly appreciate doing business with you, and look forward to more in the future. I understand you recently started offering plants online mail order, it is great to have you as a resource for these beautiful and rare plants. Keep up the great work, and know that you have a very pleased and happy customer.” AO - Florida

“I received my plant order yesterday. I just want to say I am so excited by the wonderful condition of the plants and the excellent shipping conditions you provided! You did a wonderful job of packing. The plants are in beautiful condition and are so healthy. I also want to thank you for the bonus plant! I didn’t expect that so it was a wonderful surprise. I will certainly recommend your mail order services.” KD -- Washington

“you have sent me the finest mail-order plant material I have ever received. Am spreading the word among all the Connecticut gardeners I know.” RK - Connecticut

More customer comments...


Crocosmia 'Vulcan'
Crocosmia 'Vulcan'
Price: $16.00

Large Band Pot
This is a fine plant and another of the Bressingham Gardens introductions. Good ripe tomato red flowers arrayed nicely on the stem and held out to maximize viewing. Very accommodating those Brits. The flowers are nicely ranked with some overlap on each side which creates a showy floral synergistic effect. This is a compact grower to just a couple feet tall and very useful where you need a shorter plant that can still pack a punch. No doubt a sister seedling to 'Bressingham Blaze' from the same cross of C. masoniorum x C. paniculata as both were introduced in 1970.
Disporum longistylum 'Night Heron'
Disporum longistylum 'Night Heron'
Price: $12.00

4" Pots
Excellent selection from the former Heronswood nursery of this robust woodlander noted for the dark hued stems especially in the new growth. This is an exuberant grower sending up big dark chocolate asparagus spears of new growth in late spring which branch out as they get taller bearing small creamy-green bells followed by glistening small black fruit. The young leaves carry some of coloring of the new growth and the whole plant retains this color better if grown in sun in our mild sun climate. In our shade garden, the foliage matures to a very pleasing dark olive-green and seems like some impressive cousin to bamboo as it can each 5'-6' tall. We always mulch ours in winter as we don't want to freeze out the crown and the new growth can start early here in the PNW so this mulch protects it from getting frosted. An easy and stunning plant. This was and still is offered as a selection of Disporum cantoniense but we thank Bleddyn Wynn-Jones for correctly identifying this as to species.
Dahlia imperialis
Dahlia imperialis
Price: $12.00

Large Band Pot
Tree Dahlia. This gets 20+ feet tall. I repeat, 20+ feet tall. With stalks as thick as your arm, this gives the effect of a large clump of Bamboo but no, it's a Dahlia. One would imagine the flowers to be the size of trash can lids but they normal 5" lavender pink blossoms. Like all Dahlias, these are excellent cut if you have a tall enough vase and a cathedral ceiling. This needs a long season to bloom so here in our area they need to be frost-free well into November. Uptown Port Townsend it blooms. Seattle it blooms. Far Reaches Farm it frosts the buds off. I swear we can almost see the one in Uptown flowering less then 2 miles away as we stand alongside our frost-blackened dashed hope. Still, we had a lot of conversational mileage out of it over the summer. In coastal northern California, this will flower most of the winter. We mulch ours deeply each fall in case of a bad winter. Our friend Ricky in Seattle always ask me how big did mine get? (It's a guy thing - I've accepted it.) A couple years ago he said his was 24 feet three and a quarter inches. You can tell it is serious business when the fractions of inches count on a Dahlia over two stories tall. (By the way, Ricky's was bigger - I still struggle with it)
Sauromatum venosum
Sauromatum venosum
Price: $8.00

Quart Pot
This beguiling stinker could be called Beauty and the Beast. If it was a dead beast. The fascinating flower appears before the leaves with the flower bud unzipping in minutes and it then heats up a couple degrees above the ambient air temperature and wafts quite an aroma to lure the carrion flies. This doesn't last very long as the flies quickly pollinate the flower and the smell switch gets flipped off. Tropical leaves and the best petiole or leaf stem around being beautifully mottled in prominent rusty maroon spots.. Moist and good drainage and best mulched over winter as the bulbs are typically not very deep. A good increaser by offsets, this does fine in our shade garden and would be just as happy in the sun. In cold zones, the bulbs can be lifted and stored inside and will actually bloom with the bulb just sitting in your living room although it begs the question "Why?". These bulbs likely won't bloom this year but you'll get great foliage.
Polygonatum sp MD97316
Polygonatum sp. ex MD97316
Price: $12.00

Large Band Pot
Second generation plants from our collection of this Solomon's Seal from the Cangshan in Yunnan. This has narrow leaflets arrayed in tiers with small bell-shaped pale white flowers overlaid in a dusky wash and which are clustered near the leaf bases which later become red-orange fruit bunched like small grapes. This keys to P. kingianum in the Flora of China but likes the rich color and flower size of classic kingianum. Lots of research be done on this genus so we'll get a name on this before too long. Surprisingly sun tolerant given enough water. In our lath house shade garden which is fairly bright, this has become quite impressive in the last few years making a bamboo-like clump of herbaceous stems to 7'-8' which makes us very happy.
Gladiolus papilio
Gladiolus papilio
Price: $9.00

4" Pot
A most improbable looking Glad but one you will be glad to grow. Pun intended. This South African species never fails to garner attention when it is in flower and is perfectly hardy in the ground here. The flowers are somewhat hooded and are white brushed with purple on the outside and a yellow splash outlined in maroon inside. In nursery parlance, this is a good grower and fast increaser which translates to "plant it where you want a lot of it" as this makes a staggering number of new bulbs each year. This has taken the "Go forth and multiply" thing to a whole new level. So forewarned is forearmed and all that. It is a cool plant and a lot of gardens have a spot that can be devoted to an eternal Gladiolus papilio monoculture.
Primula sieboldii 'Uchu'
Primula sieboldii 'Uchu'
Price: $9.00

Medium Band Pot
Bold white flowers with broadly rounded petals on this Japanese selection of the species. In Japan in the wild, this primrose is found on grassy edges and mixed with other plants which provide a dappled light. It is also more adapted than most Primula to a bit of summer dry if need be. There is a plant society in Japan devoted solely to this one species and all of its cultivars - truly a descent into a maelstrom to contemplate the infinite variety and permutations that they have with this one Primula species. Love it when something gets taken to the limit.
Ophiopogon sp.
Ophiopogon sp.
Price: $10.00

4" Pots
Our collection from 1997 in Yunnan, China of this evergreen member of the Convallariaceae. We collected seed of this on a moist rocky yet mossy partly shaded steep slope where it grew under the tree peony, Paeonia delavayi. You would think by now we would have sussed out the species but funny how owning a nursery leaves not nearly enough time for botanical ferreting. We'll work on it and have an answer summer of 2012. Nothing like a deadline. This has small white flowers followed by glossy blue-black fruit like clustered gleaming exotic pearls. This has been a stalwart plant in our shade garden asking little and requiring less. This is not a creeper but a distinct and defined clumper with long fine-bladed green grassy leaves making a dense mop of foliage to 18" tall. These are divsions from the original collections.