We have the local cheer!

Freezing fog & Christmas trees
Freezing fog & Christmas trees

When you decide to ignore the cold fog do some Holiday shopping, consider a visit our nursery where you will find a nice assortment of indoor flowering plants such as cool-weather loving Cyclamen and Zygo (Christmas) cactus & Rabbit’s Foot Fern to bring on Holiday cheer!


There is also a small group of hanging glass mini-terrariums containing little air-plants called ‘Tillandsias’ starting at $12.

Teardrop terrarium with Tillandsia
Teardrop terrarium with Tillandsia

Unusual varieties of winter-blooming Amaryllis are getting ready to bloom in a warm room and are available potted in various clay pots starting at $15  Pointsettias will arrive soon on Dec. 8th!

We just set out the fresh-cut Noble Fir Christmas trees. These are “naturally grown” trees (un-sheared & un-sprayed) that have been hand selected by us from 2 family farms in Oregon City & Boring. Want a tree to really show off your ornament collection? These are the real ‘old fashioned’ trees! Prices start at just $8.00 for a table top sized tree!

And on the wreath theme…Our handmade wreaths composed of (legally) hand collected greens from the forest are now available as we make them here inside the store. Know that they can be made up “just for you” by special order…please contact us soon to find out more & get on the wreath list!

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Lastly…a surprise! We have some really cool new garden & nature inspired jewelry items in our indoor gift area – all made “locally” in Oregon & California.
  • Vintage lockets made by Verabel, each one different and unusual starting at $36
  • Made in Madras: earrings and necklaces of semi precious beads and crystals starting at just $10
  • One of a kind Enamel Bluebird pins by illustrator Elizabeth Graeber to make anyone happy, $10

We have also added a line of artisanal soaps made in small batches with all natural ingredients and scents by a great little company, Three Sisters Apothacary. We picked our order up in person and had a nice chat with the owner about the trials, tribulations & joys of operating a small business. For something different , included in the offerings are 2 different kinds of shampoo bars for dogs!

 On Saturday Dec.12th, we will once again be participating as vendors at the Madras Saturday Christmas Market being held indoors from 9 am-4 pm at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. All of the vendors are truly local, so please support YOUR local economy by doing a little or a lot of shopping at the Market, and please come ‘bye & say “hello” to our booth.

Please tell your friends and neighbors, thanks!

Brrr! ‘Tender’ plants, what to do?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGot “tender” plants outside you’d like to save?

There have been at least 2 “good” frosts reaching down to 25° over the past 8 days – brrrr! In plant-geek technical terms this is referred to as a “killing frost” and if you have plants that are on the tender side, i.e. dahlias, tuberous begonias or some of the less hardy gladiolas, or any annuals you’d like to overwinter indoors, now is the time to dig them up and move ‘em in.

The first freezes really doesn’t severely damage the roots and growth potential, but it  will burn back much of the excess top growth, which ‘bye this time for many plants, was looking pretty tired before the freeze. We  like to lift & save many of the fancier begonias, geraniums and hardy fuchsias that we appreciate and have spent good money for. Here’s what we do:

We bring them in the potting area, take them out of their pots, cut back all but about 1/3 of the plant, divide & root prune if called for and re-pot them in fresh potting soil, adding in only about 1/2 of the usual slow release fertilizer into the soil. After watering them in, we then either wrap them in about 3 loose layers of frost fabric and place on an upper shelf in our unheated greenhouse, or if really tender, they will travel to one of our attics with windows, to sit in a cool but sunny location for the winter. Over the next 4 1/2 months they’ll only getting a few sips of water and some pot rotation so any  growth stays more uniform.

In spring, when the night time temps are reaching just over 38°, we’ll bring them out of their winter hibernation into our greenhouse for more light and observation, only watering if really necessary. Once the new growth starts appearing, then we water and again lightly fertilize, and they’re back to being beauties again!

Fragrant Amaryllis ‘Jewel Double’


Soon, (hopefully ‘bye Nov 14th), our Amaryllis bulbs will arrive @ the nursery! They are top size commercially available bulbs (much larger than what is generally seen at retail stores). Our Amaryllis  deliver a sensational winter display, most with 2 stems or more bearing up to 4 blooms each. The bulbs have been conditioned at the proper temperature to bloom in about 8-9 weeks after planting in your home. Our staff will coach you on how to care for them before and after blooming so you can get years of enjoyment from your Amaryllis. To differentiate ourselves from what is typically offered at a box store, we are stocking some new and unusual types of  Amaryllis, sold pre-planted in our decorative containers or just as bulbs. To help with your gifting needs, know that we can help fulfill requests for larger orders if you contact us before Nov. 23rd.

