Staff Picks


Please note:
While we try to carry all of our favorite plants, books and products at the Nursery, availability will vary and some items may not be in stock. If you see something below that interests you, please call ahead to see if we have it in stock. If not, we may be able to special order it for you.

360-466-3821 • 1-800-585-8200

Favorite Books


“Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades” by Steve Solomon

“Classic Roses” by Peter Beales


• “Hardy Trees and Shrubs” by Michale Dirr

• “American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants”


• “Encyclopedia of Perennials” by the American Horticultural Society ~ so frequently used at the nursery that it’s held together with Duct tape


• “Sunset Western Garden Book” and “Gardening with Native Plants” by Arthur Kruckeburg


• “Growing at the Speed of Life” by Graham Kerr ~ fun and interesting book for a novice veggie gardener

• “Grasses” by Nancy J. Ondra ~ one of my most often-used, well loved books.  Lovely pictures…very inspiring.

• “Garden Stone: Creative Landscaping with Plants and Stone” by Barbara Pleasant

• “Colors for the Garden: Creating Compelling Color Themes” by P. Allen Smith

• “The Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer” by Stephanie Cohen and Nancy J. Ondra

• “The Year in Bloom” by Ann Lovejoy

Favorite Catalogs, Magazines and Other Resources


Mother Earth News

Organic Gardening


Raintree Nursery catalog

Favorite Websites






Favorite Plants


• Roses:

‘Jude the Obscure’ ~ wonderful fragrance and pale peach color

‘Anna Pavlova’ ~ ruffled pale pink rose with best rose fragrance ever

‘Madame Alfred Carriere’ ~ robust, fragrant, continuous blooming white climber

‘Teasing Georgia’ ~ yellow cabbage rose with old rose scent

• Lilac:  ‘Beauty of Moscow’ ~ very double, ruffled pale pink flowers

• All fragrant viburnums. Great fragrance in the spring

• Citrus ‘Meyers lemon’ ~ can use in baking and in tea….again, most wonderful scent and it blooms and fruits at the same time

• Delphinium ‘Sir Galahad’ ~ white with green eye…perfect for summer borders

• Peonies: all white peonies…single and double flowered

• Tulip ‘White Parrot’ ~ ruffled white petals with striated green at the base of the flower

• Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ ~ great summer filler in perennial borders…flowers start out green, turn white and back to green with cool fall nights. Can be used for dried arrangements in the fall.


• Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’ ~ small in statue with outstanding fragrance and amazing purple fall color

• Rosa ‘Hot Cocoa’ ~ weird color with great performance

• Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ ~ lovely habit and texture with long-lasting fall color

• Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ ~ coarse blue foliage is cupped, which helps with slug resistance

• Rhododendron ‘Hansel’ ~ beautiful foliage!  (oh, and the flowers are nice too)

• Penstemon ‘Firebird’ ~ bright red flowers with dark stems. Blooms ALL summer!


• Decasnia ~ exotic leaves

• Azalea ‘Irene Koster’ ~ great fragrance

• Rhododendron ‘Lem’s Cameo’ ~ beautiful flower

• Maple “Eskimo Sunset’ ~ pretty varigated leaf

• Astilboides rodgersia ~ giant leaf

• Osakazuki Japanese Maple ~ great fall color


•Albizia Julibrissin, Mimosa Tree, the flowers and leaves are unbeatable.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Dawn Redwood, I love the doughnut rings on the trunk.

Rosa Playboy, I hate the name but I love the flower and the leaf.

Blueberry, Jersey, probably the sweetest of all the blueberries with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg (seriously, try them).

All manner of Begonias.


• Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’  — A shrubby dogwood with stunning orange/gold stems in winter. Plant in a spot where you see the sun shine on it during winter from a window inside the house. (Several other types of shrubby dogwoods give a similarly great winter show.)

• ‘Tristar’ strawberry — an everbearing type. I pick flavorful berries from my patch from mid-June through October.

• Western Swordfern, Polystichum munitum – an elegant, tough evergreen native. Cut off the old fronds in early spring for an especially fresh look.


• Lady’s Mantle ~ snail and slug resistant, lush foliage, and looks beautiful year after year

• Ornamental grasses ~ I love the motion that grasses add to the garden

• Nepeta (catmint) ~ starts blooming in June and if you trim it back, it will bloom again and again on into the Fall.  Lovely waves of purple!

• Orange crocosmia ~ looks great interspersed with Nepeta and Lady’s Mantle

Favorite Products and Tools


Safer Insecticidal Soap.  It’s one of the few organic insecticidal sprays that doesn’t damage the tender new growth on plants.


• SLUGGO ~ non-toxic, easy to use, and it WORKS!

• Bobbex deer repellant ~ stinks to high heaven but it works!

• Hori Hori knife ~ great all-purpose weeder/transplanter

• Hula hoe ~ my second favorite tool


I love my 3-prong hand tool/fork (P.38) from Japan. It makes weeding easy along with mixing compost into my soil at the same time and, when all else fails, I get my digging fork out to get the tough weeds or really work the soil.


Old garden tools, urns, cloches, and statues. These items can make a garden seem as though it has always been in place.

More of Toni’s favorite products:  good lightweight hoses and spray nozzles, hose timers, soaker hoses, organic fertilizers, good pruners, pliable and leather gloves (if you are a rose gardener).




Hori Hori knife — My no. 1 tool for weeding or popping small plants into the garden. I make sure to wipe off the dirt from the wooden handle and the blade when I’m done, and stick the blade in a bucket of sand with mineral oil in it to protect the metal.


There are many wonderful treasures in our Primrose Gift Shop but I especially love the Curly Girl cards and the beautiful (and wearable) vintage clothing.

Words of Wisdom:


Don’t take gardening too seriously. Enjoy yourself.


“Choosing a good plant is like choosing a good wine; the fun part is taking it home and trying it out.”


Mulch, mulch, mulch!


I love using compost, green beauty boxwoods, a mixture of conifers, and throw in some roses, and you have a great start to a garden. Always look at texture and year round interest when you put your garden or containers together.