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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Specialty Bulb List 2017


                This year is a bit of an abbreviated list, as some pressing summer activities I can’t get away from limited my time for the harvest this year. This year I am very pleased to be offering Diana Reeck’s ‘Pacific Sunset’ strain of Erythoniums. As always, I owe a huge thanks to Jane McGary for stock, advice on growing, the wonderful experience of working in her garden, moving rocks and pulling weeds, and imparting so much of her knowledge about specialty bulbs.
 This year has been setting records for heat waves and rainless summer weather. No big surprise after last year’s prologue, where I mentioned heat tolerance and summer drought seem to be the number one selective pressure in the production line these days. Some bulbs are available only in small numbers so get your order in early. I’ll probably be done shipping in 2 weeks at the most, I’ll update the list as stuff sells out.
The Nursery: Illahe Nursery and Garden is located in the South Salem hills of the Central Willamette Valley of Oregon at 600 feet in elevation. The climate here has been described as Mediterranean, although it really is cooler and wetter. Rainfall occurs here primarily between the months of October and May and ranges between 40 and 80 inches. Temperatures in the winter rarely fall below 20 deg. F. in the winter, but the last few winters have seen temperatures as low as 9 deg. F inside an unheated greenhouse. Summers are generally dry. The Jory loam soil here is deep and extremely fertile. Agriculture in the immediate vicinity is mostly Christmas tree production, vineyards , nursery and grass seed production.

To see pictures of the bulbs, please visit the Illahe blog at www.illaherarebulbs.blogspot.com,  or try The Random House Book of Bulbs by Martyn Rix and Roger Phillips,  or the highly recommended Pacific Bulb Society website.

Size of  bulbs: Bulbs have been selected for large size in hopes of providing flowering in the shortest period possible, but some bulbs are available in smaller sizes and those are listed below. Often newly potted bulbs need a year to settle in before flowering. All bulbs are priced per single bulb, unless otherwise noted.

Hardiness: It is impossible precisely to predict the winter survival of bulbous plants in a given area. My garden is a notorious frost pocket, and although some of the bulbs are grown in an unheated, open-ended greenhouse, many are grown out in the open in raised frames.  Refer to standard authors such as Martyn Rix and Brian Mathew for guidance, remembering that they refer to gardens in Britain, USDA Zones 8-9. It is wise to cultivate new (and expensive) bulbs under cover until you have enough to risk in the open garden, where not only weather but also predators threaten them. (For details, see Jane McGary’s chapter on "Bulb and Alpine Frames" in Rock Garden Design and Construction, Timber Press, 2003.) Unless otherwise noted all these plants can survive at least a few degrees of frost, provided they have good drainage and the foliage is not wet. In areas with snow cover and/or dry winters, they can survive more cold.

Domestic customers:
Ordering: Please send a list by e-mail. All orders are filled in the order received, so get your order to me as quickly as possible for the best selection. Send orders to illaherarebulbs@gmail.com
Shipping: I will bill you for Priority Mail postage.
Payment: DO NOT SEND PAYMENT WITH YOUR ORDER. All bulbs are available in limited quantities and you may not receive everything you want. You will be billed with your shipment, with a Paypal invoice,  so you will receive an invoice in the email and I will ship when you have paid. If the money is not deposited within three days of invoicing your bulbs will be returned to the inventory rack.
International Customers:
Ordering: Send your order via email.  All orders are filled in the order received, so get your order to me as quickly as possible for the best selection. Send orders to illaherarebulbs@gmail.com.
Shipping: I will bill you for first class postage, rate will be based on your order size. If you desire a faster postage rate please let me know this, and I will let you know the rate when your order is ready to be shipped.  I will bill you for Phytosanitary certification, that cost is $45 per order. Due to inspection/phytosanitary scheduling I can only offer a few weeks of international shipping so please place your order no later than August 30th, 2017. Get together with a garden group and do one big order if you are international and that way we can all save money and time! Seriously, it would help me, you, the plant inspector and the postman if we all consolidated a bit.
Payment: International customers will be required to pay by PayPal. Your order will be filled and inspected, you will be sent an email invoice with the PayPal deposit information. When the money is deposited your order will be shipped. If you must cancel an order, please do so promptly. If the money is not deposited within 3 business days, you will be sent a notification email and your bulbs will be returned to the inventory rack. Your bulb order leaves here with Phytosanitary certificate stating that it is free from pests and diseases and therefore not subject to quarantine; however, I do not have any control over the receiving countries’ agricultural inspections, so I cannot offer any guarantee, and the loss should your government hold your bulbs is on you. Please notify me immediately of any issues and I will do what I can.
Remember all bulbs are available in limited quantities, so whether you are domestic or international please realize I sell out of some stuff very quickly, so get your order in as soon as possible. Email is preferred for questions related to bulb purchases.
Please feel free to forward this list to anyone who might be interested.
Thank you,
Mark Akimoff
Illahe Nursery and Gardens
7645 Sunnyside Rd SE
Salem, Or 97306
Allium textile Central United States; clusters of starry white flowers. $2

