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, September 29, 2016

At DIG Floral and Garden, Change is in the Air.

My friend Alison emailed me early one morning asking if I'd seen the news on facebook that Sylvia and Ross, the creative force behind DIG nursery had put the property on the market.  Sure enough, Sylvia and Ross, after being in the nursery business for over twenty years, have decided to pursue other creative endeavors. While we're all very excited for them and wish them the best, the pang  of the eventual loss of such an amazing independent nursery smarts. All things change and as a new season has begun in our gardens, so too will a new season begin on this property.

I've been shopping at dig for as long as they've been in their current location (can it be twenty years already?) and have been inspired and educated here.  My admiration for this dynamic couple, their business and marketing acumen, style sense, plant expertise and creativity has been well earned as they continue to reinvent their business and  create beauty.  This is not an easy business and understandably Ross and Sylvia are weary.

On Saturday, I took the ferry over to the island too have one last stroll around this place made special to me over the years and found it as vibrant and full of ideas and beauty as ever.   It was a slow and whistful stroll.  Although the nursery won't close until after the property sells, the knowledge that an end was eminent made this a visit that I didn't want to rush.  Here, in the random order in which they were taken, are images of the nursery and private garden.

How many times has the plant mobile been on this driveway, the driver full of excitement at what he'll see?

Stroke of genius to plant Naked Ladies (Amaryllis Belladonna) near this peony foliage!

Love the crinkly metal sphere!

The shade sails were added this year. 

 "The Greenhaus" with it's stunning rock table and faboo plants a go-go.

If it's strange-looking, it must be an Euphorbia.

Phormium 'Guardsman' is so very pinky red!  If only there were more space in my garden or greenhouse.

As always, Sylvia's way with containers blows me away.

Simple and gorgeous!

I was a bit dubious about these gabion arches when they first went up but with the vines growing on them they're perfect.  Such vision!

My new favorite cordyline, Electric Flash.  While I was searching and finally found one at Cistus and another at Wells Medina, they were here at Dig all along.  (Kicking myself for not visiting earlier in the season as I usually do.)

Aeonium sunbirst and  a variegated yucca, a perfect combo. 

The addition of these el shaped gabions to partition off parts of the garden ties in the arches and makes the whole feel unified.

Parthenocissus takes on autumn shades of screaming red.  Yum!

Who can ever forget Sylvia and Ross's big black cock guarding the entrance? 

Rhodocoma capensis is used in Europe as filler in floral arrangements.  It's too pretty to cut but here Sylvia did a masterful living arrangement in a pot.

Yucca 'Bright Star' shining through a metal and fused glass gate. 

Feel like you're being watched?  Does this huge coleus with glass eyes resemble the head of an owl, a really large owl?

Love the clean lines.  Must take the time to make some of these myself.  

A tropical passiflora vine escaped the greenhaus!

There were plenty of blooms inside too!

I'll make a point of visiting again and certainly will attend any sale that might take place if the property is sold to someone who doesn't want to operate a nursery there but wanted to find something to remind myself of this special visit, much like my variegated hemerocallis reminds me of my last visit to Heronswood before it was closed.

My eyes fell on this concrete diamond-shaped paperweight as in my mind  the final scene from Camelot played - Arthur answering Pelli's queery Arthur, who  was that: "One of what we all are, Pelli! Less than a drop in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea. But, it seems, that some of the drops - Sparkle, Pelli! Some of them do sparkle!"  Whenever I see this blob o' concrete, it will not be forgot that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot DIG!

Of course I still have the t shirt from many years ago.  The property might sell tomorrow and this may have been my final visit to DIG as we know it.  On the other hand, maybe we'll be lucky enough to enjoy it for many months to come.   I'll add my voice to the chorus sending love and good wishes to this duo who've been an inspiration for so many years.  May you continue to sparkle on in the next chapter of your lives!


  1. Places like Dig seem to be disappearing all too quickly, we've lost a couple of those recently too. It's just one of the good points of blogging that we can document places like this to save the views and ideas along with our thoughts.

  2. Beautiful post, Peter. I know ferns are the new "it" plant but I'm not over the sedums yet. Those arrangements are just amazing. I also love the round metal hanging "baskets" with even more succulents. I hope the place will remain a nursery with new owners.

  3. I've been hoping maybe one of the bigger nurseries north of Seattle would buy it and operate it as a boutique. Sylvia and Ross are going to be a very hard act to follow. Her creativity and energy seemed to be bottomless, but I guess they weren't. They deserve a break, and I hope whatever they do after they sell is fulfilling. I need to get over there one last time as well.

  4. Just lovely, Peter. I am saddened to see it go, another wonderful independent nursery I did not visit. Maybe it will be open still for some time and we can make the trek up there. Gorgeous sense of style, these two. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great post, thank you! I imagine this has been a long process and very difficult decision for Sylvia and Ross. It's obvious she loves what she does.

    I am planning a trip to see my friends up in Seattle in mid November, think maybe a trip over might be in the cards. November though...I wonder what it will be like that time of year (have you been?).

  6. I hope someone with equal passion steps up to take over the nursery. I'm still mourning the loss of the nursery down this way in Calabasas, sold to a car dealership last year.

  7. I hope they contact you to use this post in their advertising!
    Dig is a special place and you captured it beautifully.

  8. Wonderful post, Peter. I do hope some passionate plants-people with energy to burn take over, and keep their legacy going. I have never visited DIG, so I'm grateful you took me along for this last ride. Now I know - at least a little bit - what I've been missing.

  9. Lovely post! And amazing looking nursery. But I still pine for my favorites that are no longer with us, Heronswood included. I treasure what I found at those special places and kick myself for putting off purchases or not always taking the best care of plants thinking like Scarlet O'Hara: tomorrow is another day. Now the nurseries that catch my eye all seem to be west of the Mississippi which means shipping costs are horrendous.


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