Summer 2005 Newsletter
Hello friends! First of all, a big THANK YOU for your continued business, and interest in my project. Starting up a nursery is a lot of work and there have been some minor failures along the way. (Like how I finished putting up my fancy new shade house and it nearly blew over in the process, when a big windstorm came up.) But overall everything is still going pretty well. It has finally stopped raining in the Pacific Northwest, and summer arrived about July 20th or so this year. Now it has been glorious sunny weather, and of course the best time to start heat loving seeds. We only get a short window of time for that around here!
Well there is quite a bit of exciting news on several fronts. To begin with, I have finally finished my new web site, desertnorthwest.com, which now lists all available seeds and plants, including pictures and descriptions of most. That took me a while, but I think now that I have built up a framework for it, it will be easy to add information in the future and eventually I hope to develop it into a resource for people interested in Southern Hemisphere and desert plants.
Also, I am now selling plants! I am excited to have a lot of Grevilleas in stock. If you have not grown any, you are missing out because they are the most rewarding plants I have grown (well along with Eucalyptus) and are very exotic looking. Also, I have a few Eucalyptus available now, including E. amplifolia, which, it has been speculated, may be a good species to try in Texas or the South. I also have one very rare species, E. triflora, which is a must for hardy euc collectors who want something interesting and different. And then there is the amazing E. rubida, which is almost a hardy E. citriodora look-alike except for being a bit heavier in texture. And there are a few other odds and ends as well. Plants are ready to ship now, so order before I leave on my collection trip!!! Or, you may order for a window of time in the fall.
Recently I returned from a short collection trip to Eastern Washington. It was what I would call a moderate success, not a great success, but it was still fun. I collected some nice forms of Opuntia x columbiana that will make great gardens plants. These plants form large mats of upright pads, and one form I collected has beautiful golden spines covering the new growth. I will be calling this form 'Devil's Eye' - and of course because it is native to Eastern Washington, it ought to be super cold hardy. You can read all about it by going to my home page and clicking on "Travelogue", then on "Eastern Washington, July 2005".
I'll be collecting more seeds in the Southwest this fall - I will probably leave around the second week of September. I don't have my itinerary figured out yet; it seems like everything I want to collect is really far apart. So I hope gas prices will drop by about half before I leave.
Everything continues to grow nicely - all the little Agave and Yucca seedlings I have from last year's collection trip are doing well, but they will not grow large enough to sell this year. I built a shade house back in June, and it has sure been nice to have so that my ferns do not get roasted, along with some palms and bamboos (these will be available in the future, but they are not ready yet either). I also got the crazy idea to install sprinklers on top of the shade house, which would shoot far enough to water about 15' out from the edge of the shade house. This has worked out splendidly; a perfect little fine mist falls into the shade house when they are running. It is like a little cloudforest microclimate on my windy, exposed hillock where the nursery sits. My project for the month of August is to build a little bit nicer greenhouse with some benches, that will hold a lot of plants and be easy to heat over the winter. My original greenhouse from last fall will be used this year as more of a cold frame - as soon as I replace the plastic, which blew off about a week ago! (Hey it is easier to water in there now, I can reach plants from outside the greenhouse!)
Well that is probably enough for now. Drop me a line and let me know how your seeds and plants are doing! It's great to hear from people who I know will take care of the plants I sell because you are truly interested in them. And stay cool this summer too… eat lots of ice cream, that's my advice.