Amaryllis ‘Rapido Red’, a new dwarf multi-stemmed variety
  • Rapido Red’ – This mighty miniature has many extravagant deep red blooms per stem, on stems about 16″. Perfect for a smaller space. It is noted as a prolific bloomer.
  • ‘Jewel Double’ – Fragrant! Exquisite is a perfect description for this variety. Its pure-white, double blooms glow with the luster of pearls and possess a rare light, sweet fragrance, unusual to Amaryllis. Stems are full size, to 26″ tall.
  • ‘La Paz’  – The narrow, ‘spidery’ petals of ‘La Paz’ have red and green stripes that lead your eye right to the center of its striking blooms. This is a new type of ‘Cybister’ Amaryllis, often produces three stems per bulb reaching about 24″.
Amaryllis ‘La Paz’ – a new dwarf ‘Cybister’ variety


Coming (Holiday) attractions!


Our Holiday offerings at the Madras Garden Depot start this weekend, Nov. 14th!

  • Holiday Wreath-making workshop: Bring your friends & hop up to the Garden Depot for a morning of fun creating your own gorgeous holiday evergreen or mixed wreath. We provide a mix of boughs, twigs, cones,  moss, vines, seasonal berries, frames, ribbon and guidance. Feel free to bring any embellishments or greenery, or add one of our glass bird ornaments to suit your taste or décor. Refreshments served. (Note: if you have them, please bring gloves, pruners and needle nose pliers). This class fills up fast, so sign up now & save the date! $30
  • Well be expanding our conifer inventory with unusual “living” Christmas trees that you can plant outside after the Holidays. Conifers such as Baby Blue, Siberian & Norway Spruce, Vanderwulf Limber and Bosnian pines and Arizona ‘Corkbark’ sub-alpine firs to name a few. In the greenhouse you will find a nice assortment of indoor flowering plants such as cool-weather loving Cyclamen and Zygo (Christmas) cactus to bring on Holiday cheer!
  • The day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27th we’ll start our cut tree sales. Again, we’ll offer “naturally grown” Noble Fir trees (un-sheared & un-sprayed) that have been hand selected by us from 2 family farms in Oregon City & Boring. Want a tree to really show off your ornament collection? These are the real deal! Prices start at just $15.00
  • And on the wreath theme…A few handmade wreaths will be available after Nov 15th & can also be made up “just for you” by special order…please contact us soon to find out more & get “on the list”!

Please note: we are open through Dec. 24th, 9-5 Monday-Saturday & 11-2 Sunday’s, as weather permits!




❤ pears? A recipe for you…

After the two Pear & Apple tastings this week, look what we made from some of the extra pears – poached pears! So yummy, and easy.
We altered the ‘Maple Poached Pears’ recipe from perfectpantry.com by adding in about a 1 Tbsp. “chunk” of crystallized ginger. We used Seckel and Red Anjou pears that were ripe, but not overly so. These are pears that we actually have trees of at the nursery. Seckel pears are hard to find, but we have 2 of them left!
One last thing about this dessert, the syrup from the reduction was THE BEST!! We saved the left over syrup for future french toast or pancakes.
Here’s the recipe, enjoy!

Poached Pears

This simple, yet elegant, dessert serves 4; can be multiplied.
4 pears
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Peel the pears and, from the bottom, remove the cores, leaving the stems on. Place in a nonreactive pot with lemon zest, lemon juice, and maple syrup, plus enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat until tender when pierced with a knife. Allow pears to cool in the poaching liquid. (This can be done several hours ahead.) Remove pears to serving plates, and bring the liquid to a boil. Stir in sugar, butter and vanilla, and reduce the sauce to desired consistency. Drizzle the sauce over and around pears, and serve.

 What’s new …

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  • Our fall sale continues: 20% off on all plants & trees,  25% off all tools, sprays, bagged fertilizers etc.
  • We’re getting excited about the Holidays! This year we’re adding some nice garden themed gifts like glass bird ornaments, botanical soaps and fine paper goods along with a larger selection of “living” Christmas trees, hand made* wreaths and again our popular “natural” (un-sheared) Noble firs, that have a wonderful old-fashioned Christmas look.  (* If you need a custom wreath or 2, please contact us so we can make exactly what you desire.)

