Our Nursery was established in 1946 on the historic Jennings’ farm. The nursery was primarily a specialty rhododendron nursery until the early seventies when it was diversified to offer a broader mix of trees and shrubs suitable for Northwest climates. In 1990 we purchased the nursery business, along with the seven acres of land under it, from Bob and Margie Hart who continue to care for La Conner Flats, an eleven-acre English Country Garden next door to the Nursery. It was a monumental decision for us at the time, but the right decision. We have not once looked back and, as one friend said, our work here at our nursery is our play.
We offer a unique collection of rare and unusual plants, including the largest selection of roses and perennials in Northwest Washington. Knowing that an extensive and healthy selection of plants along with a knowledgeable and personable staff are the two most important components of a nursery, we employ a year round team of Washington Certified Professional Horticulturalists. In addition to being formally educated, most of our staff have their own extensive personal gardens so they are able to offer their practical garden experience to our customers as well. Many are longtime employees having been on our staff for ten to nearly twenty years. We all enjoy working in the middle of farmland in Skagit Valley, one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Preserving small bits of Skagit Valley History
In pursuit of establishing a nursery setting where the outbuildings and greenhouses are intrinsic not only to the plants we sell but also to the farmland surrounding our nursery we have moved a schoolhouse and two granaries to our nursery property. Rather than building new structures we are using old buildings as timeless reminders of a simpler life and, at the same time, conserving materials and resources. Our greenhouses are also the result of collecting parts and pieces from old glass greenhouses slated to be torn down and then putting them back together at our business to become useful and graceful examples of glass greenhouses from the past. Our gift shop, Primrose, is in a restored tractor garage that was built in the 1940’s and still has the original cement floor and most of the original windows and doors.
John and Toni are the owners of Christianson’s Nursery and Greenhouse. Most of us have worked at Christianson’s since the 1990’s. Kathryn, our perennial buyer, has been at Christianson’s almost since the beginning. While we are all knowledgeable about gardening in general we have specialists who can help customers with roses, perennials, rhododendrons, hardy tropicals, trees, shrubs, flowering bulbs, and edibles. We also have talented staff members who plant containers (from traditional to outrageous) and seasonal hanging baskets (both ornamental and edible). Most of us are organic gardeners and eager to share our experiences with healthy gardening practices and some of us also teach classes in the schoolhouse and lead garden tours. And, for the most part, there is no place we would rather be than in our gardens, be it a warm sunny day or a fresh spring morning.
Schoolhouse and Garden
Originally built in 1888 on the Lee Farm, next to the Skagit River, this Schoolhouse was called the Meadow School, District Number 3. It is the oldest remaining one room schoolhouse in Northwest Washington and remains largely unchanged. Moved from a development site in 1996 to our Nursery, we now offer gardening classes, garden events and a meeting place for garden clubs and societies in the Schoolhouse.
In 1998 we designed and planted rose and perennial Display Gardens on the grounds around the Schoolhouse. As a display garden it shows mature roses and perennials planted in harmonious color groupings. May through September are the best months to visit the Gardens. You are invited to pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic on the Schoolhouse grounds during warm weather.
The Schoolhouse is available for parties, small weddings and anniversary celebrations. For information about renting the Schoolhouse, please contact our Events Coordinator, Debra Lacy, at 360-466-3821 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This building was constructed in 1985 and has been the center of nursery activity for many years. In 2003 we preserved the circa 1890 seed shelves and counters from Tillinghast Seeds in La Conner. A piece of Skagit Valley’s history would have been lost forever had these interior structures gone to the dump when the Tillinghast site was developed into a series of retail spaces in La Conner. We widened the tiny seed cubbies to allow room for garden fertilizers, organic insecticides, bulbs, reference books and other garden related items to be displayed according to the season and then lined the walls of the Garden Store with these tall wooden shelves for a new historic feel that compliments the rest of our nursery. At the same time we laid down an old fir floor and refitted the massive wooden sales counter from the original seed store to finish the renovation. We also used windows salvaged from Roosevelt High School in Seattle and doors from various old structures including a church in Portland, Oregon. We are pleased with the new, historic look of our Garden Store.
This Greenhouse is primarily used to grow on and sell new and unusual annuals plus the tried and true we have loved for years. We also grow custom hanging baskets and containers in this house in spring and summer. In the off season it is filled with plants of fall and winter interest such as winter blooming camellias, herbs and tender outdoor plants.
The Conservatory is home to our wide selection of indoor flowering and foliage plants. It is fitted with in-floor heating and re-purposed doors from the sun porch at Dunn Gardens in Seattle. We also display our full range of terra cotta, ceramic and cast iron planters in the Conservatory with the largest of the planters spilling out to the south side of the building.
This Greenhouse was built in 1946 and because wood was so scarce after the war all the Greenhouse tables were made of homemade cement posts and cement slabs. In the 1970’s the roof was lowered to cut down on heating costs and the Greenhouse became a fiberglass house. In 2006 we took this greenhouse back to its original proportions using all vintage and salvaged materials including glass windows and salvaged greenhouse doors, shelving and a pantry cupboard from an old farmhouse in Mount Vernon. This house was originally used to propagate rhododendrons from cuttings but is now used to grow geraniums in the early spring and summer. Fall and winter it is filled with tropical plants including many varieties of citrus with Meyer’s lemon trees being the most popular. In February our festival ‘A Fascination for Hellebores’ is held in this house and in spring we start over again with geraniums. This house is also used to force plants into growth and bloom during the fall and winter when we are designing a garden for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. We typically force about three times as many plants as we need because forcing is so unpredictable and this way we are assured of some early color and texture. This is a great old greenhouse.
This ‘new’ Greenhouse Potting Shed made of preserved greenhouse glass and doors is a version of the old, low and dark potting shed we used for the first eighteen years we owned the nursery. The tractor loaded soil bins and the site are actually the only reminders of the old shed. It is now a wonderfully efficient potting area where we can pot roses and bare root trees and shrubs any time of year while watching the snow fly, listening to the rain on the roof or pushing the wide, sliding greenhouse doors open to welcome warmer days. We also plant our custom hanging baskets and containers here during late winter and early spring.