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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Signs of Spring

Iris tenax

 Last week I saw the first Oregon iris, Iris tenax, flowering in the woods near our house.  This welcome sight follows several weeks of enjoying early flowering wildflowers like the stately Trillium ovatum, their snow white flowers already deepening to a dark rose, along with patches of yellow trailing violet, Viola sempervirens, mixed with blue Spring Queen, Synthyris reniformis.   Bright red salmonberry flowers, Rubus spectabilis, entice hummingbirds into the forest openings to sample nectar from flowers illuminated in bright lit streamside stands.  Bird songs fill the air.  All sure signs of spring that make a nature lover like myself feel happy and content!

Lewisia table
There is so much going on in the nursery and in the gardens, too.   The recent warm weather has created an explosion of color on the Lewisia tables with one of our most colorful spring displays ever.  For those who enjoy picking out Lewisia in bloom, there is no better time to make selections.
Primula sieboldii
Several years ago we grew a group of Primula sieboldii from seed and have been making selections and growing these colorful primroses ever since.  This group deserves its own blog, but suffice it to say that it is another color hotspot in the nursery and also in the garden where they grow in a mass planting under a Japanese maple.

Telesonix jamesii in tufa
Perhaps more subtle but no less interesting is Telesonix jamesii which is coming into flower in nursery pots and also in our tufa rock garden.  This saxifrage relative has a reputation for being difficult to grow but thrives in the cool environment of tufa.

Kalmiopsis fragrans
Also making a good show this year is Kalmiopsis fragrans.  This small evergreen shrub from the Umpqua River drainage of Southern Oregon thrives in our rock garden in partial shade.  Another favorite NW native plant is the evergreen Penstemondavidsonii var menziesii.  This low growing groundcover with tiny, glossy green foliage and full-size flowers is a natural for the trough or alpine garden.

Penstemon davidsonii var menziesii
We have set aside an entire weekend to celebrate the PacificCoast iris this year on May 18th and 19th and I am sure there will plenty of color in the gardens to see.  Plants in the nursery don’t grow by the calendar and we already have early season varieties in peak and gorgeous flower.  Visitors who make the trek to the nursery this weekend will not be disappointed with the selection.  The glorious flowering period will continue for several more weeks.

Pacific Coast Native Iris
The nursery will be closed May 2nd through the 5th and locals will find us at The Spring Garden Fair at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby where we will surely have a fabulous display of flowering plants.  As always, we encourage those who want to visit the nursery to check our website for the latest open hours and event information. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saxifraga 'Dawn Frost'

Late winter is a colorful time around the nursery when the early flowering Porophyllum or Kabschia saxifrages put on their annual displays.  We are endlessly fascinated by the contrast between the tiny foliage of these cushion forming alpines and their large, showy flowers.  In their natural habitats where they grow tucked in the crevices of rock outcroppings and cliffs, these flowers must act as beacons to early flying insect pollinators.  They certainly draw us in for a daily inspection filled with "oohs" and "ahs".

Saxifraga 'Dawn Frost' in full bloom

One of the standouts this year is Saxifraga 'Dawn Frost' which forms a tight cushion of dark green foliage that is covered with stemless, vivid pink flowers in late winter.  This is the type of choice Kabschia saxifrage that often appears on alpine show benches, its cushion completely obscured by densely packed flowers.    Many dwarf cushion hybrids have been in cultivation for decades and in some cases for well over a century.   'Dawn Frost' falls into the group of recent hybrids having been bred by Jan Burgel in the Czech Republic in 1990.  It is a seedling grown from Saxifraga x anglica  'Winifred', another pink flowering variety.

'Dawn Frost' forms a dark green cushion.

'Dawn Frost' has grown well for us for a number of years and has even withstood a winter or two under plastic in our uncooled hoophouse.  In general, we find dwarf cushion Saxifrages stay healthiest when grown in the open air and these days the Kabschia collection is housed out of doors under a patio-like polycarbonate cover where they have excellent air circulation all year.  'Dawn Frost' has also done very well grown directly in a hole drilled in tufa. Saxifrages grown in the low nutrient environment of tufa develop slowly and maintain excellent compact form.

Flowering in tufa after one winter's growth....

and after the second winter.

A note to locals:  Regular nursery open hours begin on March 14th.  We will be open Thursday thru Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm this spring except for a very few weekends in April and the first of May when we are away at plant sales.  Be sure to check our website or drop us a line to confirm open hours.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Online Catalog

Kabschia Saxifrages
Our 2013 Online Mail Order Catalog is now complete and ready for viewing with 333 plant listings at last count.  Keep in mind that it is a dynamic list that is updated throughout the season.   Local customers should also be aware that the number of plants we grow at the nursery is more than double the number in the online catalog.  Some plants are simply too large to ship while others are available in numbers too few to list in the catalog.

Section Auricula Primulas

The catalog includes a nice selection of alpine plants such as the Kabschia dwarf cushion and silver saxifrages and Section Auricula primulas.  These plants are great in alpine gardens, in plunge beds and troughs, and also planted in tufa rock.

Lewisia columbiana

Western native highlights include our largest selection ever offered of Lewisia species and a variety of colorful Lewisia hybrids.  

Penstemon davidsonii v menziesii
We also have quite a number of species Penstemons and Heucheras in the catalog.  Native plant lovers should be sure to take a look at these since they are quite different than what is generally found in garden centers.

Agave and Yucca container garden
For dryland and container gardens, be sure to check out our nice selection of Western Agaves.  They make a very interesting display when grouped together.  If you are interested in unusual succulents, be sure to take a look at the amazing South African succulents.  These plants are so unusual they must be seen to be believed.

Giant Jewel Plant, Aloinopsis malherbei
Many of the woodland plants that we offer are shipped mainly in early and late season.  These include the highly prized Himalayan Blue Poppy, several species of Lilies and Trillium, and one of our most popular plants, the reliably hardy shade ginger, Cautleya species.  

Cautleya sp.

We will be adding a number of new plants to the catalog during late winter so be sure to check back at that time.  And, yes, if you place an early order and then order more plants prior to shipping, we will combine your orders and adjust the shipping charges accordingly!

Lilium pardalinum ssp shastense

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