A taste of fall

Please join us up at the Depot for a free sampling of apples and pears. These are all the same cold hardy varieties we stock at the nursery as both potted and bare root trees. The trees include heirloom as well as modern types. We will discuss basic fruit tree location, planting and culture, including winter care. There will also be a sign up sheet for early discounted ordering of 2016 bare root fruit trees!

We’re offering 2 opportunities to sample, Thursday Oct 15th at 6 pm and again Saturday Oct 17th at 11 am. Here is a partial list of some of the varieties we’ll be sampling:

  • APPLES: Arkansas Black, Cortland, Golden Russet, Jonagold, McIntosh, Spartan, Winesap Winter Banana
  • PEARS: Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Red Anjou, Seckel
  • ASIAN PEARS: Shinseiki, 20th Century

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Red Anjou pear
Red Anjou pear

The best time…to Fall back!

Red Zinnia


Its 46° at 7:30 am and the NOAA weather display on the computer looks a bit boring: azure blue skies, dark, clear nights, all across the screen, every day the same…yeah!

Happy Fall Equinox!
For newly planted roots, this weather couldn’t get any better: cool nights, calm, warm days. Why are we mentioning this? Well, it’s time to get planting, to take advantage of this “gift”! We also want to offer you, our customers  who read this website and our newsletter, a “thank you” in the form of an additional discount during our Fall Equinox Sale which begins today. Just mention the password ‘equinox’ when you check-out and you will receive an additional 10% off your most expensive single item you are purchasing. So…if you buy 3 perennials and a tree, you will receive the additional discount on your tree purchase!  Here is a breakdown of our Fall Sale you can take advantage of:

20% off all perennials & shrubs, including evergreens and ground covers

20% off all fall annuals including pansies, violas and decorative cabbage & kale

20% off all pre-planted fall themed containers

20% off all ‘edibles': berries, grapes, rhubarb, perennial herbs etc.

25% off  our colorful pottery & statuary, including fountains!

25% off all “imported” trees, deciduous & evergreen (trees we did not pot up from bare root stock)

30% off all *our* potted deciduous & fruit trees (trees we planted from bare root this year)

50% off rack for “ugly duckling” plants that are still viable but need a little TLC

75% off all annuals (yes, you can overwinter that begonia, geranium or dahlia you love & we’ll tell you how!)

So, what’s “hot” in the nursery right now? For starters, we just updated our supply of fall color which includes annual pansies, violas and decorative kales and cabbages. The perennial asters and mums are really looking good We have several newer varieties of both, varieties that don’t get so tall and leggy so you won’t have to remember to cut them back earlier in the season.

Our amazing staff have potted up some spectacular fall planters composed of both annuals and perennials that should carry right into Thanksgiving, making your entry areas really pretty.


 Upcoming event:  Customer Appreciation Day, October 3rd!

Please join us on Sat. October 3rd from 10 am until 3 pm for:

  • A fall wreath demo at 10:30… how to make a seasonal wreath from what we have right in our own yards
  • Free hot dogs with all the fixins’ plus lemonade, from noon until 2 pm
  • How do you plant that tree or shrub? A class in BMP’s (best management practices) for successful planting, from 1-2 pm
  • Door prizes including free plants and gift cards
  • A fall gardening round-table discussion from 2-3 pm: how did your garden grow & how to prepare it for next yearacorn+oak+vintage+image+graphicsfairy002b

Dig it in, pot it up

Apologies for not updating our website newsletter for over 2 weeks. It isn’t only the weather that has been brisk lately – business has picked up and we are in “go” mode at the Depot: helping customers, planting seeds & shifting up seedlings, participating at the master Gardener spring seminar in Redmond, bringing in more good plants from our vendors and then caring for it ALL! This of course has left an energy deficit whereby our brain cell’s are clearly seeking sleep, not more computer time…

Spring lettuces in the coldframe

Here’s an image that will inspire you to sow some lettuce seeds. ‘Spreckles’ and Red Romaine, happily growing side by side in the cold frame. The ‘Spreckles’ lettuce is sometimes referred to as”deer-tongue” lettuce, and it re-seeded itself with abandon out in the veggie garden so we transplanted a few seedlings into the cold frame to speed up growth and in under 2 weeks we’re ready for the first fresh salad! (We carry the Botanical Interests seeds for these 2 varieties as well as some yummy salad blends.)