Colchicum/Autumn Crocus
Colchicum bivonae Sardinia-Turkey, large, tessellated pink flowers, dramatic. $5 Sold Out
Colchicum montanum I need to point out that when I got this when it was called Colchicum pyrenaicum, and now I believe it may be  Merendera. Either way, it’s a lovely fall bloomer with its flowers borne right at soil level.  Spain and Portugal $4 Sold Out

Crocus mathewii To quote Janus Ruksans “among the showiest and most desirable plants of every Crocus collection”. Fall blooming, discovered as recently as 1992 in the Lycian Taurus Mts. of southernTurkey. $7 Sold Out
 Crocus mathewii

Crocus tournefortii Grecian species with lovely lilac, yellow throated fall blooming flowers. Interestingly one of only three crocus species to keep its flowers open at night, presumably because of a night flying or crawling pollinator. $6  Sold Out


Erythronium ‘Pacific Sunset’-This is pretty much unreleased genetic material, a fantastic showy strain that clumps up fast!

Erythronium ‘Pacific Sunset’ strain
Over 20 years ago, Oregon plant breeder Walter Blom created some truly unique Erythronium hybrids.  He kept only the best, selecting for multiple flowers, vigor, and good increasing qualities.  We are finally releasing this first group of his hybrids as Erythronium  ‘Pacific Sunset’.  There are about 8 separate clones in this strain, and they may differ slightly in size or intensity of color, but all have lovely pink flowers with a delicate stain of green at the base, with silvery veined leaves.  They will grow to about 12”, with 2-3 flowers per stem, and increase to larger clumps every year.  1 for $7 or 3 for $20

Fritillaria acmopetala 'Dark Form'
Fritillaria acmopetala ‘Dark Form’ Eastern Mediterranean; $6
Fritillaria amana Turkey; a fast increaser, and a good performer in the open garden. $4
F. caucasica

Fritillaria caucasica JJA 85122 The following excerpt is from the Archibalds’ catalog and while the number I have doesn’t match what I can find in the archives, this should give you some idea of the species and its habitat: “Armenia, Aragats range, Kasah river valley. (F. caucasica as a whole is not often seen in cultivation and we have little, if any, material from so far E in the UK. The species supposedly extends from the cold NE corner of Turkey across Transcaucasia into NW Iran. As we know it in Turkey, it is rather a fine thing with quite large, conical, glaucous purple-brown bells but we have not seen this form.)” Dark bells. $6

Fritillaria davisii Short stems, dark pendent bells, increases well. $4
Fritillaria elwesii Beautiful bells with a dusty bloom on the petals. $4
Fritillaria orientalis Caucasus, checkered pendant bells, easy grower. $4
 Fritillaria pontica

Fritillaria pontica Tall, pale green broad pendant bells, easy lg. $4

F. Pudica “Richard Britten”

Fritillaria pudica ‘Richard Britten’ Larger flowered form of our wonderful native species. $7 Sold Out
Fritillaria purdyi x biflora Robust strain that arose with Jane; these are F2 seedlings, typically will have purdyi-type black-and-white checked flowers on robust biflora-type foliage and stems. $5  Sold Out

Geranium macrostylum ‘Talish Tuberous species collected by Janis Ruksans in the Talish Mountains of Northwest Iran. $4
Iris bucharica ‘Conquest’ lovely white and yellow flowers, a strong grower for me in the raised beds, it’s said to be one of the best for the open garden. $8 Sold Out



