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Monday, September 24, 2012

Cascade Nursery Trail - Fall Plant Sales & Seminars

The Cascade Nursery Trail is sponsoring two “Fall is the Perfect Time to Plant” plant sales and seminars.  The first event will be held on Saturday, September 29th and is hosted by Carol and Dale at Out in the Garden Nursery in Molalla.  The Saturday, October 13th event will be hosted by Patti and George at Garden Thyme Nursery in Silverton.  Wild Ginger Farm will be participating in both events.

Plan on staying a while. In addition to offering many beautiful plants for sale, each nursery will share five of their favorite plants.  In a covered area, refreshments will be served and there will be seminars on a variety of topics throughout the day.  For all the details, visit and click on the Events tab. We hope you will join us, rain or shine!  

Out In The Garden Nursery and gardens

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pacific Horticulture Magazine

The Oregon specialty nursery community was highlighted in the Summer 2012 issue of Pacific Horticulture Magazine.  Wild Ginger Farm, along with our friends at Dancing Oaks Nursery and Joy Creek Nursery, were featured in an article entitled “Nurturing Plants & Gardeners:  Three specialty nurseries in Oregon offer fine plants, knowledgeable help, and inspirational gardens”.    You can read the online version at

Meanwhile, we are bracing for our first heatwave of the season.  Those of you who live in the Eastern half of the nation will not feel any sympathy for us since you have endured sweltering temperatures all summer.    In the Pacific Northwest, our temperatures have been so mild that some of us have wondered if we would miss summer entirely.   We now have our answer! 

Now, off to watering…  (Enjoy a few recent photos around the nursery.)

Tigridia pavonia - Yes, they are over the top but still fabulous

Billardiera longiflora, the fruit give this Chilean vine its common name of Blueberry Vine.

Clivia miniata can be grown outside in summer and is a great, easy care houseplant in winter

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Road Trip

A recent trip to the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon was a great reminder of the reasons we grow native plants and create naturalistic gardens in which to showcase them. Viewing plants in nature, whether on rocky slopes, in meadows, woodlands or in alpine settings, is the perfect inspiration for growing them at home.  The Siskiyous are a botanically rich and diverse region and I was able to see plants growing in a wide range of native habitats.

When traveling in the Siskiyous, you learn to expect the unexpected.  Our namesake plant, wild ginger, is generally a woodland plant.  Here, Asarum marmoratum also grows on open rocky talus slopes with its roots buried deep in the cool moist soils below.

Rock outcroppings become hanging gardens for Sedum spathulifolium and other native Sedum species.

Some attractive plants thrive along the roadways and we viewed many Penstemon species, masses of Iris innominata and small perennials like Phlox adsurgens.

Water is a limited resource in Western mountains and plants develop strategies for coping with dry summers.  Geophytes such as Calochortus, Triteleia and Lilium flower in moist early season soils and go completely dormant as soils dry.

Other plants such as Aquilegia formosa and Heuchera micrantha grow near permanently moist areas in and around seeps, springs and streams.

I was particularly excited to spot the illusive Lilium bolanderi during this trip.

One of the most unique habitats in this region is the serpentine bogs where the insectivorous Cobra Lily Darlingtonia californica grows in profusion along with other serpentine tolerant plants such as the Epipactus grandiflora and Lilium pardalinum ssp vollmeri.

Viewing these unique plants was one of the highlights of my trip and I am already making plans to build a new bog garden at the nursery!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Around The Garden

Spring is such a delightful time of year, I thought I would share a few photos taken around our garden in recent days.

We grow a dwarf form of the non-climbing Clematis integrifolia.  This is an easy to grow and extremely cold hardy perennial with short wiry stems and pretty steel blue flowers.  It adapts well to a variety of garden conditions.

Alyssum stribrnyi grows happily in the west facing crevice in our tufa rock garden.  It is another cold hardy perennial and is also heat and drought tolerant.

The cushion pinks are tough and long-lived workhorses in the rock garden.  They form low evergreen cushions with flower displays in spring.  This Dianthus subacaulis has formed a cushion almost three feet across.

Cardiocrinum giganteum is called the giant lily and it is easy to see why.  After several years in the garden, this specimen has decided to flower and is now over nine feet tall and still growing.    I am having to trim up the weeping cherry tree to allow the lily to reach toward the sky!  We have a limited number of non-flowering bulbs available at the nursery.

Himalayan Blue Poppies, Meconopsis betonicifolia, bloom happily in our woodland garden.  Our cool spring weather has prolonged their flowering period.  For our mail order customers, we ship Blue Poppies only in early spring and again in the fall.  They are available at the nursery all year for locals. 

