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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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

An Afternoon of Local Surprises

On Saturday, I needed to get a few terra cotta pots so I headed to McLendon Hardware, an institution in Western Washington.  See their interesting history here. The nearest store used to be in Sumner, just down the hill from where Bonney Lassie gardens and not far from Windmill Nursery and VanLierop Garden Market.  McClendon does amazing seasonal sales in their garden department and it was always worth the drive.  How lucky Tacoma is to have been chosen as their newest location.  


The garden buyer here does a great job of finding great plants.  

I'd never seen Brugmansia sold this way (although I'd gotten them via mail order before) and was intrigued.  This rode in my cart for a while but since there are already several huge Brugmansias that have wintered over beautifully in the greenhouse, this would be a redundant purchase so it went back on the shelf.

The story of Talavera Pottery was new to me.


Last time I visited the Sumner store, there was an even larger selection.  (If you need more to go with the ones you got at the show, Alison.)

Another surprise this year has been seeing so many Peony 'Coral Charm' for sale.  This is the favorite peony of Tatyana at My Secret Garden and she's posted lovely pictures of it.  I'd resisted it a couple of times but decided to yield to temptation.

Two other delightful surprises awaited me in the outside garden area.  First, fresh from Iseli Nursery in Boring,  Oregon  were some Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pines, still looking very gold and with the lowest price I've seen for them.  (bit larger than two gallon pot which is usually about $250. for $89.00)  The second surprise was running into a new gardening acquaintance to whom I'd been introduced at the Seattle show.  Nan is a long time Tacoma gardener whose garden I will get to see soon.  We had a great time poking at plants and talking about gardening.

There were lots of terra cotta pots there but I was looking for shallow and large ones to use for agaves so it was off to the box stores but on the way, Tacoma Boys called my name.


This place has great produce and other food and an extensive wine selection but where else can you go and buy plants, pots, potting soil 24 hours a day seven days a week?  You know how it is, you're up at 2:00 a.m. and decide to do a spot of gardening but don't have just the right pot or run out of soil...


Intresting pot shape& the spotty chartreuse glaze is pretty nifty, right Danger?


One of the things I don't like about Tacoma Boys is that they sell their pots at two for the price of one or sometimes three for the price of one; not sure which it is now.  They will sell you a single pot for half price or one third price but the full price sticker shock always puts me off. O.k, so half of 460 is 230 but if it's two thirds off... let's see, 459 divided by three is 153 which is a reasonable price.  Why not just price the pots lower to begin with?

Oh well, on to plants.  Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' always reminds me of this post and its author.  And here it is, at Tacoma Boys!  What the heck, I haven't killed this plant yet and have a head pot in the greenhouse that might like this hairdo.



Finally at Lowes to find the shallow pots.  Riot of spring color 

The outside garden area at this particular Lowes is o.k. but the indoor plant area is quite good.

Opuntia monacantha monstrose 'Variegata' and


Cereus forbesii monstrose, along with some really nice golden barrel cactus  were among the cool plants here.

So, the little errand to get pots turned into a couple of hours of looking at plants.  Worse things could happen. 







31 comments:

  1. I'm looking forward to these types of "shopping trips gone wrong" soon. Right now I'd be disappointed (because of empty tables), but in a few weeks they'll have tomato plants out. Not funny (like those listed pot prices -- ouch)

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    1. Aren't the shopping trips gone wrong fun? I mean, if you changed out of the garden clothes, shaved and showered, you might as well hit as many stores as possible while you're looking presentable, right?

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  2. I've never heard about this store. Thanks, I put it on my list!
    I'm excited to see Coral Charm in stores!!! Such wonderful blooms, changing colors with time!
    Wonderful containers, including those yellow and blue ! I recently bought 2 pots in HD; the price was unbelievably low for their size ($25)! I thought such prices don't exist any more!

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    1. Wow, you got some great bargains at HD! I'm looking forward to seeing Coral Charm bloom in my own garden

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  3. Isn't it just nice that it turned out that way? :)

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  4. A 24 hour food/garden center is too much of an enabler for me. I could easily see myself there at a lot of odd hours. I agree those pots should just be priced down! Sheesh! I love how colorful this post is. Just snow and ice here.

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    1. Sorry about your snow and ice and hope that spring comes soon for you! The cool thing about the 24 hour garden center is that it's mostly a food store so you can tell the non gardener that those charges were all for groceries.

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  5. WooHoo, Talavera! I do need more. And which Lowes is that? I need to shop for pot, er, pots, too.

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    1. The Talavera pots were at McClendon. The Lowes with the good indoor plant selection (most of the time) is the one on Orchard Street in Tacoma, not far from the Home Depot on Center Street that has all the cute little succulents that you told us about.

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  6. Plants make even the most mundane errand fun. A Mexican Import place near me priced their pottery the same as Tacoma Boys. I never bought a thing there, not even at their going out of business sale last December.

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    1. The pricing is a bit strange but if it works for the retailers, it works for the retailers. (Obviously didn't work for your Mexican Import place!)

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  7. Wait, Lowes didn't hot glue straw flowers on those plants like they're doing over at Home Depot? Crazy.

    I do love that glaze, but not so much the shape, or price (!!!) of those pots. Why must they play such games? I hope your acacia does well, I bought another late last summer, it's still alive. I think the thing is to water it a lot less than you think you should.

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    1. Didn't notice any straw flowers on the cactus at the moment but have seen them before and overheard two women debating on which flower color they liked best.

      That shape reminds me of a washing machine agitator. Thanks for the tip about the acacia - I'll try to keep it dry!

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  8. During the first 13 years in the country, I lived next door to the original McLendon in Renton! We shared a parking lot, and they were good neighbors. They had since moved to a new, mega size location. I make a point of stopping by a few times a year for old times sake. I must check out their Chief Joseph!

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    1. I've driven by the new Renton McLendon but it's always later at night. One of these days, I'll visit the main store! Good luck on finding Chief Joseph!

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  9. Wow, even on sale those pots are pricey. When I was in retail we got full credit for any glazed pot that was chipped or cracked. I don't need to tell you where they are now.

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    1. Lucky you! I need to find a good source for pots as they are pretty pricey at the nurseries here too.

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  10. Love all the bright colors. It is dreary and chilly here today.

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    1. It's very green here and with all of the spring flowers blooming a bit early, also quite colorful.

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  11. A 24-hour garden center? The very idea scares me to death (and would probably cause my husband to have an apoplectic fit).

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    1. Don't be frightened. Resistance is futile. Come shop at 4:00 a.m!

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  12. You sure do make Tacoma look appealing.

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    1. Smoke and mirrors. Tacoma's not all bad.

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  13. You never cease to amuse me : ) How interesting the story of Talavera Pottery! 24 hour garden shopping...oh my! I want the Opuntia monacantha monstrose 'Variegata'...must track that down. You know I never have trouble finding plants to buy...buy pots is a very difficult task for me.

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    1. I have the same problem with pots. I have some but I usually buy them for their own interesting shapes, colors or something and forget about how plants will look in them.

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  14. so, if you're hungry you shouldn't go grocery shopping, what's the rule for plant shopping?
    Answer: there is no rules!!! Love the Talavera. And who gets to name those plants--love the name "cousin itt"

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  15. I didn't know the history of Talavera pottery. I bought a piece at the garden show, and so now I know it is even more special that I thought. Thanks for the photo of that sign.
    You are such a plantaholic!

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    1. Wasn't that nice of the to post that sign? It's always nice to learn something new.
      I do have a bit of a plant problem.

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  16. So much colour on a February day! You certainly seem to have so many outlets to go to for your garden shopping, far more than we have here!

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