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
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!
Small Band Pot Our collection from Leigongshan in Guizhou of this fine Mountain Ash which is in the Aria section with its simple entire leaves. Small trees in the wild to perhaps 20' with clusters of white flowers backed by the good foliage. The fruit looks like miniature asian pears and complements the russet brown fall color.
Large Band Pot A bright flare of rich red flowers makes this is an excellent garden plant which puts on a good show and was named for a woman of no small means and substance. To bestow such a namesake upon a plant of anything less than the first rank would be folly in more ways than a simple flatlander such as myself could conjure so that alone should speak to its merits. The spawn of breeding Crocosmia xcrocsmiiflora x 'Lucifer' in the late 1980's by A.J. Hogan in Cornwall resulted in some excellent seedlings. This was the cream of that crop and was named in 1993 and bears little resemblance to 'Lucifer'. A robust plant to 3' tall or so.
Quart Pot Pendant clusters of yellow bells makes this a refined and classy plant for the shade garden. Makes nice clumps and effortlessly combines with so many shade-loving plants. This Korean and Japanese native is very hardy and a good doer increasingly pleasantly fast. Some Disporum are runners but this stays obediently where you plant it. It is one of the few yellow-flowered species in the genus and for us has proven to be one of the easiest in the garden.
Medium Band Pot A collection from Guangxi of this fairly tender but interesting Araliad. Big bipinnately compound leaves are not exempt from the sharp spines which clad the stems. Open constellation of pale white umbels of small flowers give way to glossy black fruit. This was nine feet tall as a single stemmed plant growing in moist shade,
Quart Pot Lovely pink-flowered form of this very architectural species of Solomon's Seal which is native to N India and China. The leaves are arranged like wagon wheel spokes in tiers up the stems with the muted pinkish bell flowers snugged into the leaf axils followed by attractive reddish fruit clusters in late summer and early fall. These continue to improve in stature year after year until at maturity they are an inspiring piece of foliar architecture with dusky dark colored new growth like some elegant bamboo which it continues to resemble when it tops out at 6'-7' in height. Pretty much an awesome Polygonatum and quite a departure from the more familiar Solomon's Seals. Quite sun tolerant for us at least and ideal in part sun or bright shade.
Quart Pot This is a great evergreen textural shrub from the southern hemisphere which is great in milder gardens in our area. This took a beating (along with everything else) in the 09 winter but thought to siting in a sunny spot with good drainage, not too wet and not overly fertile soil will increase its hardiness. Clusters of small creamy daisies on this woody Aster family member is pure frosting on the cake of shrubby ornament.
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.