Our Story


                                        Edward Vollack surveying his yard in Reliance, Wyoming.


    Collecting Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus)

    Collecting Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus)

     Reliance Seed takes its name from Reliance, Wyoming, which my paternal grandmother and her family left for the Pacific Northwest in the late forties, drawn by the promise of work and the beauty of the country. My grandmother's own grandfather, Edward Vollack, was a machinist for Union Pacific Coal Co. who, in his spare time, coaxed a lush, prize-winning garden out of the harsh southwestern Wyoming landscape. Over many early mornings in the garden, he gave my grandmother a love for plants and their care, which she in turn passed on to me. Without this lineage, without the example of her resilience and wonder, this effort and much else would not have come about.
       Reliance Seed also owes a debt to my time working and learning with Scott and Dixie Edwards at Watershed Garden Works in Longview, Washington. Since 1989, Watershed has been a retail and wholesale nursery specializing in Pacific Northwest plants. Early members of the native plant industry, Scott and Dixie have, through years of hard work and vision, created a remarkable place, touched many lives, and done an incalculable good to our landscapes. You can find a link to their website on the resources page.

        During my time at Watershed, I found myself drawn to seed collecting and propagation, and saw the need for more avenues of native seed supply as restoration efforts and public interest continue to grow. When I first thought about native plants, it was a sophomore biology project, pasting specimens onto pages, and I was struck by the way that simple task transformed my vision. Undifferentiated masses of green, brush flashing by my daily life resolved into a dazzling variety of names and aspects. The world shifted.  Handling these plants in their various stages, finding them in the wild, revisiting sites through the seasons, these species have become familiar faces that bring me solace and delight. I hope I can spread that around.

                                                                      -Austin Brigden