mail-order plants

More and more nurseries are offering organically grown plants for your garden. But some of the more unusual varieties may be available only by mail order, where organic pickings are relatively few. The companies below sell plants that may not be strictly organic – their growers haven’t gone through the official certification process but may still use organic practices – or may not be organic at all. But if diversity interests you, consider buying them anyway and growing them organically once they reach your garden.

Blue Heron Herbary. 27731 NW Reeder Road, Sauvies Island, OR 97231. 503-621-1457. On Sauvies Island near Portland, Blue Heron is a small, family-run business specializing in medicinal plants, with a heavy emphasis on diverse lavender varieties.

Burnt Ridge Nursery and Orchards, 432 Burnt Ridge Road, Onalaska, WA 98570. 360-985-2873. Has a very good selection of fruit and nut trees, Northwest native plants, berries and some unusual plants, all at excellent prices.

Crimson Sage Medicinal Plant Nursery. PO Box 83, Orleans, CA 95556. 530-627-3457.

Cross Country Nurseries, PO Box 170, 199 Kingwood-Locktown Road, Rosemont, NJ, 08556-0170. 908-996-4646. A huge selection of hot peppers (with heat index), sweet peppers, and tomatoes. The website offers growing advice and a handy guide to tell you when it’s safe to plant them in your area.

Fedco Trees, P.O. Box 520, Waterville, ME, 04903, (207) 873-7333. A terrific selection of well-priced, very cold-hardy trees, grapes, bulbs and herbaceous plants. Many from local growers using certified or de facto organic practices. Mail-order only, and only open a few months each year.

Horizon Herbs, PO Box 69, Williams, OR 97544 USA. 541-846-6704. Organic source of medicinal herbs and plants.

Raintree Nursery, 391 Butts Road, Morton, WA 98356, 360-496-6400. An excellent selection of fruit and nut trees, berries, and unusual edible plants from around the world.

One Green World, 28696 S. Cramer Rd., Molalla, OR 97038. 503-651-3005. An excellent selection of fruit and nut trees, berries, and unusual edible plants from around the world.

Peterson Pawpaws PO Box 1011, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425. They only sell six pawpaw cultivars, but are an excellent resource for pawpaw information. Their website includes a link to a fairly comprehensive nutritional analysis of pawpaw fruit put together by the Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program.

Plants for the People, P.O. Box 5, Redway CA 95560. 707.923.5063. Specializes in unusual plants for sustainable landscapes, including edible cacti (yes, in the rainforest!) and bamboo.

Southmeadow Fruit Gardens, P.O. Box 211, 10603 Cleveland Ave, Baroda, MI 49101. 269-422-2411.

Edible Landscaping, 361 Spirit Ridge Ln., Afton, VA 22920. 434-361-9134.

Hidden Springs Nursery, 170 Hidden Springs Lane, Cookeville, TN 38501-9178. 931-268-2592. Family-run nursery featuring “organically grown edible landscape plants for people and wildlife.” Extensive offerings and reasonable prices.

Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery, 797 Port Wooden Road, Upton, KY 42784. 270-369-8551. Highly recommended, offering a good selection of named varieties of nut trees, persimmons and paw paws.

High Country Gardens specializes in plants suited for low-water gardening (known as xeriscaping). The catalog even shows garden plans.

Johnson Nursery, 1352 Big Creek Road, Ellijay, GA 30540. 888-276-3187. Outstanding selection of fruit trees.

Forestfarm, 990 Tetherow Rd., Williams, OR 97544-9599. 541-846-7269. One of the largest selections anywhere of “ornamental and useful plants from around the world.”

Oregon Exotics Nursery, 1065 Messinger Road, Grants Pass, OR 97527. 541-846-7578. Calls itself the world’s largest source of rare and exotic useful plants, and very well may be. Their offerings include subzero citrus, ancient nuts, medicinal plants from the Amazon, and new USDA releases.

Peaceful Valley Farm SupplyP.O. Box 2209, 125 Clydesdale Court, Grass Valley, CA 95945, 530-272-4769 or 888-784-1722> I first learned about PVFS from a friend who recommended it as a source for well-priced tools and soil amendments. But the company also sells seeds and plants, including fruit and nut trees, olives and fruiting shrubs.

Plant Oregon, 8677 Wagner Cr. Rd, Talent, OR 97540, 541-535-3531. A good resource for plants native to southwestern Oregon.