Cultus Bay Nursery and Minter's Earlington Greenhouses were two independent nurseries that supported my early endeavors.
coming from Whidbey Island. I remember meeting her for the first time while we were still living in an apartment back when I was 14 years old and the autumn of 1996, I was hit by a car crossing a crosswalk and had a cast on my arm as we met and discussed details of this garden.
She picked me up and took me to my first ever trip to Whidbey to see her nursery and select plants for the display. I remember it was a very cold, damp day, yet we walked her gardens and I didn't realize it then, but this was my very first foray into plant selections and made me truly understand just what a specialty nursery was. "People come and complain why I don't have petunias and pansies."
Many of the plants I didn't really know then, but it would take years of study, visiting gardens, and garden friends sharing little bits and starts of their plants that I would expand my interest and admiration for all things unique and not commonly available.
I made an effort to reach out to Mary again and have, at least, a handful of her choice plants to feature in my display. During a recent visit, we had an opportunity to catch up and look back at the last 15 or so years since I first visited her nursery. It was a special treat and I couldn't be more pleased to know such a creative, generous, and really wonderful person and a small specialty nursery with a most outstanding display garden to be represented in my garden for the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show.
(Photo to the right) Mary shows me a lovely and very rare willow called Salix fargesii. Known for its lovely red stems and prominent buds during the winter time, it is exceedingly slow to propagate, but it's one she hopes to keep a small stock of for her customers of avid gardeners.
|They still produce most of their own plants!|
|A rare golden selection of Saxifraga stolonifera from Minter's.|
As rough and dilapidated as the walls may be, the desire to grow and propagate their own materials and still keep an eye out for the rare and unusual was still very evident. The desire to experiment and revive old growing techniques and methods long abandoned by today's gardeners who are all about convenience, low-maintenance and sustainability. At Earlington Greenhouses, a cool and beautiful plant was still a cool and beautiful plant.
Catching up with Paul and chatting with his partner, Ron, after all these years was a treat. I appreciated how things were still the same and the concept of a local community garden center is still alive.