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Far West Bulb Farm is a parttime project owned and run by Nancy and Ames Gilbert. Many years ago, we had a completeline California Native Plant Nursery, but were unable to make a reasonable return on our investment of time, money and energy. This meant getting "regular" jobs (Nancy is a landscape designer with 25 years experience, and Ames is his own boss, making electrical assemblies). So, we scaled back to just one deep interest, Native Bulbs. They have a great advantage, they don't need constant summer watering! We grow every bulb from seed, and our primary aim is to "get them out there", since many of their habitats are threatened by development, and we feel that we are doing an emergency service until we as a society come to care and value them more. For this reason, we are not genetic "purists", and we do export them outside their range. If we were to be "pure", we would only offer some species for sale within a tenmile radius of their collection point; such are the sometimes radical genetic differences between subspecies in California.
We also plant out many bulbs and seeds along roadsides in our neighborhood (Nevada County) for the same reason; we are trying to establish niches where they can survive for the time being, and the steeper banks on backcountry roads are pretty good places. They are publicly owned, can't be grazed by cattle, are difficult to graze by other critters, and are harder to be dug up by gardeners who don't know or care that it is illegal and antisocial to do so. We plant them above the county herbicide "spray line". And, we hope people who are going slowly enough can enjoy them.
Every bulb is grown from seed, and is a minimum of four years old; the lilies are at least seven years old. We travel thousands of miles to find populations that can spare the little seed we take, and cycle between populations each year; although some seed we can gather from nursery mother plants if we can guarantee their purity (some species hybridize freely).
Ames seeding bins in winter.
Nancy appreciates a L.washingtonianum.
Our mailing address is:
Please note: the nursery is not open to the public. We just don't have the time for tours. Thanks for your understanding.
Part of the nursery in early spring.
Finally: we took all the photos on this site. We also made this website ourselves (thanks to Allyn Carman who taught Ames the basics at the spring 2002 Sierra College web class with such kindness, patience and tact). So, we welcome constructive feedback; we're the ones who can do something about it! Tell us about broken links, useful sites we should link to, general look and ease of use of the site, and of course, anything on the subject of California Native Bulbs, bless them all!
(We took the photographs digitally using a Nikon Coolpix 990 camera. We manipulated the photos in Adobe Photoshop 7.0. and constructed this site in Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0 on an Apple G4 Macintosh dual 800Mhz)
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