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Just What Is The Desert Northwest?

This short essay was included as an introduction to an earlier version of my web site. Nothing has changed about my mission to promote xeric plants, but since this is now more obviously apparent from all the new content I have added to the web site, this essay is now somewhat redundant, and needn't have a prominent place on this site!

The Desert Northwest is a specialty source for rare and unusual seeds and plants, located in Kitsap County, Washington. It is first and foremost a means through which I can share my passion for promoting and distributing lots of cool plants that are not easily found elsewhere. Starting early in 2005 as "Ian's Rare Seeds", I have now begun offering some plants, and I hope to continue expanding my selection of both.

Why "The Desert Northwest"? Well, since most gardeners west of the Cascades plant under the illusion that our climate is wetter than it actually is, I thought I would throw my concept into the balance by starting with desert plants and seeing how much of our rain they can tolerate. In addition, I am also promoting many plants native to the Southern Hemisphere that are also very drought tolerant, such as Eucalyptus. Together these two groups of plants offer an astounding range of textures and forms that we have only begun to use and appreciate in our gardens.

Besides their ornamental worth, dry-climate plants also offer practical reasons for their use in gardens. Many gardeners could save a lot of time and money on water by using more of them. In recent years, a concept called "xeriscaping", or the use of drought tolerant plants to create a low water use garden or landscape, has become much more popular in the Pacific Northwest. Lately, low mountain snowpacks and hot summers remind us that it is always wise to plant with drought in mind.

Admittedly a few plants and seeds are thrown into the mix that are not at all desert-like or drought tolerant. Although I promote low water use gardening, I still think that certain rare plants are worth growing even if they use some extra water.

As a matter of policy, I do not buy seeds and plants in and resell them, unlike most nurseries and seed suppliers. I prefer to collect my own seed and propagate and grow my own plants. I also obtain a few items in trade from reliable friends. This policy ensures seed freshness and correct identification of seed and plants as much as possible! It also means that I can present reliable information about the plants, having seen where they came from and what the parent plants for my stock look like at maturity. And personally I think it is a much more rewarding way to share my passion for plants.

My main goal for the present is to provide mail order seeds and plants to other like-minded individuals and specialty nurseries. Please enjoy this web page, and thank you for visiting!

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