Nursery Visit: Bosky Dell Natives

Even with hundreds of plants waiting to be planted at our two-acre "blank slate," I had to go shopping. Blame my inner plant addict, but I had to get out of these four fence posts and buy a few more plants. A trip to Bosky Dell Natives was in order, especially as these muscles were ├╝ber sore from four straight days of schlepping wet compost.

Off we go!

One of the many corners of the nursery. Lory Duralia has collected architectural remnants for years and shows them throughout the nursery and her home, which is on site. Here's a great article from Oregon Home magazine featuring her very special home.

Lory is the mastermind behind this amazing place. She is a true steward of the earth and passes on a bit of that to every customer who walks into her wonderland. She has single-handedly built this business from the ground up beginning some 25 years ago. It's an amazing place: Fields Creek, part of the Tualatin River, watershed runs through the property. It has been completely restored - invasive plants have been removed and natives planted in their place. She now sees cutthroat trout. She also has many endangered red-legged frogs as well as tree frogs. There are chickens, birds, bees, salamanders, all manner of wildlife calls this haven home.

I have been shopping here for many years as well as purchasing her plants from Portland Nursery, and I can say that as stated on her website, she does indeed have over 300 species of native plants for sale, most propagated on site. Wow, that's quite a selection. She's passionate about every one and can tell you everything about them.

A variety of conifers and grasses.

There are many trees here, both deciduous and evergreen. Lory has created a list of 10 native woody plants that every person in the Northwest should be familiar with, here's a link.

Balled and burlaped vine maples ready to be taken home.

Another greenhouse at Bosky Dell.

Details...and a lot of stained glass. This place really sparkles in the sunshine. Even on a rainy old day it still has magic.

So, if you were looking for a particular native plant, this is the place. There are a few other very noteworthy native nurseries, Echo Valley Natives is one (a separate post for the future). Today is dedicated to Lory and Bosky Dell.

From a sea of plants, the sales trailer on the left as well as greenhouses can be seen. The red barn is, of course, a chicken house.

If there's a nook or cranny, it is filled with animals or plants or stained glass.

Lupinis rivularis or stream bank lupine.

The shade house.

I almost purchased one of these kinnickinnick/manzanita hybrids...maybe next time.

The property is huge, many paths of trees fan out from the central nursery area. 

Seed-grown Jeffrey pine.

Worm leaved stonecrop.

Although it wasn't raining, everything is soaked and muddy. That's just true for all of  Portland.

Vaccinium ovatum or evergreen huckleberry, a tried and true evergreen shrub for the area.

Architectural details abound.  

A stand of quaking aspen.

Licorice fern, Polypodium glycyrrhiza.

This greenhouse is of the "open air" type. See the Juncus (grass) in the middle? There are many self-sown plants all over the place here. In fact, chances are you will get a few volunteers in your purchase. It just comes with the territory.

Yes, there are several grasses native to the Pacific Northwest. Here's a link to a list on her website:

Carex deweyana, Dewey Sedge
Carex obnupta, Slough Sedge
Carex rossii, Ross' Sedge
Carex stipata, Sawbeak Sedge
Deschampsia caespitosa, Tufted Hairgrass
Eleocharis ovata, ovoid spike-rush
Eleocharis palustris, Creeping Spikerush
Elymus glaucus, Blue Wild Rye
Festuca idahoensis, Idaho Fescue
Juncus balticus, Baltic Rush
Juncus effusus, Common Rush
Juncus ensifolius, Dagger Rush
Juncus patens, Spreading Rush
Koehleria cristata, June Grass
Luzula parviflora, Small-Flowered Wood Rush
Scirpus acutus, Hard-Stem Bulrush
Scirpus microcarpus, Small-Fruited Bulrush
Typha latifolia, Cattail

Lory clearly cares deeply for all animals--birds, too. 

