Check out the article on Far Reaches By Dan Hinkley in the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Horticulture. It is always good to hear an opinion on the quality of the plants from someone not affiliated with the nursery.
Here are a few words about our plants from us. We propagate ourselves the majority of the plants we sell. Exceptions would be patented plants (PP or PPAF) or plants with plant breeder rights (PBR) for which propagation is prohibited. Other exceptions is sometimes we see some great plants we just have to have so we buy them and grow them on and eventually they become part of the propagation stream.
We are not fans of the huge wholesale plant factories and tissue culture labs who buy a $10 plant from a small nursery and then tissue culture it or produce it by the hundreds of thousands without offering royalty compensation to that nursery. Often they purchase these plants for the genetics to use in breeding programs which can literally be the impetus for millions of plants produced. Royalty compensation is typical when a big nursery offers to introduce a plant but somehow they don't feel obliged to extend that offer when simply purchasing a plant to mass-produce or to use in breeding. We think the ethics of this is questionable and we reserve the right to not fill orders from such businesses. It is exploitative of the little guy who has expended much time, money and effort in procuring, producing and introducing these plants and these purchases and practices by the big guys feels a lot like poaching. If such businesses want a plant, show some honor and offer a compensation agreement. Such agreements don't hurt the bottom line, they foster good will and would generate a lot more introductions from small growers if they knew their interests were going to be protected. We would be more than happy to work with a large scale and honorable grower.
A lot of perennials and bulbs are best divided and potted in fall and winter and won't start making new roots until new growth starts later in spring. This means that some of these plants you receive in spring won't have much for roots because this is just what they do. These same plants will be nicely rooted out later in spring and looking great.
Our plants are grown in a variety of pots as one size doesn't fit all. Gallon, quarts, band pots from small, medium, large to tall, and 4" pots. We'll get physical dimensions and liquid volumes for these pots up on the page pretty soon.
One of the practices here at the nursery that we are quite proud of is that we use nothing toxic in producing our plants. For insect and disease control we use various organic or biological methods. For weeds we rely on a hazel nut shell mulch in our containers plus hand weeding. We do use inorganic fertilizer in our potting soil but manage the levels so as to minimize nutrient leaching. Our potting soil is our own custom mix that contains no peat moss. All of this is more expensive and we do have the occasional aphid so why do we do it?
We have a large wetland on the property which is home to zillions of frogs, salamanders and newts as well as ducks, herons, Red-winged and Brewer's blackbirds, Virginia Rails and Soras, another species of Rail. We didn't want any chemicals from the nursery to find their way to this wetland so we just don't use them.
The greenhouses house not only plants but lots of frogs and salamanders. The blackbirds and juncos nest in the potted plants (last year we had 3 Brewer's nesting in plants on our sales tables which made it quite interesting as well as the Kildeer nest in the gravel right in the middle of everything.) in the greenhouses and hummingbirds use the greenhouses all year. When it is cold or snowy, the Anna's hummingbirds which overwinter here, like to spend the night in the greenhouse with the most flowers.
The bird population here has increased a lot since we started the nursery and we need look no further than careful stewardship for the reason. We've also improved habitat with our display gardens as well as the nursery itself and a number of bee species enjoy the diversity of flowers. There is a staggering amount of pesticides, growth regulators and chemicals used by commercial nurseries which they apply to their plants and the potting soil just to produce a uniform crop and we don't want to be part of that mind-set. Not only do we worry about the critters around us but we're handling the plants every day.
So if you happen to get a few aphids on a plant from us, just rub them off knowing your plant was grown with concern for things more important than profit.