Kitsap Adventure, Part III

Last week I was away on a trip and unable to post, but I'm back now and finally getting around to finishing up sharing my adventure with the outlaw and the plant nut.

Our final, and perhaps (for me at least) most anticipated stop of the day was Far Reaches Farm. Far Reaches is a phenomenal mail-order nursery in Port Townsend, Washington. They also have open weekends when the public can come to the nursery to fully indulge in a plant shopping frenzy. The owners, Kelly and Sue, are delightful and knowledgeable with good senses of humor, a trait which Kelly displays to great effect in the plant descriptions on their website and on the labels.

As the last stop of the day, I felt more relaxed about taking time and shot more photos. I still didn't spend nearly enough time looking at the sunny border though.
A small segment of the display garden at Far Reaches. The large clump of Kniphofia is of course visually captivating, but humor me and direct your attention to the shrub in the foreground at left. You can just make out the 1-inch wide flowers facing down. 

Here's a close-up of those flowers, belonging to Philadelphus madrensis, a powerfully fragrant mock-orange smelling of grape soda or Kool-Aid. No, they don't scream at you with visual opulence, but are delicate and beautiful. Since they face down, you have a perfect view from above of the dusky purple calyx contrasting with the white petals. Vickie and I were lucky enough to find two of these in the sales area.

We were also both captured by the twining purple stems of Aconitum hemsleyanum CGG 14028 (that last part is a collection number, important for serious plant nerds and seriously picky gardeners).

Even the finely cut leaves had a faint mottling of purple. So much beauty in this plant and it wasn't even flowering!

With the constant browsing of deer in my garden, sadistically spiny plants always catch my attention, if only because I can take momentary pleasure in imagining those uncouth ungulates turning their tongues into colanders trying to eat plants like this Solanum marginatum.

This plant, Smilax aspera, made me laugh out loud. Personally, I love the white markings on the elegantly-shaped leaves. However, I've spent enough time on the east coast, where there are several native species of this wickedly thorny vine, to know that it is not thought of fondly by those who grew up around it. I can only imagine the looks of incredulity on the faces of my friends in North Carolina if they were to see Smilax being sold at a nursery, on purpose no less.

Like many visitors to Far Reaches, I was powerless to prevent myself from photographing this gorgeous hardy schefflera.

A simple yet beautiful lath shelters a shady display garden full of lust-worthy treasures. Oh, look, somehow a rhododendron made it to the center of my photo. Would I do that?

The stiff red hairs and red margins of this little plant (Saxifraga?) intrigued me. Sue was standing but a few feet away, but was engaged with another customer, otherwise I would have asked what this was.

I'm not a fan of ruffles, but the curled, cut leaves of this Hepatica were interesting nonetheless. 

I much prefer the clean, elegant form of this Hepatica, not to mention the crisp markings.

Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' is definitely on my lust list. Someday I'll have one of these in my garden, I'm sure, though it may have to wait a while now.

Of course I was struck by the many magnificent Cardiocrinum scattered throughout the lath area.  Most of the blooms towered above my head, and with my congested sniffer the scent was out of my reach.

Luckily there were a few closer to nose-level, so my reduced olfactory capacity could detect their scent. 

Possibly one of the most beautiful foliage plants I saw all day was this silvery-veined Paris species.

A peak under the skirts of a gorgeous speckled lily. Plant people are such perverts, staring at flowers all day.

Maianthemum oleracea was still blooming a month after Bonnie Lassie's post, here

Ok, that Paris was beautiful, but top prize for foliage certainly must go to Podophyllum delavayi. 

So many great plants under one roof!

Polygonatum x hybridum 'Striatum', another beautiful foliage plant.

Polylepis tomentella is a member of a genus that boasts growing at the highest elevation of any tree. The peeling copper bark and neat-tidy leaves make for an attractive plant.

Every time I see Woodwardia fimbriata I am struck anew by its beauty, particularly the colorful new growth. 

Rhododendron pachysanthum is a gorgeous species for foliage. The new growth is covered in golden tomentum.

After paying for our hauls, Peter, Vickie, and I packed our final treasures of the day into the plant mobile and headed back to Tacoma, where Vickie and I had the pleasure of seeing Peter's jungle-like garden. That will be another post. Happy gardening!


  1. What fun! Far Reaches is such a fabulous nursery. And that Maianthemum! I am still swooning over it, I want one so bad.Thanks for the link to my blog post about it. I lost a Woodwardia this past winter. Isn't Peter's garden the best? Looking forward to your post about it.

    1. That Maianthemum is drool-worthy. I hope my Woodwardia makes it. Cross your fingers for a mild winter.

  2. So many beautiful plants there Evan! I I love Smilax aspera but didn't know until now that some some species of it are rampant on the east coast. I have it growing in a pot up an obelisk.

    1. I just saw your post about coming home to rain and thought I saw your smilax. It looks great! Yes, smilax is considered a bit of a nuisance on much of the U.S. east coast, and a downright menace in the southeast.

  3. So much to like in this post. Wouldn't you know that the one that stopped me in my tracks is the (saxifrage?) of unknown identity.

    1. It had the same effect on me. I was walking down the path and did a double take when I saw it.

  4. Oh my, my...I guess I just need to get comfortable with lusting after plants I couldn't possibly grow.

    1. If it makes you feel any better, I'm moving to Wisconsin. We'll both be lusting after plants that grow in the PNW.

  5. So glad you made it to Far Reaches and with time to really soak it all up. My first visit there was about 20 minutes before closing and I almost had a nervous breakdown trying to decide what to focus my attention on.

    1. I can well imagine that! (Because I'be been in that situation before.) I had a hard enough time rushing through all our previous stops. The only thing that kept me together was knowing that it was all to make sure we had plenty of time at Far Reaches.

  6. What a great day that was and what a fabulous nursery Far reaches is! Thanks for the fun reminder of our plant adventure!

    1. Thanks for driving! I'm glad one of us likes to drive!


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