Native plants often get a bad rap. They don't show particularly well in nursery pots most of the time. There also seems to be two dominant schools of thought on native plants. One is that they are the only thing worth planting and the other is that natives are irrelevant, that every plant is a native somewhere and plants simply adapt to their environment so plant what you want. On both of these thoughts I say this: Many native plants here in the Pacific Northwest are just plain gorgeous and totally worth growing for a variety of reasons. While I am certainly no purist (but an enthusiastic cheerleader), I can see when walking in the wild places of this world that the undisturbed native ones are simply magic. They feel right. In my mind there is room in every garden for at least a couple, if not for wildlife and balance, for sheer beauty. It is in a place such as Bosky Dell that you can see mature examples in nature and in Lory's garden and see what those scraggly plants in nursery pots will one day turn into.

Inside another greenhouse.

I loved seeing this. Little acorns destined to become large majestic Oregon white oaks.

Being a Penstemon lover, I am always pleased with her selection of native species.

A sea of yarrow.

Just us chickens roaming around here...

And here...

And here.

Meaning, of course, grass is a pretty huge resource sucker and requires amazing amounts of water. It does not give back, either. That is to say it does not provide any environmental benefit and runoff from fertilization pollutes our watersheds. There are other options. 

Along the stream bank this lovely fence caught my attention. Rustic and  innovative.

A place to sit by the stream. Lory encourages education at her nursery and invites groups to come and explore. What a fabulous idea for school children to get in touch with nature. 

The stream, now restored. 

I visited in the dead of winter, but as you can see there is plenty to explore. I highly encourage nature lovers and gardeners in the area to visit Lory's nursery. Spring is an especially vibrant time as the Oxalis is up, the Trilliums are, too, and the flowering currant is visited by hummingbirds and bees alike. The ferns are green and tender and it's just plain fresh and fabulous.

Oh, and my haul. I went to get Viburnum trilobum or high bush cranberry. I featured it a few times from the old garden (you can revisit that post here) and well, I just love the plant. I don't want to dig it up to take to the new garden so I bought three from Bosky Dell. I also bought a coyote bush, an orange honeysuckle or Lonicera ciliosa, Douglas meadowfoam, Limnanthes douglasii and yellow-eyed grass...**sigh** more work for me but this kind will pay off big-time in the not-so-distant future.

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens. What follows is a photographic list of a few of my favorite plants she carries along with descriptions...I thought it would be a fun way to explore many of these plants and have a different kind of virtual tour. 

Thank you for reading and until next time, happy gardening!



  1. It looks like a nice place to get lost in and it's hard not to get the plant shopping itch in February, when spring feels almost within reach. How I wish I could grow that Veratrum! Sadly, it needs more water than I can provide.

    1. Plant itch plant itch! Indeed, I get it badly in February as we all do, I'm sure. The Veratrum, I need to get one of those...someday!

  2. What a cool place! Love the rustic look. Great selection of plant!!

    1. It is very rustic and full of love and plants!!

  3. Great photographic tour! Bosky Dell has been on my list to visit but, as with most places, I haven't gotten to it yet. This post puts it much higher on the list. I love native penstemons, too! I've also been wanting to find Viburnum ellipticum, which is adapted to drier conditions than trilobum, though I want to plant some trilobum in the moister areas, too.

    1. Thanks Evan! It's a fun trip, worth the long drive to West Linn, for sure. Penstemons are great, she's got a nice selection - especially in spring/summer. I love the Viburnums, they are among my favorites for all-season interest.

  4. I've stared and drooled at the Bosky Dell website. It's on my bucket list. Great post!

    1. Ooh, me too - drooling, that is :) I hope you get out there someday.

  5. Anonymous1:46 PM PST

    Beautiful article. Thank you so very much! Lory

    1. Thank YOU, Lory for a wonderful passionate lifelong offering to the public. You are the best!!

  6. The whole place has that Handmade Houses of the 60's vibe...wonderful!

    1. It is sooo cool. Come out for the architecture alone if you're not into plants...!

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  8. Anonymous2:24 PM PDT

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