Fern Hill Nursery and Botanical Sanctuary

Cottage Grove, OR
Sanctuary Stewards: Devon Bonady and Brian Basor

Fern Hill Nursery and Botanical Sanctuary is nestled in the Southern Willamette Valley of Oregon, between the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges. The land ranges 500 ft in elevation, encompassing 52 acres of diverse native forestland. Stands of native medicinals have grown wild on the land for many generations including: woods Oregon grape, tall Oregon grape, cascara sagrada, red root, trillium, and yerba buena. We have also introduced many medicinals to our forest and cultivated gardens including: yerba mansa, white sage, goldthread, coneflower, nettles, and black cohosh.

We are beginning to develop native “nurse” beds in the forests and meadows according to the needs of specific natives. We hope to divide and propagate by seed from these individual beds. Our intention is to spread the plants throughout our sanctuary more effectively and also have extra to share with fellow native medicinal plant enthusiasts.

We are increasing the biodiversity of our land by using non-toxic, non-mechanized management techniques. We propagate plants like Oregon grape into patchy forests, yampah under oak groves, balsamroot onto exposed slopes, large camas and mule’s ear into wet meadows. We found that by smothering the competitive and exotic tall meadow fescue with mulch, natives like the harvest brodiaea poke up from underneath! This season, we began experimental burning with hope that we can suppress exotics so the natives may thrive again.

We love to share the sanctuary by offering tours of the land and nursery and leading herb walks at our seasonal open houses. We are preparing to teach over fifteen workshops throughout 2009, with topics including native plant restoration, medicinal herb cultivation, and native food and medicine plants.

Away from the Sanctuary, we like to do outreach. We sell native and medicinal plants from our nursery at the local farmer’s market. It’s a great time to interact with the community and answer questions about our land and what we grow. We offer landscape design and consultation for urban and rural people interested in incorporating more native and useful plants at their home.

Our goal as land stewards and members of the UpS Botanical Sanctuary Network is to play a positive role in developing our own culture and the land into a more diverse, productive, and integrated ecosystem. We believe that through careful observation, biological awareness, engaged monitoring, and thoughtful management practices, we can tip the balance of ecological succession in a direction that benefits wildlife, increases biodiversity, promotes food and medicine production, builds soil, and deeply engages us as humans living on earth. We like to live and work as an example of what is possible and invite others to learn, share, and enjoy with us! We welcome you to visit us in person or at www.fernhillnursery.com.