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Friday, January 28, 2011

Shooting Stars

Dodecatheon poeticum
A pollinator's view

Dodecatheons or Shooting Stars are a lovely group of spring flowering perennials that belong to the Primula family.  This genus is found throughout North America from Mexico to the Arctic region where plants are generally found in seasonally moist mountains meadows and grasslands.  The botanical name Dodecatheon refers to the 12 gods who were thought to protect Primulas in ancient times.  The common name, Shooting Star, describes their distinctive reflexed petals and pointed styles.
Dodecatheon 'Spring Dawn'
‘Spring Dawn’ Shooting Star is our seed grown selection with abundant pale pink flowers to 12” above a cluster of mid-green leaves.  It flowers for many weeks in spring before going dormant in summer. 

Dodecatheon pulchellum

Dodecatheon jeffreyi
Shooting Stars should be kept moist while in active growth and most species tolerate drier conditions in dormancy.  They are best grown in cool sun to light shade and are at home in a woodland, alpine or rock garden where plants increase over time. Although they are not heat lovers, Dodecatheons are quite cold hardy to -20 degrees or more.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The 2011 Season Begins

It may not seem like it, but we have turned the corner toward Spring and days are beginning to lengthen.  Adding just  two or three minutes of precious light to each day will make a big difference within a few short weeks.  I don't know about you, but it gives me a growing sense of optimism just thinking about it.
The Wild Ginger Farm Skyline in Winter

Plants as well as people respond to day length and we have already started to see some plants begin their growth pushes with swelling buds and new root development.  Here at the nursery, a few exceptional plants like the alpine cushion Saxifrage, Saxifraga suendermannii, Cyclamen coum and highly fragrant Sweet Box, Sarcococca confusa, are already flowering!
Saxifraga 'Suendermannii'

Mugo Pine 'Short Needle' in a trough
We are excited about the coming 2011 season as we continue to expand our offerings of alpine, rock garden and woodland plants.  One interesting group is our growing selection of dwarf and miniature trees.  Two that fall into the miniature category are Mugo Pine, Pinus mugo 'Short Needle' and the Norway Spruce, Picea abies 'Thumbelina', both selections with the teeniest needles imaginable and extremely slow growth habits that make them perfect for bonsai, troughs and small scale gardens.

We are growing more Western native plants than ever.  In addition to our large selection of species Penstemons and Lewisias, we've expanded our group of Pacific Coast Hybrid Irises.  I'll be writing more about those beauties later this Spring.  They are so much fun that we plan to have a class about them when they are in full bloom.  Speaking of classes, we had excellent feedback last summer and plan a series of classes on a variety of topics during the coming season.  We'll post the schedule on our Homepage.

Not surprisingly, we've already gotten orders for Spring delivery of Himalayan Blue Poppies, including the rarely offered Meconopsis 'Lingholm'.  Luckily, we have a good supply.  As Spring approaches, I'll be writing about more rare and interesting plants as we add them to our list.  Keep an eye on our blog for all the details.  And keep an eye on the sky for Spring!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New & Improved Mail Order Catalog

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new and improved 2011 Mail Order Catalog.  It is the culmination of many weeks of work and we hope it will make online plant purchases easier than ever. 

Our main objective in the makeover was to separate the large and cumbersome reference area of the website from the storefront.  Visitors interested in buying plants can now go straight to the store, view available plants and add them to their shopping carts. 

A great new feature is the ability to sort plants based on tags.  Are you looking for drought tolerant plants?  Just click on the phrase “Drought Tolerant” in the sidebar or at the top of a plant detail page and – voila! – you will see a listing of all currently available plants that are drought tolerant.  So far we’ve added a total of 18 tags to allow customers to really dig in and find what they are looking for.  Of course you can also look at the complete alphabetical plant list.

The mail order catalog will be updated throughout the season as additional plants become available and we encourage visitors to check back often to see the latest offerings.

The reference side of the website will continue to be available to everyone who wants to research plants or take a look at our extensive how-to and garden inspiration pages.  And I mean everyone – our Build a Rock Garden page has had over 100,000 visitors from 180 countries in the past 18 months alone!

And just a reminder to nursery visitors: the mail order catalog is only a partial list of plants available for sale at the nursery.  Many plants are too large to ship during the growing season.

Wishing A Happy New Year to All!