It should not come as a shock to anyone's system — anyone, that is, who has lived for any number of years in Western Washington — that there are plants...

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Editor’s note: Take a day’s vacation without going far. Our “Super Saturdays” series offers simple outings to entertaining destinations by car, bus or bicycle.

The outing:

It should not come as a shock to anyone’s system — anyone, that is, who has lived for any number of years in Western Washington — that there are plants that don’t lose their leaves in winter.

Or that the Yuletide Camellia sends forth gorgeous, dark-red, flat-pedaled flowers with starry-gold centers in December. Or that there are pansies that defy the pejorative meaning of the word and rage against the dying of the light we call winter.
But it does — come as a shock.

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For how can any plant-lover wander the now-hallowed walkways of Molbak’s or the cavernous byways of Flower World during the coldest months of the year and not be stunned at the proliferation of greenery? These two factories of things flowery may be the single biggest reason, arguably, that many people visit Woodinville, Maltby and surroundings year-round.

Open all year long? Of course. Reasons to visit? As many as there are Latin phyla.

Molbak’s has been in existence nearly 50 years, Flower World close to 40. Between them, they will eat up your Saturday.

Flower World is open every day of the week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (425-481-7565 or 360-668-9575). It lies about 6 miles north of downtown Woodinville in Maltby. It is enormous, about 15 acres of retail space. It is best to eat heartily and plunge in here first. Plant-lovers: Plan at least two to three hours.

After your drive through a tiny forest (literally) of parking, you can get out and wander through a large park of lawn and plants and feathered things (like live ducks and geese) before wandering the byways of the nursery itself. How to otherwise describe Flower World? Think Costco, Target, Big Lots and Home Depot in the plant business — together. If you see one 10-gallon plastic tub of mayo, why, shouldn’t it be great to take home 20 of those suckers? So let it be with Flower World. You rarely will find the rarest, even the rare, here — but what you do find, you will find by the hectare.


Margaret Bustion shoots a picture of, from left, Jean Johnson, Frances Bustion, Tachay Demsei, Bogay Hadero and Marie Clemens in front of the 10-foot-tall poinsettia tree at Molbak’s.

Seeing swimming plants whenever you close your eyes, you drive south to Woodinville proper, where you know you’re in a different world when you spot tourist buses in the parking lot and $1,999.99-a-piece yard art inside the entrance to Molbak’s.

Considerably smaller in size than Flower World, Molbak’s nonetheless packs a punch. And a gift shop and a garden shop and an indoor “outdoor” cafe of sorts, and demonstrations and dinnerware and handbags and jewelry and slug bait.

And plants. Don’t forget the plants. For they were the roots of what has swiftly become an all-purpose home shop (open Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 425-483-5000).

Molbak’s, too, will take a good deal of time to wander through, though it offers a rather remarkably different winter experience from Flower World.

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A brewery and winery tour in Woodinville

Biking on the Sammamish River Trail from Bothell (our budget trip)

Think, maybe, Nordstrom — with some heather on the side.

The themes flow at Molbak’s. At Christmas, it was hard to find an item that was pure plant and not surrounded by reds and whites and gift wrappers and just plain gifts of all sorts. At Flower World, it was hard to find the holiday rooms (though they were there — again on a grand scale, for Flower World did have the larger poinsettia “Christmas tree”).

More’s the reason to visit both.

Good eats:

The Maltby Cafe in tiny Maltby is a great place to eat with the locals, although, like them, you might not be able to get up from the table when finished. Breakfasts are huge (and served all day on Saturdays). Lunches are huge, too, though prices are not. Beware of ordering a cinnamon roll ($4.50) along with your breakfast. It’s like eating for four. A fav on Saturdays? The California Benny (eggs benedict) at $9.95. The cafe is in the cafeteria of the old school building, 8809 Maltby Road. Phone is 425-483-3123, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Shopping op:

Essentially this is a shopping trip. Add on the expansive housewares and garden-store areas at Molbak’s and you can have your own little mini-mall experience.

What’ll it cost me?

Not a thing but gas, if you just wander the nurseries and don’t eat, but that’s not possible, now is it? You will no doubt be entranced by the winter-blooming Yuletide Camellia, starting at $12.99 at Flower World. Then there are the circa-$2,000 yard sculptures at Molbak’s. Breakfast ($9.95) and camellia purchase ($12.99): $22.94 plus tax.

Getting there:

Flower World is at 9322 196th St. S.E., Maltby. From I -405 head east at Exit 23 to Highway 522 to Woodinville/Monroe. Turn left at the stoplight at Paradise Hill Road, then an immediate right at the “T,” straight at the three-way intersection, left at the “Y” across the railroad tracks, then right on 196th Street Southeast.

Molbak’s is at 13625 N.E. 175th St., Woodinville. From 405 take Exit 23 to Highway 522. After a quarter-mile, take Woodinville-Redmond exit. Turn right from the ramp and go to N.E. 175th Street. Turn left. Molbak’s is on the right about four blocks down.

Terry Tazioli: or 206-464-2224