Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Far Reaches Farm Part Three; More Amazing Plants

In the last two posts, we've looked at some gorgeous Podophyllum and Meconopsis at Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend.  Today, we'll explore, in totally random order, a few  other spectacular offerings both from the plant sales areas and the garden itself.  It's really great to visit the place when it's not busy so that you can ask lots of questions and not feel like you're bogarting the plant experts.  It's also a good idea to take a wish list with you as sometimes these plant magicians can pull something out of their hat (more likely one of the many houses that are not open to the public - they also run a mail order business)  that isn't in plain view.  P.S. Kelly says that emailing a list two days in advance is a better idea.  This makes total sense as Far Reaches really gets hopping with the plant obsessed on open days!

Trillium grandiflorum 'Flore Pleno' is a show stopper.  Here they're gossiping with each other about how beautiful they are and deciding if anyone is worthy of seeing their glorious faces.   White Flower Farm says, "This naturally occurring sport is excruciatingly slow to propagate..."  Far Reaches does not list this one as available by mail order but Keeping it Green Nursery does.
Is it me or does this appear to be a Schefflera macrophylla planted in the ground?   Dan Hinkley says that these aren't hardy in our climate but Crug Farms reports that it has survived -11 C  (12.2F) which would make it work here.  Wouldn't it be cool if this became more widely available?

Podophyllum delavayi contrasts beautifully with the glossy green foliage of Cardiocrinum giganteum.  I'm thinking that some of these are Cardiocrinum giganteum var. yunnanense 'Big & Pink,'  an exciting and extremely rare huge pink lily about which you can read more here.

  Maianthemum oleracea

Paris Japonica, simple white flower with  a genome fifty times longer than that of a human being.  Read an interesting article about that here and grow this in your garden so that you can point this out to all of your friends when they visit.

Nice big leaves belonging to Diphylleis grayi.

Trillium luteum

This sumptuous specimen of Mahonia gracilipes is one of the largest and happiest I've seen. 

I forgot to inquire about this fabulous grass.  We wanted to get through the garden and nursery without keeping the kind folks who were staffing the nursery while Kelly and Sue were at the sale,  past closing time.  This is absolutely beautiful!  The slightest breeze caused it to quiver and move in delightful waves.  Do you have any idea what it is?  I'll find out next time if visit.  P.S. Kelly sent the following: "The mystery grass is featured in the current Gardens Illustrated in the container gardening article and is Melica uniflora f. albida although it is identified in the article as M. altissima ‘Alba’ I think.   It is around under both names but the current RHS Plantfinder has only one listing for the M. altissima and quite a few for the uniflora so we’ll go with the popular vote."

This Arisaema's foliage is huge and dramatic 
as are it's blooms!

Cardiocrinum giganteum  getting ready to bloom next to last years dried seedpod.  It's interesting how excited we get about these plants which have been grown in gardens for years.  Gertrude Jekyll was writing about growing them a hundred years ago.  Still seeing them in bloom is a special experience. 

Just realized that I should have taken more pictures of larger areas of the garden.  That'll give me something to do next time!

Cypripedium  parviflorum which Kelly got from a small nursery in northern Minnesota in the late 80's as a salvaged plant from new road construction.

Another  couple of gorgeous Arisaemas

Love that Skunk Cabbage foliage!  Make sure that you call it Lysichiton americanus  if visitors ask!

Peony seed head jesters making merry.

Some sunny stock growing just out of reach of shoppers.  Fortunately there is so much out in the sales areas that you will loose yourself there and not be tempted by the several off limits areas.
Masterful foliage combinations abound in the garden!

Anemonells thalictroides ' Oscar Schoat'
Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web'  was quite the in plant a few years ago and now it's hard to find.  A delightful plant that brightens up  shady spots beautifully!

Ajuga incisa 'Bikun' or Frosted Jade Ajuga has beautiful dark blue blooms.  Look here to see pictures of it in bloom.  Slugs love the emerging foliage of this one as much as gardeners do.  A slug bait mulch couldn't hurt.
Hooray!  schefflera delavayi for a reasonable price!  
Corydalis scouleri is a Washington native which I first fell in love at Far reaches.  That sweet succulent-stemmed foliage gets nearly as tall as I and makes me very happy growing next to a big-leafed hosta.  Oh yeah, it blooms too. Pink.
Sunny Bog Garden with green-roofed gazebo.

