Alstroemeria Kitty
Zoë's Gardening T-shirt
Zoë Whigham

We are a small family-run business, growing high quality plants that you can count on to be healthy, vigorous and ready to plant. As landscape designers and nursery-folk, we offer a selection of tried and true garden performers, as well as many new varieties that excel for easy care, long blooming periods, year-round interest, and most of all, for versatility.

When you visit or call us, chances are you will be greeted by one or more of these friendly and conscientious folks:

Welcome, Old and New Friends of Digging Dog Nursery…

Time moves swiftly, and our ever-changing landscapes mark its passage. As the plants settle into their wintertime slumber, visions of next year's gardening season are already taking root and our 2018 Digging Dog catalog is fresh off the press. We hope you'll put your gardening chores on hold 'til tomorrow so you can leaf through the pages of our 26th edition, which includes well over 90 new selections in addition to choice older offerings from years past.

These remarkable plants promote either versatility, exceptional beauty, long-lasting intrigue, or an enduring, easy-care fortitude. Of course, their ability to charm garden mavens and beneficial pollinators alike in an array of locales across the country is a must. A few of this year's favored recommendations follow.

Amidst the perennials, you'll unearth floral and foliar enticements, such as the ornate purplish red domed flowers of Astrantia ‘Midnight Owl’, the white-blooming Baptisia ‘Ivory Towers’ or Asclepias ‘Ice Ballet’s luminous butterfly-friendly umbels. The Japanese Wood Fern unfurls otherworldly black-stemmed croziers, shiny evergreen fronds, and an upstanding princely aspect for shady niches. American denizens Rudbeckia ‘Viette's Little Suzy’, Phlox ‘Chattahoochee’, and aromatic Salvia ‘Winnifred Gilman’ all interweave plucky mettles with unwavering good looks.

Many of the ornamental grasses we've added debut graceful silhouettes and prismatic allure. A Texas-born toughie, Andropogon ‘Lord Snowden's Big Blue’ sprouts a powder-blue and mauve-infused habit, while the Queen of our mid-Western prairies, Sporobolus heterolepis affords coppery orange blades in autumn plus urbane fine-hewn inflorescences that delight the birds. Enjoy the sculptural corkscrewing leaves of Juncus ‘Big Twister’ coupled with Molinia ‘Transparent’s lacy light-catching floral haze.

Why not beef up your garden by adding more shrubby backbone? Both lustrous Little Leaf Kinninnick and sweet-smelling Daphne ‘Lawrence Crocker’ are low-growing evergreens. Promising a visual feast, there's Clethra ‘Ruby Spice’, whose showy flower spikes perfume the late season border, Malvaviscus arboreus's exotic turban-style vermilion blooms, and the plump brilliant red berries of Hypericum ‘Compact Red’.

Maybe you're on the lookout for a sterling vine. Clematis such as century-old C. armandii ‘Snowdrift’, bestowing an avalanche of luxe vanilla-scented blooms, lavish midnight-purple flowering C. ‘Romantika’, or the enchanting steel-blue bells of C. integrifolia ‘Blue Boy’ easily fit the bill. Or maybe you need to dampen street noise—Aristolochia durior's tropical-looking visage swiftly furnishes a handsome verdurous screen.

Your ongoing support, encouraging compliments, helpful insight, and welcome visits have assured the continued success of our business. We are extremely grateful and truly appreciate each and every one of you, our much-valued customers and kindred plant lovers.

Our gardens serve as living sanctuaries where we can sojourn in a natural realm. They give us the opportunity to feel humbled, surprised, or awestruck, while nourishing ourselves, our loved ones, droves of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, as well as song birds and other wildlife.

All of us humans here at the nursery, along with the lone kitty, Parker, and our pups, elderly and lovable Neptune plus spunky Boobah (who at 8 ¼ pounds has become our self-appointed nursery overseer) hope you experience the joys of digging in, strolling through and nurturing a garden of your own.

May our plants inspire you with their myriad possibilities and give you good reason to linger outside just a little longer!

Deborah Whigham & Gary Ratway
Owners, Deborah Whigham & Gary Ratway
Deborah & Kiva
Deborah and Kiva, the original Digging Dog.

Digging Dog in the News!

Favorite Plants for the Mendocino Coast
From from the Fort Bragg Advocate-News and Mendocino Beacon, March 20, 2014

A prominent garden blogger, Kristin of LandFieldSky, tours the nursery and brings her camera: “Digging Dog Nursery” in Garden Lust; One designer's musings, longings, and observations about all things garden, style, plant, and good, September 24, 2011

Another photo tour by a gardener/blogger, Donna of “Digging Dog Nursery – Worth a Visit!” August 5, 2013.