Narcissus hispanicus ssp. bujei Spain, bright yellow trumpet, fast increaser and tremendous garden subject. $4
Narcissus romieuxii Pale yellow widely flared “hoop petticoat” flowers, early. $4 Sold Out

 Narcissus watieri

Narcissus watieri From the Atlas Mts. of Morocco, beautiful white flowers.  $6
Narcissus wilkommii A deep yellow Jonquilla species with a large corona. $3
Narcissus x gracilis an assumed hybrid between N. jonquilla and N. poeticus, you can’t really go wrong with those parents, right? $3
Narcissus x odorus Hybrid between N. jonquilla and N. psuedonarcissus  or  perhaps N. hispanicus. Since it has been known in cultivation since 16th century, is it surprising the actual parents aren’t known? $3

Notholirion thomsonianum Kashmir/Himalaya. Winter grower. Superb pink Fls. $4 Sold Out
Scilla mischtschenkoana N. Iran. Large fls, early. $4
Scilla verna For some reason I like to think of this as Europe’s version of the indomitable Camas. $3
Scilla vincentii late, blue or white, small and refined $3
Sternbergia sicula Mediteranean limestone dweller with wonderful yellow fall flowers $5 Sold Out
Tritelia ixiodes ssp. analina California, Sierra Nevada. Very cool yellow-umbel flowers. $4

Carnivorous Plants: I have to ship these as bareroots in moistened peat or vermiculite, with the pitchers cut back or folded over.  Not sure about the viability of International shipping but I will try if you are willing to pay for it.
Darlingtonia californica Oregon’s own unique pitcher plant, the Cobra Lily. This form is incredibly stoloniferous, and has been an easy grower given a cool aquatic root run, these are established quart pot sized specimens. $20.
Sarracenia minor  The Hooded Pitcher from Pine Savannas, North Carolina to Florida. One of the species capable of growing in slightly drier conditions. $14
Sarracenia leucophylla The White Topped Pitcher plant, from bogs and pine savannas from  Mississippi to Alabama, a stunning bug killer. $14
Sarracenia sp. I think this is S. oreophila, but that is really, really rare……???? From cultivated source material, as are all the offerings except seeds. $25

Epipactis gigantea The Stream Helleborine, our native orchid, not carnivorous but often seen growing in the same situations as Darlingtonia californica, in culture it wants the same cool aquatic root run.  These are well rooted 4 inch size, shipped bareroot in moist peat or vermiculite. $12. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Harvest 2017

It's a muggy 90 with ample humdity and a generally miserable feel for an Oregon summer. But the harvest is happening anyway.

Hope to have the list out very soon so keep checking!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Calm Before the Storm

A calm summer evening at Illahe Nursery and Gardens

I've had quite a few inquiries about the availability list so I thought I would offer this update. I'm going to start digging bulbs this weekend, with any luck the list should be out by mid to late next week. I am pleased to announce that I will be offering some of Diana Reecks incredible clumping Erythronium's on this years list so be sure to check back often to get in on that offering. Look through the April posts to see what you can get.

In other news, it's insanely hot here in the valley this week, highs topping 105 today and it's supposed to stay super hot the whole week and into the next. Ugghhhh.....I'm not a big fan.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Where the wild things are part 3 2017

Lillium occidentale ???
More question marks because it seems to fit the bill, but it's not nearly as vibrant as the photos i've seen on the interwebs. Maybe this one was just a bit past prime and fading out, either way, it was about 6' tall, growing in standing water amid Darlingtonia californica, not far from the ocean and near the Redwood groves.

I could totally get into growing and collecting the lilies, since I opened up some more room at the back of the rock garden I might just have to start looking around.


Where the wild things are part 2 2017

No trip to California would be complete without a posting of a Monkey Flower, Mimulus aurantiacus on the path to the top of Trinidad head. 
Spent a little time wandering around the Alkaline fen at Eight Dollar Mountain, According to Jack Poff my old RSB Garden mentor these are the impossible to cultivate ones, because they love the cool, alkaline water flowing through the root run, while the temperature can easily top 100 for multiple days at a time. 
The more coastal strains grow in wet, sphagnum bogs with a more acidic composition and the strain I cultivate is far more amenable to cultivation in the standard peat/sand mix that most pitcher plans can take. This is a Del Norte Coastal population near the Smith River.