Wild Ginger Farm nursery is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pacific Coast Iris

This is a great time to visit the nursery if you are interested in Pacific Coast Irises.  Most of the nursery plants are in flower and the irises in the gardens are also coming into bloom.

Pacific Coast Irises (PCI) are a group of 11 species of beardless irises that occur only in states along the West Coast of the U.S. from Southern Washington southward through Oregon and into Central California.  PCI species and naturally occurring hybrids typically have narrow petals or falls, some with intricate vein patterns, and a prominent patch to attract insects.  They occur in a wide range of colors including white, yellow, blue, and all shades of purple.  

Pacific Coast Irises are so closely related that they hybridize freely with one another to produce new and interesting results. This occurs in nature when they grow in close proximity to one another and it is often difficult to accurately identify plants found in the wild. 

Iris hybridizers have developed complex PCI hybrids and the plants sold in nurseries are often many generations removed from wild plants.  The result of these hybridizing efforts can be seen in an seemingly infinite array of colors, patterns, sizes and forms.  We grow our own PCI hybrids at Wild Ginger Farm and many of the plants we offer are our own hybrids. 

Pacific Coast Irises grow best in Western climates with winter rainfall and low summer rainfall and low humidity.   They are difficult to grow in areas east of the Rockies that have high summer humidity.   PCI are best grown in sun to part shade in well-drained soil with low summer water.  Their drought tolerance makes them welcome and colorful additions to drier areas of sunny and open woodland gardens.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Weather Teeter Totter

While the eastern half of the nation enjoys warm temperatures and an early gardening season, Western Oregon is in the throes of record-breaking winter-like conditions.  Truls was out in the nursery for many hours overnight clearing wet and heavy snow off our hoop houses.  Meanwhile I huddled inside with our lazy Border Collies and my sore back.  The weather is improving this morning and I grabbed my camera to survey the results.  Truls’ hard work paid off and we survived another snowstorm without major damage to any structures or nursery plants.

The major casualty in the garden is the beautiful Japanese Maple near our deck.  Elsewhere the snow load has broken a few branches here and there.  

Garden plants are snug and protected beneath the layer of snow as seen here in the rock garden.

I am impressed that the temporary early season structure protecting the spring bulbs appears intact.  It was never meant for snow.  The orange seed pots on the near table are enjoying an extra measure of cold stratification.  We are always pleased to see a flush of germination in some pots after a storm.

The open air ramada has once again provided great protection to the cold hardy saxifrages.

Look closely and you can see how the alpine frame with its steeply pitched cover sheds snow with just the force of gravity.  It never needs attention during a snowstorm.

 Tour over, Lucy leads us home.  Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Special Events This Week

The 2012 Season is getting off to a fast start this week with three big events on our calendar.

On Friday, March 9th Wild Ginger Farm will be one of the featured nurseries at Plant Nerd Night.  This much anticipated annual event is hosted by Mike Darcy and is attended by a large and enthusiastic audience.  The event includes a plant sale and short slide show by each nursery. 

Pacific Coast Iris Hybrid 'Dorothea's Ruby'
Emma was on Mike’s radio show last Saturday talking about our plant special, Pacific Coast Iris Hybrid ‘Dorothea’s Ruby’ and Mike asked that Emma bring a selection of her PCI hybrids as well as named cultivars to the sale.  Emma’s presentation will include photos of several of our own plant introductions and a mention of our propagation efforts, including a segment on the Pacific Coast Irises.

Tulipa 'Red Riding Hood'

Meanwhile, Truls is heading to Everett for the North American Rock Garden Society Western Study Weekend where he will be a featured speaker.   The topic for the weekend is ‘Roadside Botanizing East of the Cascades’.  On Saturday morning, Truls will make a presentation entitled 'Blue Skies Crying in the Rain: Eastside Plants in Westside Gardens'.  He will focus on growing this challenging group of plants and describe some of the special considerations and methods we have found work best.

Lewisia glandulosa

Truls is also a vendor at the NARGS event and we have put together a nice selection of alpine and Western native plants to offer for sale.  Plants will be available for purchase by attendees throughout the meeting and also by the general public on Saturday from 12:30 to 5 pm.  The event is being held at the Holiday Inn in downtown Everett.

Primula marginata 'Kesselring's Variety'

Finally, Saturday is opening day at the nursery.  We have a number of alpine plants that are in full glory including the beautiful Primula marginata cultivars and of course the cushion Saxifrages.  This is a great time to visit for those who want to expand their selections of early spring flowering plants such as many choice alpine plants, spring flowering bulbs, as well as woodland plants such as Erythronium, Trillium and Dodecatheon. 

Erythronium 'Pagoda'
Wild Ginger Farm will be open Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm this season.   Check our website for details about our Open Hours and Calendar of Events including our participation in a number of regional plant sales.  We hope to see you soon!