Nursery news and plant availability updates

Plant Blindness??

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the National Native Seed Conference, a gathering of professionals whose work involves collection, storage, growing, research, and use of seeds of native plants. A rather seedy bunch, I must say! I was struck by one of the presenters, who brought up the concept of “plant blindness,” a term used to describe the tendency of humans to tune out the plants in their surroundings, lumping them together into a sort of green backdrop. As a huge plant nerd (as I suspect many of you are!), I almost always am aware of plants, but turns out, I’m kind of in the minority! It is thought that this trait might have evolved in humans as a way of sorting through lots of visual stimuli to notice things that we may need to react to, like movement or potential threats. This habit of our brain, coupled with an ever-decreasing number of people who work in many of the plant professions (like farmers and botanists), has led to a society in which plant blindness is prevalent.
But who cares? Why should we notice plants? Well, the danger is that not noticing can possibly prevent us from acknowledging their importance in our lives. But they absolutely should be of major concern to us! Some estimate that as many as 1 in 8 plant species are threatened with extinction, disturbing when you think of all the ways that plants play a role in our lives: food, clothing, shelter, fuels, medicines, recreation, and art. Additionally, they will likely help resolve many of the challenges that we face today: food security, water shortages, climate change, creation of sustainable materials and fuels, and medical issues. The protection, research, and education of plants in our world is essential to our own survival… don’t let your brain glaze over them!. As the conference presenter said, all life depends on plants… and plants need us!
So maybe you, or someone you know, has a bit of plant blindness. Don’t panic, there are known treatments for this affliction! It may just take a little intentionality to re-train the brain. Make an effort to notice and appreciate plants and encourage others to as well! Check out plants from around the globe at one of our local botanic gardens. Buy some seeds and try your hand at growing. Take photographs of plants. Go on hikes in different seasons and notice how our lovely natives change through the year. Make a point to read a book or magazine article that focuses on plants. And of course, Oxbow has plenty of opportunities to surround yourself in plant awareness! Visit our Plant Sale and adopt some plants of your own; come to one of our Family Farm Days and explore our children’s farm, living playground and hiking trails; or come Volunteer and learn more about native plants and restoration. Spring abounds with opportunities to learn and appreciate our photosynthesizing friends!


**please note the nursery has a new phone number: 425.419.6068**

We are quickly selling out of many species this spring, but will have these and many new species available in the fall. Click here for our current availability and wholesale price list:
Plant Availability
Let us know what you species you would like to see us growing in the future.

We hope to see you in a couple weeks for our spring Native and Edible Plant Sale, May 9 and 10, 10am to 4pm. It will be a celebration of Mothers and Mother Earth! Besides a wide array of native trees, shrubs and perennials, we will have veggie and flower starts, and Oxbow veggie seeds and popcorn for sale. Bring your kids and sign them up for a farm tour adventure while you shop, bring a picnic to enjoy with your family afterwards.

All inquiries, contact Bridget, nursery manager,, 425.419.6068

Plant Spotlight: Siberian miner's lettuce

A delicate little spring-emerging annual, Siberian miner’s lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) truly earns its other common name, spring beauty. The woodlands up the hill from Oxbow are currently filled with these very sweet plants, interspersed with bleeding heart and fringecup, they make a beautiful spring understory display. Siberian miner’s lettuce leaves and flowers are also edible and make a lovely salad.
This plant prefers to be in deep or medium shade, and moist to wet soils. Green to bronze lance-shaped leaves (cool botany word for this = lanceolate) are semi-succulent and form a basal clump, that usually pops up sometime in March or April. Soon after leaf emergence, small clusters of flowers rise above the leaves. From the vantage point of standing, they appear white, but if you look closely they have adorable pink candy stripes on their white petals. Once blooming is complete, the seed capsules form, and inside are some of the most beautiful little seeds, they look like shiny black jewels!
Typically found in rich, moist soil, in forest understories, edges and streambanks, miner’s lettuce is wonderful in a shady border area. Plants are usually annuals, though will self-sow and spread, not aggressively, to create a nice area to harvest some plants to eat, as long as you leave some to go to seed. Since it dies back in the summer, it is best mixed with a few other species. Many people with shady yards where it may be challenging to grow most veggies, appreciate this plant as a source of some spring greens. Look for our 4” pots of miner’s lettuce at our spring plant sale to add to your yard.

Opportunities to Work With Us

A huge thank you to the 17 volunteers who came out on April 11 to work on our native hedgerow!!  Despite warnings of wild weather, we had a nice sunny day and were able to plant over 150 native plants and also grub out a HUGE patch of blackberry roots, Yay!  Thank you also to King Conservation District, who partnered with us to make this happen!
Next up in our second Saturday volunteer restoration events will be May 9, in partnership with PCC Farmland Trust. We will continue planting natives in our hedgerow project and would love your help! In a wonderful coincidence, this is the first day of our plant sale, so you can come join in the festivities after we work!  Can't make it May 9? Put June 13 on your calendar, when we will work with Stewardship Partners.

Sign up for our volunteer email list

Consider having your club, corporate group, or other group out for a volunteer work party.  No better way to bond than grubbing blackberry roots! Please contact our volunteer coordinator if you would like to be a part of a restoration-related project.
Notice and enjoy the plants, 

Bridget, Carson, Kelly and Doria

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