Gardening is all about localism; to grow plants successfully we need to garden where we live. Sounds obvious, but the banana/canna tropical rage - mostly killed off (quite literally) in the tough freezes of the last three winters - was nothing if not climate denial. Or perhaps the triumph of imagination over reality, until winter bared its fangs, anyway.
Which brings us to fruit, and why you should buy local to ensure you end up with fruit-bearing trees and plants that will actually ripen in our climate. We're lucky enough to have two fabulous fruit nurseries nearby - Raintree in Morton, and Cloud Mountain Farm, which is opening for the season on February 1st.
The folks at Cloud Mountain tell us they'll have bareroot fruit trees available next week, strawberries by February 10th or so, raspberry canes in mid-February. They suggest calling to make sure what you seek is ready before driving to the Farm to pick it up - 360-966-5859. Cloud Mountain features fruit and nut trees and native plants, Japanese maples, and a gorgeous setting - be sure and check out the new Mott's Pink Apple, with watermelon pink spring blossoms, and two new varieties of high bush blueberries...
And here's a good reason to make the trek north to Everson (near Bellingham) - Cloud Mountain offers free Saturday workshops, beginning Febrary 5th, where you can learn to prune fruit trees, grow grapes and berries, and incorporate Northwest native plants into your garden. The February 5th workshop is on growing apples and pears, 10:30 a.m. to noon. Dress warmly, as you'll be outdoors; this workshop, with information on how to renovate older fruit trees as well as how to prune newly planted dwarfs, will be repeated February 12 and March 12.
Through June, Cloud Mountain retail hours are Monday-Saturday 10-5, Sunday 11-4. To learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org; 6906 Goodwin Road in Everson.