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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Visiting Willow Tree Gardens and Interiors


Do you ever take for granted businesses that are in proximity of  your home?  I know that I'm often guilty of that and Willow Tree Gardens and Interiors, a 15 minute drive from home is a case in point.  There are always wonderful plants to be found there but for some reason, I don't visit as often as I should!  In fact, my last visit was back in December to look at all the beautifully-decorated trees. I shopped here when it was a  nursery specializing in water gardens (20 years ago) and later when it was sold to a new owner, changed names and carried a lot of annuals.  During those incarnations, there was always a cute gift shop next door in a nifty turn of the century house.  Several years ago, the owner of the cute gift shop bought the nursery, changed the name and lots more special  plants started appearing again.  Now the inside part of the nursery (tools, grow lights, gloves, fertilizers, etc.) opens into the cute gift shop and it's a winning combination.

This produce truck certainly is attention grabbing!  Last year, just the bed of the truck was planted but if you look closely, you can see that squash plants will be emerging from under the hood. 

Got a neighbor who won't move his old vehicles?  Make a vegetable garden!

What could be more fun after work on a sunny day than to visit a nearby nursery, camera in hand?


Delighted to see Eryngiums 'Jade Frost', 'Big Blue', and 'Sapphire Blue!'  Lots of nice healthy plants!

This was new to me. Echium amoenum 'Red Feathers' which the tag says blooms all summer, is perennial, and hardy to zone 3. 

Colocasias in large pots looking very full and bushy.  Tempting!

Who doesn't love  indumentum covered rhododendron foliage?  Rhododendron pachysanthum. The new growth is covered in vibrant cinnamon-colored fur that fades to this color.  Notice the plain green leaf of another rhododendron in the upper left corner.


Big lax dogwood blooms make the tree more white than green and seem so carefree as they dance  in the breeze like big white butterflies or like toilet paper the morning after it was thrown into trees by bratty teenagers.

Love seeing these here.  Wish I were more successful with them.

Willow Tree always has wonderful shade plants including a great number of hostas.  here are a few but there were several tables devoted to hostas. Yum.
 
So I'm happily looking at tags and wondering just how long it would be before H. 'Empress Wu' (The largest hosta) would become available.  It's been on my lust list for at least a year, maybe two and I look for it everywhere there are hostas for sale.  What should I see a rather large number of 'Empress Wu'   just sitting on a table at this neighborhood nursery waiting to be found.  Can you believe it?    
Yes!  The Empress in a Proven Winners pot.  They must be very widely available now if PW is growing them!  I was overjoyed to find one!
 
Calocephalus brownii.  Is that a cool grey color or what? 

Another fun surprise this year is Callicarpa japonica 'Snow Storm'   This beauty berry has gorgeous foliage (I'll post a better picture of mine later) which emerges white on purple stems and changes to this cream and green splashed gorgeousness.  This gives beauty berry an additional couple of seasons of interest as the straight green one is fairly dull before the gorgeous purple berries arrive in the late summer.

A view of the interior of one of the houses.

Interesting purple, yellow and pink combination.  Don't you love playing with pots at nurseries to create possible combinations?
 
Variegated Lily of the Valley like the ones in my garden.  The variegation gives the plant additional  interest after the sweet little blooms are long gone!


Here is another plant new to me but a native of Oregon and California.  It's labeled Clintonia andrensian but I'm thinking it's Clintonia andrewsiana that grows on the forest floor and has pretty pink flowers that are followed by metallic blue berries.  I will go back for some of these!


It was nice to see this Polygonatum available locally.  Alison and I have been admiring it at plant sales lately!

Corydalis scouleri which I last saw at Far Reaches Farms is also here. This plant grows very well for me in a large pot in the shade.  (It likes moist feet and much of my shade has greedy bamboo roots in the ground.)

This speaks for itself!

As does this one!

A few vibrant pots illustrating that flowers are not really necessary for a splash of color.

What's in your purse?

Another interesting pairing of Coprosma with a variegated grass. 

Here's a quick look inside.  There is so much great stuff in this old house that you'll just have to go visit yourself.  There's something for just about everyone.  Elegant -

Adorable/Cute -


Fun

 They do shabby chic and beach casual extremely well!
Who hasn't dreamed of doing a table scape like this?  Please pass the...oops no room for food but this is a fantasy, right?

 
There is so much in every corner.  Soaps, candles, room fragrances.  And the seasonal offerings are stellar.  This is a great place to find gifts for a broad range of people!



If none of that appeals, there is a wonderful selection of somewhat less sentimental and cute stuff. 
The napkins reading "You go girl!  And take those tacky shoes with you!" caused me to chortle.





