Lory Duralia, owner-operator of a unique nursery enterprise specializing in Pacific Northwest native plants, said she has always wanted to be a farmer. She was able to secure the land, but with little money, early on faced a choice between purchasing a car or a tractor.
She chose the tractor and started building her dream.
Duralia, a single mother of two, managed to purchase the original 1-1/3-acre parcel that has become the 2-2/3-acre Bosky Dell Natives in West Linn, Ore., to realize that dream and fill a nursery niche.
With several full- and part-time employees and the help of “a handful of sub-contractors,” she has since maintained Bosky Dell Natives as a thriving world of trees, bushes, flowers and other varieties of nature’s bounty enjoyed by native Pacific Northwest peoples for hundreds of years and European settlers since the time of Lewis and Clark.
But growing West Linn and environs has changed in the time between her purchase two decades ago and today: “I used to live in the country. Now I am the country, living in the city,” she said.
Structures on the property when she bought it and new structures she has constructed have a whimsical, eclectic vibe in keeping with Duralia’s creative and colorful sensibilities, aways with an eye toward bringing a harmony of nature and wildlife to her efforts.
With a passion for preserving native plant habitats, she began her business by collecting (“rescuing” she called it) native plants — by permit — from forested areas slated to be developed into housing complexes. The plants were brought to Bosky Dell Natives for propagation, educational use and wholesale and retail purposes.
In addition to plants already thriving on the Bosky Dell Natives nursery land, she gathered species such as yellow wood violet, ferns, elderberry, bleeding heart, trillium, bilberry and ginger. Bringing them to her nursery, she planted, tended and took care of them to where her business now encompasses more than 300 varieties of Pacific Northwest native plants.
She has spearheaded efforts to restore the native plant riparian habitat of a small creek that borders her property in order to “purify” its waters so it can support more plants and fish, frogs and other aquatic animals that require clean water.
Other projects on the property make it more accessible for visitors, customers and other partners in her ongoing wild plant and animal survivor efforts.
An older structure and the area on which it was built are now bedecked with pastel paints and outfitted with repurposed found objects. In it, she has built what she called “an owl apartment.” Soon, a “chipmunk playground” will wind throughout the ancient plants.
Another focus — on educational opportunities — includes hosting school tours to teach about the use of native Pacific Northwest plants for landscaping. She said her website was “designed to be used as a tool to assist children, teachers, and stewards of the earth with valuable information.”
With that focus, she provides native plants to schools for students’ fundraising efforts such as school plant sales. They bring back what they did not sell, which then becomes a wholesale opportunity for Duralia’s business.
“Our whole mission is to inspire people and encourage them not to give up on restoring the earth,” she said.