Now onto some fragrant photos…clockwise from left, these perennial Dianthus are hands down our fragrant favorites in the greenhouse this week. Next, a ‘Lemon Lights’ hardy azalea. It is softly fragrant and because these Azaleas are hardy to zone 4, with a little extra mulching they’ll do even better. The sweet little pink flowers on the ‘Cocodile’ ivy geranium are the icing on the cake. The leaves are really unusual. They are available in a 4″ size and we also have some growing-on in Down-Under Pots that will be ready next week (a great Mother’s Day gift, hint, hint!) The last image is of  some ‘Daddy’ petunias (don’t ask us, we didn’t name them!) but they are really fragrant (especially the dark blue one.) These are available in 4 packs along with many other colors.

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Container and hanging basket alert!

Getting ready for the Planting Party!

Get a head start on summer at our annual Container Planting Party in our greenhouse, Sat. May 2nd from 11am -2pm. Bring your baskets, pots or whatever containers you love and we’ll provide our special container mix and if needed, we’ll provide some design guidance as well. Plant up your containers using gorgeous annuals from our greenhouse. The cost is the cost of the plants and any containers you buy from us (if you need them). Remember this is a party, so bring a friend! Light refreshments provided. PLEASE RSVP by calling 541 475-2068 to reserve a space at the potting table!

April is not for sissies!

No foolin, here it is April and yesterday we thought the weatherman was foolin’ us as we did manage to dodge a 25F° prediction, phew, it was only 30F°…however this morning, it was 24F° at 6am, and through Sunday the  temps are supposed to remain below 30F°, so if you have starts or lush growth to protect, do so! (Psst – we have some nice medium weight row cover available in our store too.)


It may not feel terribly springlike outside temperature-wise, but Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’ surely can make your nose believe  in spring – it’s fragrance has been described as ‘delicious’. We have one left in a 3 gallon pot, and more on order, coming in with our pink rock daphne. Here is the information page from the plant breeder:  http://www.planthaven.com/dapheter.html


Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) is for for sale in gallons & 4″ pots.  The seed was collected from plants happily growing in a garden on the NW side of Juniper Butte ad we propagated it. They are doing well outside here at the nursery. This is the food plant favored by the Monarch butterfly. There is quite a bit of confusion “out there” about the correct type of milkweed to use to ‘feed the Monarchs’. Just know this: make sure the type you are planting is zone hardy to our zone 5 and that will eliminate the ‘tropical’ varieties being sold. This will keep you out of trouble and more importantly help make the butterflies thrive!

angels choir poppy

Guess who arrived on our loading dock at 5:15pm yesterday? An ‘Angels Choir’ (well a full flat of them anyway!) These poppies (which will self sow a BIG bonus!) are described as “an  award-winning combination of silken-petaled, double poppies featuring]shimmering watercolor shades including cream, apricot, peach, coral, lavender, pink and bicolors and picotees. It took breeders years of selection to develop these absolutely magical forms and lustrous soft colors”.

I say, hooray for the choir of spring! ‘Angel’s Choir’ Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) In 4-paks, $2.50 each.


Clematis alert! Our first bunch of clematis vines will arrive next Tuesday, and we are super excited to be working with a new grower with many outstanding new selections…if you have any special requests, please let us know before Monday as we will pull the order ourselves.

Cue sunrise….SPRING is here!


Looking out the east facing window on the first day of spring… at 6:25 am

It’s official, time to get really excited about getting dirt under your fingernails and stretching your lower back, because “they” are beckoning. You know, the cute little pansies and violas beaming their little faces up at you, the thin and wiry little onion starts, the rhubarb plant that looks like dinosaur food. They want you to get going, now! And they’re right because even though your calendar thinks were about 2 weeks off from thinking seriously about gardening, the soil is telling us: ” it’s time, folks!”

If you happen to live near Madras, last Sunday morning at 10 am it was almost 48F° (measured at 4 inches beneath the surface of your garden soil.) lot’s of plants are not just budding, but leafing out.

