CLIPPINGS: The idyllic Christianson’s Nursery, a chance to hear Great Dixter’s Fergus Garrett, a new home for Whidbey Island’s Organic Farm School.
ROSES ARE AT their peak of bloom, and there’s no more idyllic setting to view roses and more roses than the display garden at Christianson’s Nursery in the Skagit Valley.
“Roses are our passion,” says Toni Christianson, of the nursery she owns with her husband, John. The nursery’s old-fashioned charm and rural setting belie its up-to-the-minute selection of plants, including 500 varieties of roses well-suited to our climate.
A vintage one-room schoolhouse serves as the centerpiece of the sunny half-acre display garden next to the nursery. Here you can drink in rose fragrance while checking out roses and perennial companions to consider for your own garden.
Whether you fancy hybrid teas, David Austin English roses, rugosas, climbers, ground-cover roses, grandifloras or floribundas, you’ll find more than 100 assorted roses consorting here in the rich valley soil. There’s a casual, cottage garden feel to the place that suits the setting, and you’re invited to stroll, picnic and enjoy the scene whether you shop at the nursery or not. But you probably will …
What does Fergus Garrett think of Northwest gardens?
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The horticultural event of the season is coming up in July at Bellevue Botanical Garden. Fergus Garrett, one of the most engaging and knowledgeable plantsmen you’ll ever meet, will speak on “Great Dixter — Past, Present and Future.”
Garrett is head gardener at this most famous of English gardens, with its 15th-century manor house, wild meadow, hot border and other innovative scenes created by the late Christopher Lloyd.
And what does Garrett, steeped in English gardens, think about our gardens here in the Pacific Northwest?
“It’s a hotbed of horticulture, where pure plantsmanship is so beautifully combined with the abundant artistic talent in the area,” he says. “I’m always inspired not only by the natural beauty of your region, but also the gardens, all individual and full of character, brimming with freedom and interesting plants.”
I’ve been lucky enough to hear Garrett speak a half-dozen times, and every one of his generous lectures stands out clearly in my memory. The event is sure to sell out, so book now for the 7 p.m. lecture on July 26. The cost is $25 for BBG members and $40 for nonmembers.
A new home for Whidbey’s Organic Farm School
Small-scale farming might well be saving the planet’s soil while stoking consumer demand for fresh, local, organic produce. It’s also a hot new career choice, yet it can be a tough row to hoe. Whidbey Island’s Organic Farm School was recently up against possible displacement or closure when the management of its home at Greenbank Farm changed hands.
In a lovely bit of synchronicity, Ron and Eva Sher had begun thinking about how to return some of their Maxwelton Valley acreage to agriculture. The Shers, owners of Third Place Books, wanted to use their beautiful island property to support sustainable agriculture, and the Organic Farm School leapt at the chance to collaborate.
The school already is transitioning to the Maxwelton Valley site, where it will continue its work in growing farmers, food and community. Applications are now being accepted for 2017.