What We Grow and Why
Our nursery grew up in a golden age of horticulture. For several decades, plants and gardens grew steadily in popularity. Plant hunters brought back rare species from around the world as plant breeders introduced thousands of new varieties to adoring audiences. From the back-to-the-earth hippies and the doyens of stylish magazines, the world discovered the joy, beauty and allure of plants and seemed to become more excited about gardening with each passing year.
As the new century began, the horticultural pot was boiling over, and someone turned down the heat. The long climb of horticultural sales leveled off, and then began to decline. Plants that once attracted crowds and high prices now sit barely noticed on nursery shelves.
There must be several reasons for this decline. Younger people are often too busy or attracted to other pursuits to be that interested in plants; the older customers who once thronged to nurseries and plant sales are retired to condos or simply gone, and those still gardening have no more room; those who dabbled in gardening only because it was ‘in’ are out. Add to these the bad economy and the sad trend begins to make some sense.
Nurseries like ours exist because those who run them are crazy about plants. No downturn is going to change that. Few plant lovers ever lose interest. Plants still excite millions of people, young and old. Connecting with these people and showing them new plants keeps us going.
Though we expect to enlarge our selection of edibles- very popular now- we continue to grow a wide range of plants from several, partly overlapping groups:
-Drought hardy plants
-Rare and unusual trees, shrubs and perennials
We are always searching for not only the unusual but the strongest and best among them. We have sources for hardier forms of frost-tender plants particularly. Recent freezes, the coldest in 20 years, have provided some lessons on hardiness. Both the disappointments and the pleasant surprises will be reflected in what we grow.
Here on Vashon Island, about 20 minutes southwest of Seattle by ferry, we enjoy a Mediterranean climate on the border of Zones 8 and 9. Winters are mild and rainy, summers are cool and dry, and snow, hard freezes and heat waves are relatively rare.
Despite our reputation for rain, summer drought is the critical feature of the gardening year here. Only 6 of our 35 inches of rain falls from May through September, and less than an inch each in July and August. More than a month can pass without a drop.
So, plants that can not only take our coldest temperatures but thrive through our dry summers, are high on our list. We draw these plants from our own region as well as California, Mexico, the Mediterranean, Australia, New Zealand and Chile.
As far as the rare and unusual, they come from everywhere. From that new find from South Africa to an overlooked Midwest native, all are welcome here. Many of our own natives fit this category.
Northwest natives are our primary specialty and we try to keep a good stock of these. Our definition of the Northwest is wide, extending from northern California to Alaska and east to the Rockies. This includes an amazing variety of climates and habitats, from coastal rain forests to deserts.