Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Christianson's Nursery...and Some Excuses

Pam at the blog Digging says that October is Support Your Independent Nursery Month, and she is posting every Wednesday in October about a different nursery in the area of the country where she lives, which is Austin, Texas. (Check out her post today here.) So I thought I would join her and write a blog post about Christianson's Nursery in Mount Vernon, Washington, in the beautiful Skagit Valley.  Christianson's Nursery contributes a display garden every year at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle, a display that often is a crowd favorite. My blog post last February showed vignettes of their garden at the show, titled A Day Well Spent. After my brief visit, I'm looking forward to seeing their display in 2012. I only had about an hour to spend here a little over a week ago. The Skagit Valley is about an hour and half's drive from my home south of Seattle, and I had dropped my husband off at the Tulalip Casino (a posh casino on the way), where he was celebrating his birthday by playing Blackjack (and where we celebrated together later with a wonderful evening meal).

The old-fashioned checkout counter in the Garden Store area of the nursery sets the tone for the rest of the visit.

The counter and much of the shelving in the Garden Store was reclaimed from another historical seed store in the area. The store also boasts an old fir floor and windows salvaged from Roosevelt High School in Seattle, as well as doors from various old structures including a church in Portland, Oregon.

The store is jam-packed full of interesting stuff!

Aren't these rather Gothic-looking hose guards cool?

I should have bought this clay chicken. Do you think it will still be there if I go back?

I could have spent a small fortune there, or in the Antique Shop next to it, which is also part of the nursery.

I loved how these branches went up and across the ceiling!

Every building and greenhouse had bird cages, with occupants. Despite the fact that it was a cool, blustery day, inside it was toasty warm.

These budgies were quite loud and chirpy, till I got ready to take their picture, then they gave me the stink-eye.

I was fascinated with this large aviary which was outside. It was covered with several different flowering vines.


Mina lobata

I don't know the name of this one, but I love its leaves!

There were doves inside the aviary.

The Propagation Greenhouse at Christianson's Nursery was built in 1946 and was originally used to propagate rhododendrons from cuttings. When I was there it was full of tropicals like Meyer Lemon trees and exotic annuals like angel wing begonias.

In the 1970′s the nursery lowered the roof to cut down on heating costs and the Greenhouse became a fiberglass house. In 2006 they restored it to its original proportions using vintage and salvaged materials, such as glass windows and salvaged greenhouse doors, shelving and a pantry cupboard from an old farmhouse in Mount Vernon.

Love the old sprockets and chains.

The nursery also uses the greenhouse in the winter to force plants for its Northwest Flower and Garden Show display.

Also on the grounds is the Meadow School, an old one-room schoolhouse built in 1888 near the Skagit River, and subsequently moved to the nursery in 1996 to be used for classes and events.

The Schoolhouse is surrounded by a lovely rose and perennial garden, but unfortunately, it was past its peak when I was there. I was fascinated by this border, fronted by espaliered apple trees, which still had fruit hanging on them.

I had a wonderful time wandering the nursery, taking photos. Unfortunately I didn't realize it at the time, but right next door to Christianson's is La Conner Flats, a farm stand and eleven-acre English country garden that is open to the public. Well, I'll just have to go back, in the spring or early summer,  when everything is blooming!

And now for the excuses promised in the post title. You may have noticed that I have been MIA from the blogosphere for the past month. Sometimes life just gets in the way. Occasionally, when I do blog posts, I can knock them off relatively quickly. But most of the time, and especially for a post like this one about Christianson's, I like to do research, and take lots of pictures and then sort the pictures and upload them to a photo hosting site, etc., etc., etc. For me, writing blog posts is a lot of work and time-consuming. I just haven't had the time and energy to devote to it lately.

You may remember me mentioning that we were going away on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We did that at the beginning of September. (If you want to see pictures and hear about the trip, you can visit my other blog The 40-Pound Chicken Challenge.) Right on the heels of that trip was a delightful visit from some old friends from Massachusetts, who were about to embark on their own 30th anniversary Alaska cruise. Following that was oral surgery for my husband, from which he is still recuperating (fortunately, the birthday dinner at Tulalip came just before the surgery). I will continue to post, I have plenty of pictures and lots of ideas, and I'm still busy in my garden.

When we went to Tulalip for my husband's birthday, he asked me what I wanted for my birthday, which is coming up in December (just 3 days before Christmas, in fact.) I told him for my birthday I wanted a trip to Portland, Oregon. "In December?" "No, I'll go in the spring, but it will be for my birthday..."

Well, we'll see. I hear the Portland area has some amazing nurseries.