A Rare Plant Specialty Nurseryin Port Townsend Washington
Sue Milliken & Kelly Dodson, proprietors
What's New at The Farm - December 11 2013
We had 2 dog nights last week from Dec 2-8 with temps down into the teens every night with a sadistic, soul-crushing plunge to 10F on the evening of the 8th which is lowest since we have been here. We don't often experience cold of this duration or intensity without snow cover and if we had more than our 2 dogs Canela and Callie, we would have had them all on the bed! We know a lot of you would regard this spate of cold weather as a welcome warming trend but for us in the mild maritime Northwest, this might well be remembered as the Great Winnowing, the reminder that we do not live in the Bay Area despite those 5-10 year stretches where we can grow those plants, but perhaps, this will be recorded as the year we could have done better. The thing is, we have access to all kinds of information on these plants in our garden and with a little effort, we can learn and intuit their needs and try to grow them or protect them in ways so that they can weather these Great Leveling weather events. Microclimates, adequate nutrition, mulching, wind protection, proper hydration, accumulated heat units if needed, drainage, and if all else fails, go have dinner at friends whose wine budget far exceeds your own. (Thanks Randy!) The upside is that we all worked our tails off here to mulch and protect and move plants inside the greenhouses and we had some reasonable cold weather in the weeks prior to harden plants off so once you do all you can do then you just have to take your lumps. Crazy thing is, that the same plants damaged in this cold won't be hurt in similar cold sometime down the line. That is when you need to start really looking at the variables and this is what is fun - what can I do to make this plant work where convention says it shouldn't? Time and time again we are surprised - good and bad - by what dies and what thrives in cold events. Why did the bloodroot from Minnesota die but the Aussie Grevillea live? It's a wonder we have any hair left but it is this very dynamic and unpredictable nature of our obsession which keeps us fully engaged and we really wouldn't have it any other way. We'll be assessing cold effects well into June and won't be counting our chickens until July but right now we are cautiously optimistic. And as for affecting your purchases - no worries - we brought nearly all of the online plants inside so we're good to go thanks to rather ghastly propane bills! As with most cold events we experience, this won't have killed enough plants - we still have more than enough to be featured on the Hoarding Channel.
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!
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:
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
Quart Pot Golden Valerian. I don't the origin of the species name but I do know there is no phu like a gold phu. I love this plant. I can't help it - I'm a phu for love. Ok, I'll quit phuling around. Brilliant exhilarating spring gold foliage greening up in summer. Our stock bed of this is like a beacon of captured sunlight on a gray early spring day and has helped to eliminate our seasonal need for serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Stems to 4' with tiny white and visually insignificant but very fragrant flowers.
Quart Pot Merry Bells. One of our favorite of the Midwest and Eastern woodland wildflowers. Rich gold pendant flowers dangling like earrings on a woman of some serious substance. Combines beautifully with upper crust plants such as Cardiocrinums and Arisaemas yet hangs comfortably with box store Hostas. These are divisions from our stock plants.
Large Band Pot Rosebud Salvia. One big Salvia that always surprises me how hardy it is. Our big clump came through 14F last winter shooting up lots of new shoots this spring but then Sue is a manic mulcher in the Fall. Large soft leaves and terminal flowers of a vivid cerise rose arising from a large "rosebud" in late summer on stems 4'-6' tall.
4" Band Pot Nepal Lily. One of our favorite Lilies and one we have had the pleasure of seeing in the wild in Arunachal Pradesh near eastern Bhutan where it was growing in low scrub on a sunny hillside. This is not from that trip but is a particularly good form with very large pendant yellow-green flowers with a stunning chocolate maroon throat. Really pretty amazing. One thing that we especially enjoy is that it creeps about via underground rhizomes setting new bulbs along the way. It is not unusual for it to pop up 18" away from where you planted it. This fecund wanderlust does make for an impressive display in a few years. Good drainage in the winter and mulch. Our planting in our raised shade garden bed had 80 flowers last year and was a sight. These bulbs should flower but some may wait until next year.
Small Band Pot A treasure for the rock garden or trough, this jewel of a species is native to Europe growing in crevices on rock cliffs. It likes good drainage but not too dry so add some fine gravel or sand to your planting mix. We've found it to be quite easy growing it in full sun and it often reblooms later in the year. It has actually been one of our most care-free of all of our Primulas. Unlike a lot of true alpines, this seems to tolerate our regular overhead watering in the nursery.
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.
4" Pot Pink Lily of the Valley. Charming pink form of an old fashioned standby which is a nice spreader for the shade garden and quite drought tolerant when established. Lovely in miniature bouquets where its sweet elusive scent teases the senses.
Small Band Pot Exceptional Mountain Ash form our collection on the summit of Leigongshan in Guizhou where this was a mult-trunked small tree/large shrub to 10' wih nice clusters of white berries. This species is being grown in the UK but they have yet to put a name to it. From the highest point in its range. Freakin' Cool!