Ron Ratko/Northwest Native Seed

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Peter George
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-03
Ron Ratko/Northwest Native Seed

Does anyone know anything about the current status of Ron Ratko and his seed company, Northwest Native Seed? Any information would be VERY helpful. Thanks in advance.

Sellars
Sellars's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-29

Peter:
My understanding is that Ron has retired from operating his seed business. He was selling seeds at the WWSW in Portland in 2009 but seems to have dropped out of sight since then. I suggest you contact the NW Chapter to see if he might have seeds at the WWSW in Everett WA in 2012.

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

Feature your favourite hikes at:
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Fermi
Fermi's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-03-03

That's a real shame as we got some good stuff from him!  :'(
Doubly tragic as Rocky Mountain Rare Plants has also shut down :'( :'(
I don't begrudge them the time off as it's not an easy business but I hope more seed "companies" open to fill the need.
cheers
fermi

Fermi de Sousa,
Central Victoria, Australia
Min: -7C, Max: +40C

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Hear, hear! I had some superb seed from Ron Ratko and he was extremely generous. The flora of North America, especially the West and California, is so exciting and seed collectors like Ron are one of the few that really open gardeners eyes to it.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Peter George
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-03

I did get a response from Ron, and he IS out of the seed business. Here in the U.S., seed collection is disappearing as a commerical enterprise. We still have Alan Bradshaw @ alplains.com, but besides him there are only one or two left.

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

deesen
deesen's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

Is this one of the ones you meant Peter:-

http://www.southwesternnativeseeds.com/

I see that they stock a couple of Lewisia species.

David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Southwest Native Seeds source some wonderful plants in the wild, and select superior forms. But I probably need to live in the south of France to grow many of them better! I am full of admiration (and a little envy) for those who collect seed in nature. There is nothing like growing a new plant you have only read of or seen in photos, and nothing like the excitement of reading through a seed list!

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Tim wrote:

Southwest Native Seeds source some wonderful plants in the wild, and select superior forms. But I probably need to live in the south of France to grow many of them better! I am full of admiration (and a little envy) for those who collect seed in nature. There is nothing like growing a new plant you have only read of or seen in photos, and nothing like the excitement of reading through a seed list!

Tim, sometimes one gets surprised by plants that are more adaptable and growable than imagined.  From the Southwest Native Seeds list, for years I've had interesting plants growing in the garden such as Amsonia peeblesii, Philadelphus microphyllus, and Potentilla thurberi, the latter a beauty with dark red flowers on 18" stems.

Left:  Amsonia peeblesii   Right: Potentilla thurberii

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Mark - it is really nice to see those two plants because they are both species I was attracted to in the SNS list. I did try the Amsonia and must try again with it; the genus is such a lovely and understated one. The Potentilla certainly should grow well with us. I already have a long list of seed penned down from their online site and am also interested in another site - 'Plants of the Southwest' which sells seeds of some pretty interesting plants.

When you consider the excitement that comes from growing these plants, the cost is really fairly trivial, and the amount you learn about plants huge. I agree with Fermi, I do hope some enterprising and pioneering plantspeople think of collecting seed in the wild - it keeps us gardeners and nurserymen properly enthused!

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Sellars
Sellars's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-29

Tim wrote:

I am full of admiration (and a little envy) for those who collect seed in nature. There is nothing like growing a new plant you have only read of or seen in photos, and nothing like the excitement of reading through a seed list!

Tim:  Well said. It is not easy to collect seed in the wild.  I have found that you have to really know the area and have visited it in flowering season.  For example we were on Iron Peak in the Wenatchee Mountains in June 2010 and found Douglasia nivalis in flower growing at a relatively low elevation.  We went back there this year in August and looked specifically for seed of the Douglasia.  If we had not seen it in flower we would not have known to look for it and would not have had the same confidence in identifying the seed. Happily we collected enough seed for the NARGS seed exchange.  We are lucky we live relatively close to alpine areas and can develop local knowledge.  There is far too much questionable seed in the seed exchanges such as Douglasia montana and Petrophyton hendersonii and we need more wild seed donated to keep the seed exchanges as free of imposters as we can.

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

Feature your favourite hikes at:
www.mountainflora.ca
MountainFlora videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MountainFlora

Fermi
Fermi's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-03-03

deesen wrote:

Is this one of the ones you meant Peter:-
http://www.southwesternnativeseeds.com/

But sadly they don't send to Australia :'(
Mark, that Amsonia is lovely! The one I got from the Seedex as A. jonesii is most likely A. rigidula or something - ice-blue flowers.
cheers
fermi

Fermi de Sousa,
Central Victoria, Australia
Min: -7C, Max: +40C

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