More lily pics coming soon.


Where the wild things are 2017

Lilium wigginsii??? Question marks because I'm not super up to speed on my western lilies of which there are many, this one seems to be the likely culprit growing on the margins of boggy Cobra Lily habitat among Pepperwoods and Madrone.

The Kiddo and I headed out for a summer 1000 mile road trip to eventually wind up at a family reunion in Lake County California. Along the way we decided to hit up some of the old Kalmiopsis/Siskiyou area I grew to love so much during my backpacking plant hunting days. 
Anya contemplates a stand of Del Norte Darlingtonia californica. The habitat is really so unique and the plant never ceases to amaze me every time I see it. I have been propagating this species for awhile now and it will be one that will be available in limited numbers in this years catalog. 
The sheltered anchorage at Trinidad is a unique place for sea farers
I think I have another close up of that Lily, which I think may be Lilium occidentale growing out of a patch of Cobra Lilies deep in the Coastal fog belt of California's Redwood habitat.

Catalog update! I'm starting harvest in the next with all luck, Please be advised I'll be offering a smaller list this year due to some pressing summer activities, I have to harvest, catalog and ship in shorter timer period this year as well, so look for the catalog and be prepared to order quickly or miss out until next year.

Sunny Summer days and temps in the high 80's to low 90's.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

The summer bulbs

Calochortus clavatus ssp.clavatus

Not an easy one to photograph. Just a little catalog update here. I hope to start harvest sometime around the first of August. It's a busy summer for me so it may be a bit shorter list then usual but hopefully we will dig up some treasures that everyone seeks.

Summer is here with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s....the berries are coming on strong now!


Monday, July 10, 2017

Totality is a Rare Thing!

If you have never experienced a Total Solar Eclipse this summer offers you a chance.

I am working with some bicycle camp organizers to host a fun campout this summer as the path of a Total Solar Eclipse passes right over  Illahe Nursery and Gardens.

If you ride a bicycle and want to experience this event in a beautiful setting please join us you can get Information here:


and tickets here:


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Calochortus argillosus-The Clay Mariposa

The Mariposa Lilies really have to be considered some of the most stunningly marked plants ever. This one is endemic to the Central Coastal California area and as it's common name suggests it inhabits stiff clay soils.

Back to cold and damp after the false entrance of summer. Chilly, rainy and temps in the low 40's to mid 60's.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Dietes bicolor

A quick trip down to Las Vegas to visit some old friends and I run across some cool plants.

This was in a strip mall promenade. Cool plant

101 in the shade down here it feels like!


posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, May 26, 2017

It's another Monkey flower....errrrrr, Diplacus

Mimulus (Diplacus) tricolor

I've wanted to grow this one ever since it showed up on the Oregon T&E lists. Apparently it was once a common inhabitant of the Willamette Valley Vernal pool wetlands complex. But of course the march of progress and humanities incessant conquering of nature for development of land has left much of it's habitat plowed under or paved over.

Hoping it sets seeds because I want to get it established in my ditch, which is as close to the vernal pool as I can get.

Sunny skies and warm weather.


posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Using a negative to accentuate the positive doesn't always work

Cypella herbertii

Exquisite isn't it?

I have pretty eclectic taste in plants and I often tend to steer toward the muted and understated. I think because you have to look a little closer to see the beauty.

The pitchers are coming on strong with the heat.

Darlingtonia californica, forever and always my favorite native plant.

I have missed a few golden opportunities in my life. I often get told as a result that something better is coming along. So I guess it kind of harkens back on the title of this post. I feel like I might have missed a golden one this past week. I guess I should have been more positive, but then again you can put lipstick on a pig right and it doesn't become Audrey Hepburn. No, you gotta call it what it is and you trust people to see potential. I guess it's lack of vision that has always bothered me the most. I'm a dreamer and a schemer and I get shit done. When I bought the run down old farmhouse and decrepit Cherry orchard that was turned into Illahe Nursery and Gardens I got nothing but negative energy from the people with no vision. Ten years gone and people stop along the side of the road to stare.......you gotta have vision to see that the negatives can become positive.

