The clever double-entendre in the name Branching Out Nursery refers to the growth of the plants and business, as well as to the ongoing mission of owners Jon and Sofie Wilkes to offer a wide variety of unusual plants not regularly seen in gardens in the region. The Wilkeses began the nursery 25 years ago with the goal of introducing a broader array of shrubs, trees and flowers, with an emphasis on edible plants, to see what would grow and thrive in the various climates around the Wood River Valley.

    “Branching Out was established to fill a need for greater plant variety than was available at the time,” explained Sofie Wilkes. “Being on the forefront of new and improved plants that are suitable to our valley’s challenging growing conditions has enabled us to offer more varieties of flowering trees and shrubs, unusual conifers and ornamental trees, native and ornamental perennials, and a greater selection of fruit trees.”

    Wilkes explained that new, hardier varieties of plants are continuously being developed, and that her husband, Jon, a landscape designer, master gardener and arborist, determines if and where in the valley they can flourish. Jon Wilkes’ landscape design business, Second Nature, works in partnership with Branching Out Nursery.

    “As our name implies, Branching Out has grown and developed into a full-service nursery and landscape business,” Wilkes said. “Jon works directly with clients in design, supply, installation and maintenance, with the bonus of having the appropriate plant material available at the nursery for his clients to choose from. All styles of gardens can be created. Whether it’s streamlined Contemporary, sculptured Formal European or whimsical Cottage gardens, the selection is here.”  

    Students from the local schools come to the nursery to harvest fruit, much of which is donated to various organizations such as The Hunger Coalition.

    “Branching Out isn’t just a business—it’s a way of life, connecting to our community and the wonderful valley we live in,” Wilkes said.

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