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

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Weekday Visit to Sky Nursery

Last Friday morning had a crazy, shaky start. Most weekday mornings for me start with a drive down to the train station to drop Nigel off as he heads off to work. We leave the house around 7:20 and I'm usually gone for not much more than 20 minutes. (I'm sure that's more than you ever wanted to know about my morning routine, but anyway...)

Last Friday, there was a lot of traffic on Route 410, which is pretty much the only way down off the plateau to Sumner where the train station is. But there was a very bad car accident, which had snarled the traffic horrendously. (I read later in the day that it was a double fatality, so sad.) As it turned out, there was no way we were going to make it to the train station in time for Nigel to catch his train. There's another one a half hour later, but I wasn't sure we would make that one either.

There's another way down the plateau, but it's longer and more convoluted. But given the traffic, I thought it might be faster. Apparently others had the same thought, because it wasn't. As we sat in yet more traffic, we made the decision that I would just drive Nigel all the way into Seattle to his work, and then venture onward to Sky Nursery in Shoreline, just north of Seattle. I had actually been planning to make my way there later in the day, so it wasn't that hard of a decision to make.

But instead of getting back to the house in 20 minutes, I got back around 2:30 in the afternoon. And I had a car full of plants. (I also made a stop at Central Market in Shoreline, which is my favorite grocery store of all time, so I also had a car full of wonderful nummy fuds, like fresh Penn Cove mussels, which I made for dinner).

So...Sky Nursery.

The first nursery I ever went to after we moved here four years ago. When we first moved here, we rented a house a short distance from Sky, in North Seattle, so it was basically my neighborhood nursery. It was a bit different then. It was much smaller, and they were still building their enormous greenhouse through which you now enter. Back then, you entered through a door in the small wooden building which they now use to house their statuary. It's been more than a year since I was last there, and it's the first time I've been there in the height of the gardening season since we moved down to the South Sound area.

I was very favorably impressed. I think they are well on their way to giving Molbak's a run for their money as the premier Seattle area nursery.

Sky Nursery's relatively new greenhouse

There's a door into the greenhouse, but it doesn't open. You enter through their shop.

The shop is chock full of displays like this, full of tchochkes.


Sky has, in my opinion, the most extensive array of seeds of any area nursery, with displays by many seed companies that I think of as catalog sales only, like Baker Creek and Kitazawa.

From the shop, you enter the greenhouse, which contains almost all their annuals and perennials, as well as a small enclosed area for houseplants and tropicals, and a large selection of pots and garden ornaments. The greenhouse is so big, it's hard to get a good photo of it overall.

A lovely Coleus display

Including this, which isn't a Coleus. It's Perilla 'Magilla.'

I was quite taken with this huge succulent pot and handled urn.

Very clever, the way the red-tipped Echeveria echoes the Agave.

Inside the greenhouse are these quirky, but rather spendy little tool huts.

Almost $2,000!

Cheery poppies

For only $3.99, now everyone can kill their very own Lobelia tupa.

Amusing to me now, I found myself captivated by this interesting Ligularia.

Pretty purple veins?

Dark, almost black legs?

Are you wondering what this cultivar is? It's 'The Rocket.' LOL It was a lesson in the subtle attractions of older varieties.

This colorful patchwork metal kitty is not a patch on Joy Creek's Yowler.

Enormous fuzzy Salvia argentea leaves

Tolmie's Penstemon, a native I had never heard of. They had a good display of Northwest natives, including quite a few that I wasn't familiar with.

This display, and the next, were inside the houseplant/tropical area.

This fuzzy Ech seemed stroke-able

From there, it was outside to the shrubs, trees and statuary

Just one aisle of many in the shrubs and trees section of the nursery

Plenty of colorful Japanese maples

The yellow quilted leaves are Corylopsis spicata "Golden Spring'

So tempting!

On the way into the statuary was this rack of great industrial-style rusty trellises

I want that female face on the bottom. I don't know what I'll do with it, but I want it.

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with S, which I've seen a lot of on danger garden. Also pretty spendy ($99.99)

Outside in the rare spring Seattle sunshine was this sweet little water feature

Lots of roses -- not my thing, but if it's yours, you can find plenty to choose from here

So, what plants did I fill the hatchback with?

From the top at 12:00, moving clockwise --  Two Hakonechloea macra 'albo striata', Helenium 'Tie Dye', Caltha palustris 'Himalayan Snow', two Calochortus tolmiei, Echium amoenum (Red Feathers), Agastache 'Summer Fiesta', Perilla Magilla, two Ligularia Osiris Cafe Noir, and the four in the center, Pink Lemonade blueberry, Eremurus 'Cleopatra', and two Amsonia hubrichtii

White Marsh Marigold

Helenium 'Tie Dye'

Hakonechloa macra 'albo striata'

Closeup of Calochortus flower

And two more that I almost forgot about:

Primula veris 'Sunset Shades' and Tolmie's Penstemon

Primula veris 'Sunset Shades'

Tolmie's Penstemon

I also bought a handful of seeds, and two Dahlia tubers, both called 'Bracken Sarah.' The Dahlias were being sold by the Puget Sound Dahlia Association, rather than mass-produced commercial tubers, which in my experience are not reliably viable. These Dahlias were produced by local Dahlia aficionados, so I have high hopes for them. They already had sizable shoots growing up out of the tubers, so I potted them up immediately.

Dahlia 'Bracken Sarah'
Thus ends another exciting nursery visit!