75 and sunny a light breeze....doesn't get much better than this.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bulbous Respite

This time if year I get pretty busy in the vegetable garden. The last few years I took it easy on the production scale. But this year is different. August 21st the sky will be blackened by a total eclipse of the sun. A million people that would normally not be here will descend on this tiny little swath of the Willamette Valley.

And I hope to profit off them as much as I possibly can! Better have extra food to sell this year!

Got in a fun trip to Dancing Oaks Nursery this weekend, thanks to a good friend for inviting me along.

Got some good stuff for the summer garden.

9o degrees today in Salem. I guess it's not a record but it's warm for the week before memorial day.


posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Camas forms

Camassia quamash

Years ago I seeded an upland prairie patch on the property with a diverse mix of forbs and graminoids. The idea was to maintain a patch of the property as close to precontract vegetation as possible.

The forms of camassia from this seeding are highly variable and it's fun to see different forms becoming established throughout the property.

The upland prairie patch itself has established very nicely and now offers a showy color display with very little annual maintenance.

Cold this morning. Felt like in the 40's, but they say we are gonna hit 90 next week.


posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fritillaria biflora Grayana

Seems like this name is getting harder to find when you search the internet. It's one of the latest flowering if the California complex that likes to hybridize with Purdyi.

Man the rock garden is looking good right now. Most of the species Penstemon are starting in well know.

 I think the gardener as a profession might just be dying out. You still see the vestiges of knowledge here and there standing almost as last bastions, sentinels to the incoming tide of change. Now it's all mow and blow outfits manicuring suburban lawns and azaleas hedged into spherical orbs. Sigh........I've always thought the Gardener is the best job in the world. You get to change the world​ one plant at a time.

Ramble on....it's off and on rain today and in the 50's now.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

I can't call em all Diplacus!

Mimulus pulchellus

I guess we are supposed to call them all Diplacus now....I'm sorry I just don't know if I can do it. I mean really you could spend a lifetime learning plant names and then a botanist comes a long and you have to start all over again.

In case you needed a scale reference. Those who know me best, know my torrid love affair with monkey flowers. This one has been on my list for a long time now. Grown it, flowered it, photographed it....now to get seed of it. Monkey flowers for me represent that first found passion. I used to pour through the the monograph, dreaming about the next seed collection trip and the new sites and habitats that meant exploring.

Back to cold and rain. I saw it snowed in Bend this weekend..... Spring say no I won't go.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The last affinis

This is the latest of the Fritillaria affinis to bloom.

It's also one of the most robust, fighting it's way from under the spreading canopy of the rhododendrons.

I've offered this dwarf Iris for some years now, without a proper id on it. I got it originally from the Rae Selling Berry Botanic garden where it grew for years in the rockery in front of the house steps. A customer sent me an id of Iris sauveolans.

Spelling needs to be updated there.

Finally spring arrived 75 degrees and sunny today!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fritillaria liliacea

The Fragrant Fritillary
I hope I have mentioned here before a book called "Two Years Before The Mast", While there is no description of the plants, he writes about San Francisco bay before it was shortly conquered and developed for during the gold rush days. It's a really great read especially if you are at all interested in early coastal California history. Most of this species native habitat is now gone and you can see why if you read the book, 

F. liliacea with F. agrestis in the background.
The raised beds are full of flowers now, the temperatures have really moderated as well. It felt like frost was in the air on Thursday night, but so far we have dodged the bullet. Off and on showers for some of the weekend, but a bit of it was dry. 


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Past

There certainly are more bright and shiny things happening this time of year as we inch closer to spring. Easter has come and gone, which is usually the heralding of spring proper here in this part of Oregon. Or at least tax day usually means we are frost free at this point. Time to start planting some vegetables.

It was sunny this weekend and beautiful out on the ocean.

Anya and I spent Easter off the coast. She has become quite the Fisher. Crazy to think back on the days I carried her around in a backpack fishing Eagle Creek and the Clackamas River.

Oh how the time does fly. And because I could not stop for death.....Yada yada...You know how it goes.

It rained today, but mostly late in the day.