Could it freeze again in the next 3 weeks? maybe. But remember, the worst is far behind, like  way, way back in mid November 2014. That’s when it reached  -11F°  here at the nursery. We are tossing the last of the poor plants that succumbed, even some very hardy ones, that because they were not in the ground or greenhouse, they had their roots freeze hard, then thaw and then “stew” in overly moist pots & eventually rot out.

But fear not, as Swiss gardening author & photograper Marina Schinz says:  gardening is a exercise in optimism. Sometimes, it is a triumph of hope over experience.  


So there you have it! If you need to have your optimism encouraged, we are offering a super limited supply of ‘Spring Beauty’ tulips in 6″ pots. Normally $7.75, now to all of you who utter the magic password spring optimismyou can have one of them for $4.25!

Time to mention something about our sweet “baby” spring veggies – they are about ready to be released into the world! Tomorrow is the big day” when we move them from the un-heated greenhouse to a table on the E side of our building. Here is a glimpse of them, taken last week:

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Veggie start varieties include ‘Baby Romaine’, ‘Spreckles’ and ‘Oak Leaf’ lettuces, ‘Bloomsdale’ & ‘Lavewa’ spinach, ‘Copenhagen Market’ cabbage,  Yellow and Red storage onions, leeks, 3 types of kale, broccoli and broccoli raab and kohlrabi! Priced from $2.50 – $3.25 depending on size of container. These starts were grown organically and we included ‘Cascade Minerals‘ basalt re-mineralizer in the seedling mix, and today, we just gave them their 1st dose of liquid kelp fertilizer!

A shout out for the many Walla Walla onion lovers out there – they should be here this Friday, shipped in from you-know-where :-)

…Springing Along!

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This past week has seen daytime temps reaching almost to 70F°, and even though officially we are 9 days away from “spring”, folks, it’s HERE!

These images were taken over the past couple of days. On the left, is a ‘Texas Scarlet’ Flowering Quince, in the middle,one of our many pansy varieties. and on the right, a unusual Primula auricula (we grew from plant division!)

We have part of our asparagus order in now, ‘Jersey Knight’ and wow are they large crowns! There are some real whoppers in the bin we have them stored in. Later this month, on Sat. March 28th we’ll have a free class on planting out asparagus, onions and potatoes (see the events calendar on the right sidebar).

This weekend we will be a vendor participating at the trade show at the LOAFA event on Sat. March 14th from 8-5 pm at the Deschutes Co. Fairgrounds in Redmond. If you have a small farm, or are interested in farming on your land, this is the place for you. It has some great classes, here is the flyer: http://www.swalley.com/LOAFAposter.pdf

Our bulk landscaping materials have been refreshed and added to! We currently have in stock, sold by the yard:

  • 2″-3″ river rock, $35/yd.
  • Pea Gravel, $35/yd.
  • Hemlock bark, $32/yd. (special price)
  • “Airport” or Walk-On bark, $42/yd.
  • OMRI organic all plant based compost, $36./yd

It’s sowin’ time again!

Pansy ‘Fizzy Lemonberry’

Seed sowing, that is. Spring is not being gentle but rather is pouncing on us this year. Many experienced gardeners think we’re almost 2 weeks ahead of schedule planting-wise, so yes, it’s high time to get your indoor sown seeds growing so you can get a jump on our short high desert growing season!

We have a few ways to get you in the spring gardening mood…

One, we’re offering a free Seed Starting class tomorrow, Sat. March 8th at 11am-12:15pm.
Two, we just received our initial order of seeds from Botanical Interest Seeds (https://www.botanicalinterests.com/) and we are sold out of a couple of varieties already (yeah, the 63 ‘Buttergold’ se corn is a HIT!) , but, not to worry we can re-order your favorites in short order.
Three, Plants!! Our greenhouse has some lovely cold-hardy spring herbs & flowers that will really lift your spirits; most of the bare root trees are here, and lastly, come check out the ‘Jersey Knight’ asparagus crowns. They are H-U-G-E and will surely get some asparagus on your table next year.

We’ll see you soon down the garden path!

~ Karen & Marilyn

PS: We’ll be participating as vendors in the Trade Show at the ‘Living on a Few Acres’ (LOAFA) event on Sat. March 14th from 8-5 pm at the Deschutes Co. Fairgrounds in Redmond. This event consists of 3 tracks of seminars going all day and it encompasses everything one could encounter on a small farm in Central Oregon, from alpacas, to hay, to wine!  For more info call (541) 548-6088