One of the resident Killdeers that enjoy nesting and raising their young around the nursery.
Lest you think that Far Reaches is all about shady characters, there were quite a few sunny souls round as well.  Opuntia hurnifusa(pictured) and I was delighted to find O. Ellisiana, a glochid-free variety that takes the pain out of living with Opuntias!

Aloe zebrina.  Mine hasn't looked this rusty/orange since I bought it here last year.  I think I'm too nice to it.

Vestra foetida

I'm sure that Gilbert and Sullivan were thinking of Ranunculus constantaninopolitanus 'Plenus'  when they wrote:
I'm called Little Buttercup — dear Little Buttercup,
Though I could never tell why,
But still I'm called Buttercup — poor little Buttercup,
Sweet Little Buttercup I!
That's quite a long name for such a sweet little flower.  The Far Reaches tag says, "Ok - 10 times real fast and win a free plant of our choice!"  I had to buy the plant to get the tag so that I could practice for my next visit! 

Ranunculus aconitifolius 'Flore Pleno' is truly wonderful and easy to grow.  I haven't killed mine in a couple of years so you'll be able to grow it with no problem at all!

Ledebouria cooperi.  Look at those beautifully striped leaves  so tiny and so cute.  The little blooms are sweet, too. 

Variegated strawberry makes a great groundcover  but not so great a berry.  Can't have everything!

This potted puya is striking!  I love the way the elevation allows for full appreciation of the foliage!

A NOID plant that I forgot to ask about.  My brain is tiny and can only remember a little bit anyway.  Sure has great foliage color doesn't it. 

Trough-like gardens are fascinating to me.  They're like little worlds in a container!

And in the sunny border on the way out, an Embothrium coccineum was blooming just for Ricki
Well, that's all from Far Reaches for now.  Believe it or not, The Bonney Lassie and Outlaw Kitsap Peninsula extravapalooza isn't over yet!
 This is an image of a wonderful two sided photo collage of images from this special place. 


  1. Very, very nice selection of plants there, save the best post for last too! And do keep us updated when you find out what that grass is, it's a beauty!

    1. We're so lucky to have Kelly and Sue's place only a two hour drive away! I'll repost when I find out about the mystery grass!

  2. Do let me know if you find out what that mystery grass is...my guess would be some form of Eragrostis (although it's a tad early for those to be blooming...maybe Luzula then?). Either way, let me know :-)

    1. Will do! Next time I'm up there, I'll ask!

  3. What a great post! I don't know how you always end up seeing and photographing so much more than I do, but it definitely makes your posts a treat.

    1. And yet you see other things that I miss that make your posts a treat for me!

  4. I've got to go back soon...and hopefully with you!

    1. (haha my word verification for that last comment was "hortseat was"...love it)

    2. Do you have any free weekdays in July? A group of us could have a blast doing the Kitsap peninsula!

    3. No sadly July is booked solid. Heronswood is open again in September though...

  5. Holy wow!!!!! so many wonderful plants and many I've never heard of. I'm going to have to come back several times to enjoy these phtotos again

    1. Far Reaches is a great place to discover new/unusual/rare plants and best part - no Sherpa guides, tents or hiking equipment required. You can even stay in one of several beautiful Victorian bed and breakfasts.

  6. Well, now you've got us all on the edge of our seats waiting to see what the grass is. Even Scott couldn't ID it? Must be something special. Think we could get a group rate?

    1. We should all descend upon Far Reaches together sometime in July! I'm sure we'd remember to ask!

  7. So many awesome treasures. I desperately want that white Trillium... And that white "buttercup" is really awesome, too. Clearly, I have a thing for double flowers. I do actually have both Opuntia humifusa and Opuntia ellisiana. The former, glochid-ridden but hardy, vigorous, and floriferous, I have scattered in tough spots all through the garden here in Michigan, and Opuntia ellisiana lives in a big pot on the fire escape of my apartment in Cambridge.

    1. You should get both of those double flowered beauties! While I love the cute, cuddly and furry appearance of Opuntias with glochids, they aren't my favorite plants to have where they need to be weeded, moved, or walked closely by. I think that mine can actually throw those darned glochids from quite a distance at me and tweezers aren't my favorite gardening tool:)

  8. I feel like Alice and this place of wonders is, well, Wonderland. I can't begin to comment on how awesome and interesting everything is because I'll never stop. I'm going to go back over your pictures and "oooo" and "ahhhh" again!

    1. It really is that kind of experience I person, too. If you ever travel to these parts, this place is not to be missed.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.