I met Jon shortly after I came back from China when he attended a lecture I gave for the Northwest Perennial Alliance. Boy, was I thrilled to meet another young nurseryman, but I was more excited to meet a fellow avid gardener and a really kind young man who's become a good friend.
Jon has really opened my eyes to appreciate a group of plants that are relatively low care and can create dramatic effects in the landscape. Ornamental grasses come in a wide array of forms and sizes and since you're not relying strictly on flowers, they are versatile and fairly easy to manage.
Approaching his home and nursery, you are welcomed by two guards of pampas grasses (Cortaderia 'Icalma') that gently sway in the breeze and define the entrance to his garden, home and nursery. Pampas grass is known to be problematically invasive in various areas of the US, but this selection is fairly behaved in the Pacific Northwest. He's only been in this property for a little over 3 years, but the work he's done in that amount of time has been exceptional! Jon has a great eye for composition, this simple planting of Pennisetum with Sedum caught my eye as he explained which cultivars he used. Here he used a form of Pennisetum alopecuroides and Sedum 'Matrona' to create a dramatic display that can actually look good year round! It's a drought tolerant planting requiring very little water once established as well.
Here's the entire composition with the Cortaderia 'Icalma' in the center.
Here are some other scenes from his garden:
Pennisetum orientalis in full bloom.
The popular Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' used effectively as a fence or screen.
A view of his main border.
Jon's operation is still quite small, but he has a poly house full of various grasses and roof garden plants that he's been producing.
Jon and his family used to live up here in Washington in Maple Valley, but decided to relocate to Estacada three years ago. I'm glad to see that they've adapted well to their new surroundings and I hope Jon continues his wonderful work. It's been a challenge getting his business underway with the economy and rural location for retail and the wholesale market is even tougher to break into, but he obviously loves what he does and is thinking about the next stage as a fellow "next generation gardener".