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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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Surprise in Des Moines!

We met a friend from Seattle in Des Moines, WA for lunch on a Saturday a few weeks ago. On the way to the restaurant, we kept seeing these signs.  On the way out, we decided to follow them.  What could it hurt, right?

Established in 1907, Zenith Holland Gardens is the oldest continually operating business in Des Moines.  They specialize in quality plants ranging from hardy perennials to culinary herbs, colorful annuals, sedums, ground covers and hanging baskets.  The gardens house eleven greenhouses on just over an acre of land.


While they are primarily a wholesale nursery, they are open to the public every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through September and the website says that they'll be open Fridays from September on.  There was also talk about beginning Christmas sales in November so I wonder what they carry then?   
Winter pansies just getting started.

You can view their retail price lists to see what is currently available here.  I'm a fan of  fancy leafed geraniums!  

Let us say together the words that Danger taught us,  "There is always an Agave!"  In this case lots of agaves!

There were only two varieties but in such numbers.  

Cassia didymobotrya was new to me and the larger print on the tag read "Popcorn Cassia"  I learned  later from this post  that the crushed leaves smell like buttered popcorn.  The tag listed the hardiness as zone 10 or 11 so I  didn't get one.  


All sorts of interesting perennials.  Zenith Holland is about plants.  You won't find garden do dads,  yard art, pots, glow in the dark solar powered glass orbs, etc. here but what you will find is lots and lots of plants (difficult to contain the delight.)  I'm looking forward to my next visit!

This is a wonderful place definitely worth adding to one's list of regular stops!  It's proximity to Furney's nursery is nice because you can easily visit them both in the same afternoon.  


I was interested in some of the interesting ferns they were growing but didn't see them on the retail price list.  The folks there were very friendly but I didn't want to bother them with price inquiries.

Aren't they cute?

This one, whose name I forgot to write down, was especially sweet looking.  Perhaps I'll have to go back on Friday.

If the nursery was this full near the end of August when most retailers are putting  their perennials on sale, imagine what it must be like in the spring!  To borrow a line from California's former governor, I'll be back! 

20 comments:

  1. Zowie! That's a lot of plants! (I didn't know there was another Des Moines! Wonder if there are more than 2?)

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    1. Their may be more than two. In French it's pronounced (roughly) day mwahn, the place in Iowa is duh moyn, and the one here is pronounced duh moyns. Crazy.

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  2. Nice to know about another nursery, good job for being the investigator, Peter! Great looking place.

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    1. I look forward to going back. I'd imagine as a wholesaler, they move a lot of plants through!

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  3. If I ever start a nursery, it will look like this for sure -- loads of plants, few "doo-dads". Probably not so many agaves though. :)

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    1. You should give agaves a chance Alan, they'll grow on you.

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  4. What a wonderful discovery, so one of the agave is obviously a parryi, do you remember what the other is? I can't tell from the photo. Delightfully spiky though.

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    1. I don't remember, sorry. I'm seeing more and more agaves showing up in nurseries these days. Have they always been there and I ignored them?

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  5. Thanks for the heads-up about this place--I'd no idea!

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    1. Having the retail price list online is great for checking out the offerings pre visit, too!

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  6. What a cool place! I can always rely on you to go exploring and to post about it.

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    1. One of the joys of blogging and reading other blogs is discovering fun new places to supply our plant addiction.

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  7. Quite an arresting sight, seeing so many agaves like that. Great find Peter!

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    1. If a little is good, more is better, right?

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  8. We've known about this nursery for a long time but didn't know about its open days or its extensive retail plant list. Cool.

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    1. I wondered if you were familliar with it since it's closer to your neck of the woods. It'll be fun to visit again!

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  9. Now I'm wondering what the number of nurseries per square mile is in Oregon and Washington?

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    1. One per five square miles is the law here. It's part of the building code. If you're building a housing development, it is required that you provide an appropriate drainage basin, sufficient parking for residents and guests, a specified amount of open space, and at least one nursery per five square miles:) It's sort of like the one percent for art provision for state funded capital projects. You mean it's not that way in sunny southern California?

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