Kitsap Adventure, Part II

I've been a bit remiss in my blogging lately and I'm going to try to remedy that. I haven't been in a writing mood as I am currently pursuing two potential career moves that I am not ready to share just yet. Weighing the pros and cons of these two potential avenues has kept me largely preoccupied and there simply hasn't been room for much else in my mind.

Well, that was cryptic and unnecessary, but as some of you should know by now I have a need to explain things. Let's move on to something everyone can enjoy, shall we?

After leaving Valley Nursery, Peter, Vickie, and I arrived at Windcliff, the garden of Dan Hinkley. I am choosing to respect the wishes of Mr. Hinkley in protecting his brand, so I won't be sharing my photos of his incredible garden. I will say that it is well worth visiting and that if Mr. Hinkley saw the photos I wished to share, he would probably approve.

Some of you were wowed by my seedling of Mahonia 'Indianola Silver' (click here for an older photo from a Foliage Follow-up post). It has matured and has an almost turquoise silver color.

My Mahonia 'Indianola Silver' seedling has matured to a wonderful turquoise silver that glows in the shade. I just noticed more new growth starting a couple days ago. Hopefully this hardens off before winter.

I make mention of this because Mahonia 'Indianola Silver' is one of Dan Hinkley's selections. At Windcliff I had the chance to meet him, briefly, and one of the things I asked about was whether he had any Mahonia 'Indianola Silver' for sale. Luckily he had a selection of seedlings in gallon-size pots that weren't quite ready for sale yet, but he graciously allowed me to pick one out for a friend. Just goes to show that you never know until you ask! For anyone else interested in this plant, show up to one of Windcliff's open days and inquire about procuring one for yourself. As seedlings, no two are exactly alike.

Some of the highlights at Windcliff for me were the coconut-scented flowers of Olearia cheesmanii, the powerful (in the best way) curry scent of Escallonia viscosa wafting throughout the garden, the mature madrones with Puget Sound in the background, large fuchsias, many Dierama, fantastic Tropaeolum speciosum, and of course the many specimens of hardy schefflera. I also won the honor of most expensive haul of the day with a gorgeous variegated Davidia involucrata that I simply couldn't pass up. Had I not been in the company of fellow plant geeks and enablers, I might have been able to resist, but I regret nothing, though my wallet was feeling a little bereft.

After leaving Windcliff, significantly poorer on my part, our intrepid trio made its way to Dragonfly Farms Nursery, run by an energetic and delightful woman named Heidi. Dragonfly is a fantastic and diverse nursery that I look forward to visiting again. By this time I was in full plant-hunting shopper mode and wanted to comb through the offerings as fast as I could. Unfortunately this means I didn't take as many pictures as I could have and I missed the display gardens at Dragonfly Farms entirely. What follows is a poor sampling of a truly fantastic nursery. I'll have to go back when I can spend more time there (or when I'm not so focused on shopping) so I can look up and actually see more of the place, especially the gardens.

A lovely combo of Triteleia (or Brodiaea depending on which taxonomist you listen to) and Euphorbia cyparissias (I think) as you enter the sales area.

Fabiana imbricata f. violacea is high on my lust list. I love heathers and plants that resemble them, especially ones that are in completely different families.

I love this much-photographed culvert arbor. 

Acaena anserinifolia 'Blue Haze' came home with me to try out a new ground cover in the driveway island. I'm already wishing I had bought more, as this can be a little hard to find in my no-man's land between Portland and Seattle.

A beautiful display of maples, conifers, and purple Hydrangea aspera.

Pseudopanax laetus drew me in with its thick, leathery, almost lacquered leaves. Hardy to zone 7. I see another addition to the shade garden in the future.

Beautiful, tempting arisaemas.

A table full of Arctostaphylos sends shivers up my spine. Oh how I would have loved to snatch up 2 or 3 of each, but I haven't even begun to prepare the areas they would be planted in.

A wider shot of one corner of the nursery. On one of those covered tables in the back I found, to my delight, the clearance section. And among those clearance plants was one of my top prizes of the day, an Agapetes x 'Ludgvan Cross'. Rather worse for wear, but some tender loving care and judicious pruning will turn it into a beautiful plant.

Another wide shot of the sales area, with a wonderful selection of grasses in the foreground.

Another much-photographed feature at Dragonfly Farms is this satellite dish-turned-rock garden. Love this!

Salix lanata, or woolly willow, was extremely tempting, but deer love willows and I wasn't ready to experiment with this one, though the woolly leaves lead me to believe it has some potential for deer resistance.

Ah, it must be nice to sit in one of those blue chairs in the morning watching the day start. Though I imagine Heidi doesn't get much chance to do that. Running a nursery leaves little time for relaxation.
Our next stop was Celestial Dream Gardens, a small nursery that packs a powerful plant geek punch. I was in a veritable plant addict frenzy by this time and I was too busy drooling and shopping to take more than a couple pictures. Bottom line, the selection was full of lust-worthy plants at great prices. Definitely worth a visit!

I managed to snap a couple shots before my hands became to preoccupied to lift my camera.

One of the biggest radiate-leaved arisaema I've ever seen! Each leaf was easily over a foot in diameter

A gorgeous lily.
 I'm sure Peter and Vickie took lots of photos of the garden, so you'll have to wait until one of them posts their version of our adventure. Living rather further away from the nursery smorgasbord of the Kitsap Peninsula, I was too busy taking advantage of the shopping opportunity to tour gardens at the nurseries we visited. An oversight I'll be able to rectify on future visits.

When you're in the area, don't forget to keep an eye out for the local honeys peddling their wares on the corner.

Our next stop before heading back to Peter's house was Far Reaches Farm. As our final stop I felt more relaxed about exploring and taking pictures. Plus I had already done most of my shopping online beforehand and could afford to take me time savoring the sights.


  1. It sounds like you had so much fun with Peter and Vickie! I'm sorry I missed it, Peter did invite me and said you were hoping to meet me. But I had too much going on, and at the time had just been to all the nurseries you were planning to hit. It sounds like you will be up this way again, and I'll get a second chance.

  2. Wow. Those lilies are amazing! Love the dazzling fuchsia color. Your expressions of each place makes it feel as though I am walking through the farms with you. You write beautifully Evan! (:

  3. I love that Mahonia! I wonder if it could grow in SoCal? Good luck in making your career decision, Evan. I'm sure you'll be successful, whichever direction you take.

  4. Wow what a lucky friend you have! A personal Windclift shopper, that's a treat for sure.


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