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Friday 30 July 2010 - Filed under General

Jungle Fever Exotics
A few weeks ago I had a to drive up to Seattle for a conference. I figured there surely must be an opportunity for some plant ogling along the way. Loree tipped me off to a place she’d heard of – Jungle Fever Exotics in Tacoma.
They don’t have a website, I couldn’t find hours online, I wasn’t even sure they’d be open on a Sunday. For my Seattle friends who may be able to visit, I noted their hours: Mon – Sat 1- 6, Sunday 11 – 5, April – August. I found someone’s blog from 2008 raving about a January visit, and even then, it was an inspiration. Nurseries you can count on for a wintertime pick me up are worth their weight in gold. I’ll definitely stop by again when I visit the in laws in the area over the holidays.

Jungle Fever Exotics
Uncertainty aside, with a name like Jungle Fever, it was worth the gamble. Clearly there is a passionate gardener at work. Really, even if it had been closed, it wouldn’t have been a disappointment. The garden that spills out of the fenced nursery is reward enough.

Jungle Fever Exotics owner's garden
The owner’s street garden behind it would definitely stop traffic if it weren’t hidden away off the main street.

You must remember, if you get a chance to stroll the sidewalk of this garden, to look up and spot the Tillandisias tucked into the tree branches.


And the gorgeous peeling bark of the eucalyptus.

Jungle Fever Exotics owner's garden
I wondered how one could have such an enthusiastic, bursting at the seams sidewalk garden, without spilling into the walkway…

rebar plant fence
The secret appears to be creative use of rebar. Who was it who recently talked about their plantholderbacker? The entire sidewalk here is edged with plantholderbackers.

opuntia potsii
And oh yes, I almost forgot, plants you can take home with you. It’s not the biggest nursery around, but you can find plenty of plants to fall in love with. I had a soft spot for this opuntia potsii in bloom.

Homalocladium platycladum  (Tapeworm Plant, Ribbon Bush)
I like nurseries that stock plants that are utter curiosities, like the tapeworm plant, or more politely, the ribbon bush (Homalocladium platycladum).

Inside, there was tillandsia heaven. This one came home with me.





Vashon ferry
For extra fanciness, Jungle Fever is right next to the Point Defiance ferry terminal. We continued on our way to Seattle via Vashon Island, which includes two ferry rides and a short beautiful drive through the island, and it sure beats taking I5 through Tacoma. Business trip win!

2010-07-30  »  megan

Talkback x 9

  1. Pam/Digging
    30 July 2010 @ 10:27 am

    I like that rebar trick for holding back the plants. It blends in so well it’s hardly noticed.

  2. Liza
    30 July 2010 @ 1:10 pm

    Are you guys hiring? Haha, just kidding. Love the tour of the nursery, thanks!

  3. Karen
    31 July 2010 @ 9:57 am

    Glad that you and Loree both made the stop-off at Jungle Fever! I am going to have to plan a field trip, maybe with the SAGBUTT faithful. Thanks for searching out the hours and posting them, funny that they don’t have a site. Maybe they could hire you and Loree to make one for them…??? Well, they should!

    I haven’t ever taken that Pt. Defiance ferry, although have done the Vashon crossing many times. What a cool way to skip that dreary stretch of RV dealerships and other sad ugliness. I-5 between Portland/Seattle has got to be one of the most hideous lengths of road in the world!

  4. Karen
    31 July 2010 @ 9:57 am

    PS Love the tapeworm plant. Hilarious!

  5. ricki - sprig to twig
    31 July 2010 @ 11:44 am

    I’ve had a photo of the tapeworm plant tucked in my wish list for ages, but have never seen it in real life. Nice to see this nursery through a second set of eyes (Loree’s being the first). They may wonder why the sudden onrush of Portland customers.

  6. Loree / danger garden
    31 July 2010 @ 2:42 pm

    I really enjoyed seeing your take on the place, and what an eye! I totally missed the tillandsia in the tree. I thought the re-bar was a nice touch, and well done. The sidewalk still looked so lush yet was easy to navigate. I look forward to your winter report.

  7. Grace
    31 July 2010 @ 10:41 pm

    These plantholderbackers are much less intrusive than my pulled apart magazine rack. I love how you can’t even seen them as you look down the walk, just tidy lush plants. To die for plants.

    I’ve picked up and put back what I think is the Tapeworm plant twice now because of its marginal hardiness. I need a heated greenhouse or I need to be more risky.

    Thank you for the tour!!!

  8. Laura
    1 August 2010 @ 12:38 pm

    I really like the one poking out of the shell on the shelf! Curiosity’s indeed! You two are making me itch for a cross border adventure. Jungle Fever sounds great!

  9. Peter
    6 August 2010 @ 6:09 am


    Thanks for the gorgeous pictures of Jungle Fever & Jerry’s garden! That place, close to where I live, is a one man show & he does a great job of helping with my own “plant lust!” Next time you do the Vashon crossing, there are a couple of nurseries there that are worth visiting, Dig and Cathy’s Corner.
    Some day, when you and Loree are feeling adventurous, you must visit Kingston (Dragonfly Farms Nursery – just up the street from Heronswood) and then proceed to Port Townsend. Port Townsend is home to some wonderful Victorian bed and breakfasts, lovely views of the water, antique shops AND Far Reaches Farms. Far Reaches is sort of Cistus North – Always great, unusual, and rare plants. Kelly, the owner, is a plant explorer and his “not for sale” areas are mindblowing!