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's endless carousel of fleeting days and seasonal changes swiftly ushers another gardening year to its finale. As the landscape lies dormant beneath frost-covered mulch, dreams of warm breezes, verdant growth and fresh ideas are already germinating. Digging Dog's 2020 catalog has finally arrived, featuring an exceptional collection of 90 new plants accompanied by coveted older selections.

We welcome you to wander through our 28th edition with the hopes you'll discover offerings that sprout inspiration, brighten your mood, and cajole you into your leafy sanctuary. Distinguished by multi-seasonal appeal, exquisite beauty, acquiescent habits, or heroic temperaments, these versatile plants will flourish in a variety of environs throughout the country, and as an added bonus, many of our species sustain birds and beneficial pollinators. You'll find a handful of our must-have recommendations listed below.

To enjoy a splash of prismatic allure in a perennial planting scheme, you may wish to showcase Geranium ‘Blue Blood’, the scintillating silver-imbued leaves of Astelia ‘Silver Shadow’ as well as Sanguisorba ‘Crimson Queen’s Merlot-hued bottlebrushes. Another star not to be overlooked is Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’s debut of vivid peachy-orange blooms. Perhaps water-wise Agastache ‘Tango’ can enliven a hot sunny nook, and for moist shade-dappled abodes ensconce the exotic-looking flowers of Helleborus ‘Jade Dragon’.

Earning kudos amid the realm of ornamental grasses, there's Carex ‘Straw Hat’, waving sprightly flaxen-hued inflorescences above a fine-hewn semi-evergreen mound and the petite presence of Deschampsia ‘Pixie Fountain’, while Andropogon ‘Rain Dance’ struts spectacular reddish purple bloom spikes plus fiery scarlet and burgundy autumnal blades. A queen of refinement and a bird's delight, Sporobolus ‘Morning Mist’s innumerable red panicles sojourn above a tenacious golden-orange habit in fall.

Shrubs bridge the gap between smaller herbaceous plants and towering trees. For a celebration of phenomenal flowers consider Enkianthus ‘Showy Lantern’s pendulous red-streaked pink and cream-colored blooms along with the enormous Astilbe-style white panicles of Sorbaria ‘Sem’ and Deutzia ‘Strawberry Fields’s ultra-feminine picotee-edged rosy-magenta blossoms. You can also broadcast a bold tropical theme by spotlighting Abutilon ‘Nabob’s large forest-green leaves and marvelous dark maroon floral bells, or nestle diminutive Lavandula ‘Super Blue’ into a dry garden where space is at a premium.

Reliable legacies to the future, trees promote a gratifying stability. Carpinus cordata presents handsome heart-shaped leaves, big fruiting catkins, and uniquely fissured coal-gray bark for year-round interest. Outstanding climbers include Passiflora ‘Snow Queen’, which hosts a months-long butterfly fête of luxe, pure white flowers, and the award-winning Clematis ‘Blue Angel’, whose heavenly, pale sky-blue flowers exhibit a silky finish with ruffled margins.

An upcoming gardening season evokes excitement and anticipation, accompanied by the prospect of possibility. Questions arise: How do I feel strolling through my botanical retreat? What would I like to change? When considering these queries, we're always buoyed by what famed Mexican architect and engineer Luis Barragán once said, “A garden must combine the poetic and mysterious with serenity and joy.” Now that's something to strive for!

Your ongoing commerce, steadfast support, and helpful comments have enabled us to continue nurturing these wondrous plants we grow for you. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to you, our valued customers.

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.

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 TheRadishPatch.com: “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.

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Digging Dog Nursery Grounds
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  • 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
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Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Our Featured Plant: Crocosmia ‘Zeal Tan’

Captivating Crocosmias, Plants that Dodge to Dog Days of Summer, 2020 T-shirst have arrived!

Captivating Crocosmias!

Crocosmias boast a bounty of late summer color as our gardens transition into autumn. Displayed on the ends of gracefully arching spikes above winsome sword-like leaves, the clustered tubular flowers range from yellow, peach and orange to fire-engine red. The prismatic tones meld well with white-flowering Hydrangeas and perennials such as Selinium wallichianum, Actaea simplex 'Atropurpurea', Alcea 'Polarstar' or Aster 'Bridal Veil'. The yellow and melon shades sparkle amid the blue blossoms of Aconitum, Caryopteris 'Longwood Blue', Perovskia 'Blue Steel' and  Aster 'Little Carlow'. For sizzling fun you could create a hot border, intermingling them with Kniphofia 'Bee's Sunset', Helenium 'Potter's Wheel' or Helianthemum 'Fire Dragon'. Be sure to add some to your next cut arrangement!

Commonly known as Montbretia, they do their best when provided with good drainage, moderate moisture and some protection from hot afternoon sun. Please feel free to check out our extensive collection of Crocosmia cultivars in the perennial section of our online catalog.

Dodge the Dog Days of summer….

with plants that pack a punch of blooms and alluring leaves at this time of year. By late August, our borders can look a tad tired and may be in need of some sprucing up. Adequate moisture and an additional application of compost will ensure late summer vitality. You can trim perennials, such as Nepetas and Geraniums, and savor their fresh new growth plus a flourish of blooms, often until the first frost! We hope some of the plants featured in this newsletter lift your spirits and maybe even inspire a little awe as summer wanes. 

All of us Digging Dog plant wranglers wish you Happy Digging and good health.

Digging Dog Nursery Right Border