Walking back to my car in a different way than I came in, I was a little disappointed that the tables once devoted to the widest variety of sempervivums and sedums of any nursery in these parts had dwarf evergreens on them.  What a wonderful surprise to find even more space devoted to these great plants.  Willow Tree also carries sempervivums in 6 packs so if you need a lot of them you can get them small and not break the bank!

Wayne's Brain is more interesting than beautiful.

I'll shut up and let you see pictures of some of the offerings. 




 
So much to see in this special place.  I always leave kicking myself for not visiting more often as I never leave empty handed!  I promise to be more appreciative of this great place practically in my own back yard!  Do you have a neighborhood gem of a nursery that you should visit more often?



23 comments:

  1. What a great place! Why have I never heard of it before, given I live a few towns away from you? Now I've gotta go there. The gift shop in the old house is just my style. I would love to do that tablescape. And it looks like they have great plants too. Darn, just when I was starting to make a dent in the plants waiting to be put in the ground...

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    1. It is a great place. They don't advertise a lot but are on a busy street & have a loyal following. Willow Tree, Jungle Fever, and Garden Sphere make a nice Tacoma nursery trio.

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  2. Nice to have a great nursery nearby! I've got Garden Fever which I tend to visit every other week or so, no taking it for granted.

    Congrats on scoring your much sought after hosta!

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    1. It's sometimes difficult to hit all the local nurseries as often as I'd like because there are so many of them!

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  3. I like the idea of guerilla gardening in derelict vehicles. Living in the country, there are plenty of opportunities. So easy to overlook what's right under our noses as we indulge in far-flung adventures, but the nurseries under my nose are hard to ignore.\(Cistus, Joy Creek, Means).

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    1. I was thinking of you when I wrote that last question and almost said something like, we're all envious of Ricki who lives a few minutes from nurseries that some of us drive several hours to see!

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  4. I'm guilty of sometimes forgetting my local nurseries in favour of the larger, out of town ones. There looks like so many great plants on offer at your local though. And who doesn't love to visit the gift shop as well. The amount of cute things I've purchased from them that I didn't really need is unreal.

    I hope you'll nip back there to take a photo of the squash when they have grown from under the hood :-)

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    1. It will be interesting to see how the squash looks growing out of the truck! I've often come home with tchotchkes from this place along with my plants!

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  5. I just bought that variegated grass. They're calling it a fountain grass here, 'Cherry Sparkler', akin to the widely used purple fountain grass, and I'll be interested to see how it does. No "sparklers" to report yet. I love touring nurseries vicariously, and you always photograph a wide variety of plants, so thanks!

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    1. It's always a pleasure to share nursery visits with like minded garden enthusiasts! (plant obsessed people.) It would be interesting to hear how your 'Cherry Sparkler' does!

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  6. Very nice local place, the gift shop is especially well done. I rarely show the gift area on my local nursery visits.

    Glad you found a plant you'd been hunting.

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    1. Thanks, finding that hosta made my day! This gift shop has a lot of great stuff and it's displayed beautifully!

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  7. Great truck! How many zucchini per gallon does it get? Nice selection of Heuchera and the Clintonia sounds really nice.

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    1. Zucchini per gallon! Thanks for the laugh!

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  8. That was a very good result, finally finding Empress Wu in a nearby garden centre. Looks like this place is well worth visiting more often, they have so many gems!

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    1. I can't believe that the plant was there the very day that I commented on your three giants post about 'Empress Wu.' You must be magic. I should consult you before buying a lottery ticket!

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  9. That's so funny...I just saw Empress Wu at my local nursery this weekend too...and was so excited! I don't have room for one...but if I did, watch out!

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    1. It's like they all of a sudden hit the market after not being available. Usually new plants sort of trickle in. Oh Scott, what does "I don't have room for one" have to do with anything?

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  10. I love Clintonia andrewsiana and have seen them in the wild several times during road trips to CA. Love the truck! This place certainly does have something for everyone.

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    1. It looks like a cool plant. I must get out into nature more as there are lots of beautiful native plants that I discover at nurseries instead of I the wild. On the other hand, you can take plants home that you discover at a nursery... This is a fun place for everyone.

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  11. What a great place, great stuff everywhere! I lust for that Callicarpa but unfortunately it isn't hardy in Zone 5, bummer! I'm growing Calocephalus for the first time this year and love it. Great post

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    1. I've admired Calecephalus but never grown it. Sorry about Callicarpa not being hardy in zone 5! Happy gardening!

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  12. Nice place to watch and to buy!
    I'd buy rhododendrons and Variegated Lily of the Valley, I love them as well.Thank you for sharing, Peter!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.