You thought it was Your grandma’s garden? And she? And he? They thought it was THEIR grandma’s garden? Is this why the ‘Christianson’s’ nursery display garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden show-2011 attracted so many admirers? Is this why we were all standing in front of it, nostalgically eyeing rustic outbuildings, old bike and watering cans, gnarled wood and plants, plants, plants…
Actually, the creators of the ‘A Day Well Spent’ display presented a unique garden which “depicts a typical family nursery from the 1940s with a rough-and-tumble easy charm ” where leftover plants often took root wherever they were last set down” (from the NWFGS newspaper).
'Once upon a time plants were started from seeds or cuttings, grown in pots or open fields and sold to customers at the same location. These small family nurseries took on an easy charm with leftover plants, bulbs, trees and shrubs sometimes taking root wherever they were last set down. Rows of trees could become permanent windbreaks and lined out shrubs could turn into fences. Seasons influenced the family's life with most of spring taken up with selling plants and the rest of the year with plant production in the growing fields surrounding the nursery.' - Wrote Toni Christianson in the Garden Gazette .
Can you imagine forcing all these bulbs, perennials and shrubs to bloom in February? I read that there is a special collection of mature big plants in the nursery’s greenhouse which are used for forcing and performing at the NWFG shows. When was that greenhouse built? 1946!
Did you notice the wheels on this mini-greenhouse made from old windows?
It was pure pleasure to see blooming tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, snowdrops, pansies, euphorbias and primulas, but delphiniums, roses, lily of the valley and bleeding hearts blew my mind away!
The potting shed made from repurposed materials was full of charming decorations for house and garden. Christianson's nursery, located in Mt. Vernon, Washington, has a wide selection of antiques and old world style things for sale. And where is its gift shop located? You’ll never guess: in the tractor garage! These are some products named in Christianson’s website: antique French and English watering cans, wicker furniture, antique gliders, bath products and salves, botanical stationery, candles made from horticultural oils, etc. As they say, “Everything that we love and can be considered botanical or horticultural by any stretch of the imagination makes its way to our shop.”
Two wisterias drew many Ahhs and Ohhs: Wisteria floribunda ‘Longissima Alba’ (White Japanese wisteria) and Wisteria sinensis ‘Alba’ (Chinese Wisteria).
Cold frames were filled with seedlings in wooden trays.
Blooming viburnums (Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ and doublefile Viburnum), flowering hosta… amazing!
Can fragrant aroma be one of the elements of a display? For me, it certainly was!
The following are my three pictures of Christianson’s nursery taken a couple of years ago. This is our must-stop during visits to the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (dates for 2011: April 1-30).
My grandma's garden was one thing that came to my mind when I saw Christianson’s display garden at the NWFGS-2011. At the same time, it reminded me of the nursery itself. Just look at this building with its white windows! Christianson’s team managed to bring the spirit of their place to the show. I hope to see them at the NWFGS next year. If not, well, Christianson’s is just a couple of hours away from us!school house, the oldest remaining one-room school house in Northwest Washington!
I bought some plants and garden decorations at the show, but what I treasure the most is the feeling of happiness, excitement and nostalgy, the sense of connection with time passed. A peaceful, simple but beautiful countryside would always be a place to return, at least in my mind, to regain energy and emotional strength which is necessary for dealing with the hustles and bustles of modern tech-filled life.
***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS