I’ve come to realize most of the rest of the country thinks all of the Pacific Northwest is rainy and moss covered. It’s simply not true! Once you get on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountain Range things change significantly, Eastern Washington and Oregon are virtually deserts, indeed!
When I was home (that’s Spokane, WA…in Eastern Washington) in June of 2012 my mom mentioned this great little nursery she’d discovered while hunting for Missouri Evening Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa), unfortunately she did so as we were packing up the car to head back to Portland. Ah, next time! As though my mom needed back-up just a couple of month’s later Panayoti Kelaidis (Senior Curator and Director of Denver Botanic Gardens Outreach) blogged about his visit to the same nursery!
So close and yet so far, I had to wait ten months but I’ve finally visited! Desert Jewels is a tiny nursery run from a home in the Spokane Valley. As though running a nursery wasn’t already enough work the owner, Diane Stutzman, also has a full-time job for the Bureau of Land Management. This is a very busy lady.
The Lewisia were looking spectacular during my visit.
I was surprised to learn most Lewisia are hardy to Zone 5 (where part of the Spokane area falls) and since my mom hadn’t previously encountered them it was fun to be along as she discovered their bright flowers.
Their (cheap) availability at our local grocery/everything store has lulled me into thinking most Sempervivum are common and easily found, but here were some drop-dead different choices!
One of these came home with me…
But I could have left with many…
Mom and I took a peek in the greenhouses…
I don't remember ever seeing seed starting containers this deep!
Guess that makes for a happy tap-root?
Desert Jewels specializes in hardy, locally adapted and drought tolerant plants...many are Western natives.
Lots of room to expand.
You know I love the lupine leaves...
Lonicera ciliosa, grown from seed and organge blooming. Yep, I bought this one!
The display gardens were still mostly asleep for the season...
But a few things were waking up.
Since Desert Jewels is only open Fridays & Saturdays 9-5 and located next to the owners home you are given the opportunity to "ring for service"...I highly recommend doing so because once you've had a look about you've still only experienced just the tip of what this nursery has to offer. Chat with Diane a bit and learn about what gets her excited. I did and I found myself wanting to leave with many more plants than I had room for.
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