The nursery and surrounding gardens are featured in the eight page article: “American Dream” by Kate Frey in Gardens Illustrated (sorry, long-past issues do not appear available), July, 2009

A photo-tour of the nursery grounds by photographer Karl Gercens: “Digging Dog Nursery,” May 7, 2011.

The cover of Martha Stewart Living, and article: “Paths to Greatness” by Susan Heeger, photographs by Marion Brenner, pages 139-147, Martha Stewart Living (sorry, no images or articles available), March, 2006

“15 Years of the Best Gardening Sources,” Martha Stewart Living.

“Secret Garden: At Digging Dog Nursery on the Mendocino Coast, there's much more than what first meets the eye”, by Meg McConahey, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, June 17, 2006

"Digging Dog Nursery, a rare jewel, with a fully conceived landscape… features a wide variety of plants from all over the world…": “Digging Dog Nursery unearths unusual plants”, by Miriam Owen, San Francisco Chronicle, September 9, 2006.

“Digging Dog Nursery in Mendocino,” Petaluma's BlogTown USA, Sue Wilcox, Petaluma Argus Courier, September 28, 2006. (Great photos of the Digging Dog gardens, a detailed discussion of Wilcox's visit to Digging Dog, and info about Gary's garden design and Deborah's unusual selection of plants.) "If you're the sort of person who likes out of the ordinary plants, the garden path less traveled leads through this nursery." ~Sue Wilcox

Fine Gardening Magazine's September-October 2006 issue lists Digging Dog Nursery as one of its 8 favorite destinations for plant shopping. Fine Gardening, Garden Variety, page 18, Sept.-Oct. 2006.

Visit Digging Dog

Please fill out our Registration Form to receive news of updates to the web site, availability of new plants, give us your feedback, and to be on the mailing list to receive future printed catalogs.

Digging Dog Nursery Grounds
  • Catalog Navigation Menu Top
  • Perennials at Digging Dog Nursery
    • Perennials: Acaena to Anthemis
    • Perennials: Anthriscus to Astrantia
    • Perennials: Baptisia to Cynoglossum
    • Perennials
    • Perennials: Fallopia to Gunnera
    • Perennials: Haloragis to Inula
    • Perennials: Kirengeshoma to Morina
    • Perennials: Nepeta to Pulmonaria
    • Perennials: Rheum to Succisella
    • Perennials: Teucrium to Yucca
  • Ornamental Grasses at Digging Dog Nursery
    • Grasses: Acorus to Deschampsia
    • Grasses: Elymus to Uncinia
  • Shrubs at Digging Dog Nursery
    • Shrubs: Arctostaphylos to Halimiocistus
    • Shrubs: Hebe to Weigela
  • Trees & Vines
  • List by Genus
  • Gift Certificates
  • T-Shirts
  • Gift Cards & Etchings
  • Slideshow
  • Gallery
  • Catalog Navigation Menu Bottom

Latest News

There does not seem to be any news today. Check back later!

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Our featured plant: Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’

A sprightly spring prelude, Fetching February flowers and foliage!

Shrubs for a sprightly spring prelude...

The dainty late winter blossoms of the following deciduous shrubs are a hopeful signal that spring is around the corner. Corylopsis pauciflora offers dangling fragrant primrose-yellow blooms amid graceful branches, while the Flowering Currant produces long-lasting richly colored flowers followed by bird-friendly berries. 

In the realm of evergreen shrubs, Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ celebrates some of the most vibrant brick-red foliage among the species. Dusted in blue, The Dwarf Port Orford Cedar’s finely dissected gray-green needle-like leaves sculpt a dense slow-growing mound of artfully cascading branches. Both shrubs furnish a deer-resistant small-statured year-round presence that appreciates adequately moist, somewhat acidic niches.

Fetching February flowers and foliage...

While the blooms of Teucrium, Correa and many Hellebores open in January, they're still dressing up our garden in February. A handful of Brunnera flowers peek out by the middle of the month against a backdrop of welcome unfurling foliage. Of course, once the dazzling pendulous Corydalis flowers appear they tend to steal the show. We hope you'll be smitten by at least one or perhaps many of the plants that we featured in this newsletter.

All of us plant wranglers at the nursery, along with Boobah, our wee greeter and self-appointed nursery manager, and shy kitty, Parker, wish you countless happy hours digging in a garden of your own! 

Digging Dog Nursery Right Border