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Trees, Shrubs & Grasses for Fall Color

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residenceA great, reliable tree that makes an extra strong statement in fall, Red Maple (Acer rubrum varieties) offers gorgeous red, orange, or yellow end-of-the-season leaves.  But Autumn color shouldn’t be limited to Fall Maples.

Perennials offer unusual appeal in the garden and bring color to your landscape on a small scale without using specimen trees. Conifers and summer blooming heather and grasses have strong alteration as the temperatures and moisture levels shift.

Some of our favorites include:

Grassesthe Miscanthus (‘Morning Light’ pictured) genus has great fall color, most shift from bright greens to rich-hued reds, oranges and golds in addition to white tasseled seed heads.'Morning Light'

Heather-the Calluna group blooms in the summer and their foliage changes, depending on the variety, from chartreuse to deep burgundy.

Standard and Dwarf Conifers-Certain varieties of pines (ie. Pinus mugo ‘Carsten’s Winter Gold’) develop a brilliant gold coloration in fall and winter.  Cryptomeria’s turn a wonderful plum color.

My Hubby, the Fashion Icon

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20170622_171656The women in our family always have fun teasing John about his fashion sense. I knew there was a problem when I first met him but it was part of his charm. The charm being, he is too busy enjoying his life to care about his clothes. That enthusiasm for life was very attractive to me. However, this is a man with beautiful blue eyes and dark hair and he was wearing a red orange jacket. A navy or very dark moss green jacket would have been more flattering. And then there were the high school prom pictures I saw of him in a brown tuxedo. It wasn’t even a dark, chocolate brown. It was a brick red brown. So, I knew when we were planning our wedding that
I would need to stay ahead of the game and make sure he chose a traditional black tuxedo or a classic ‘white sport coat’ before he could consider another color. He wanted to buy, not rent, because he wanted the challenge of fitting into his wedding tux for each and every anniversary that followed.
It’s not that I have high standards as far as current fashion or designer labels. Quite the opposite. However, I do want him to always look his best and, for me, it’s more about color choice than anything else. Dressing him has been very easy. He wears Levi 501s most every day of the year. They wear like iron and even though I complain about how distressed they look after about a month of John carrying wet, balled and burlapped root balls, one, two and three gallon plants, hundreds of nursery flats and hanging baskets, crawling around on the ground to check water lines, trapping raccoons, rats and possums, plus climbing trees and clearing out plumbing lines, they still hold their shape and look great on him. I have always wondered as the Levis have softened and faded in the wash, leaving brown and green stains on the upper legs, where does the green come from? Is it chlorophyll from grass stains or is a moss growing on the dirt embedded in the denim? As it turns out, whatever it is, it’s in demand. Who would have known that the twenty or so pairs of jeans he owns would become a family treasure? The Seattle Times ran an article about the very worn and distressed Levis Nordstrom is selling for $425; complete with brown and green stains! While I’ve always tried to have at least one pair of softened but not stained Levis for him to wear when he gives garden talks or we go to other important events, I noticed he wore the faded, stained and distressed Levis to our grandson, Michael’s graduation this past June.
I think he was proud of them. He also wore my favorite dark, mossy green, fourteen-dollar sport coat from a thrift shop in Spokane, along with a blue and white plaid shirt. He looked very handsome; not only because he still fits into his wedding tuxedo but because he was wearing some of his best colors. Now we can’t wait to see if he wears his black tuxedo jacket with a dark green V-neck undershirt and his best distressed Levis to our granddaughter Ellen’s garden wedding this fall. John is one classy Grandpa.

Toni Christianson

You never know what may happen at work…

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What happened today at the Nursery deserves to be shared.

My co-worker, Victoria, brought to work a darling little puppy that she discovered was neglected by someone she knew.  She explained it needed a better home and it was her hope that by showing it to people here she would find a more fit parent.

While we were all cooing over this puppy, class in the Schoolhouse was about to begin and the puppy session had to end.  As the hummingbird presentation was underway, one lady, in particular, seemed restless and left the classroom.  I followed her outside to do some other work.  As we descended the porch steps, another co-worker, Jillian, was approaching us with this puppy in her arms.  As I asked to hold it, I spun around to ask the lady from class if she’d like to adopt it.  Without flinching, she stated, “Yes.  I saw the puppy before class and heard about it’s hardship and I haven’t been able stop thinking about her.  I have been fidgeting in class since it started, so I decided to leave class to take her home.  My other dogs are of a similar breed and I think they will all get along.”

You can imagine our surprise!  We all walked together to the Garden Store to tell Victoria the good news and she was elated!

Here is an image of the puppy and her newly found parent.  This is one of those life experiences that is not only an honor to view but to see how seamlessly situations fall into place when they are meant to be.




Boost Your Brain Power With Gardening

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A month ago, we received a lovely email from one of our customers concerned for others afflicted with fibromyalgia.  She stated that gardening has helped her work through symptoms with her chronic illness by providing her with a type of physical activity that has proven to be highly therapeutic.  She believes gardening benefits the mind, body, and soul and it provides stress relief, physical activity, and stimulation for her brain.

She has written an article about her observations and sent it to us for others to read.  It is our hope that you may find wisdom in her words and inspiration in your garden.

pixabayBoost Your Brain Power With Gardening: Improve Mental Clarity And Keep Your Mind Sharp by Maria Cannon

There is no question that gardening provides health benefits on multiple fronts. It makes for a great form of exercise for people of all ages and it has been shown to reduce stress and even help with issues of depression. In addition to the benefits that come via physical activity and mental health, gardening can provide significant stimulation for the brain as well.

Gardening has a positive impact on brain health

Gardening helps to keep one’s mind sharp in multiple ways. For example, Eartheasy details that studies have found that daily gardening can improve your brain health and significantly reduce the risk for dementia. The process of gardening involves numerous brain functions and all of that activity provides strength in ways far beyond what most people would realize.

Huffington Post notes that some studies have shown that gardening is linked to mental clarity, and it also promotes problem solving, learning, and sensory awareness. Gardening is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, but evidence points toward it also strengthening the brain and reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s to a degree that cannot be ignored.

Gardening is accessible to nearly everybody

Slow Aging shares that increased physical activity is a key strategy for improving your brain function as you age, and gardening is an activity that almost anybody can do to some degree. Even if it is too difficult to get out on your own or do any kind of intense exercise, you can probably garden to some extent.

If you do not have the space for an outdoor home garden, you can look at doing some version of an urban garden. This may involve plants kept indoors or pots you maintain on your patio or balcony, or it could be via community gardening where multiple people share one space for their gardening. Some people may turn to utilizing a solar greenhouse, and the wonderful thing about gardening is that it can be done on a large scale or a small one.

Gardening can be done by anybody at any age, as even children benefit from the brain-building that comes from digging in to create a garden. PBS explains that there is evidence that children who begin gardening at a young age score higher in science achievement tests than kids who don’t, and the process of gardening can develop an inquisitive mind in a young child.

Brain health is impacted by gardening in many ways.

Adults who embrace gardening, both young and old, benefit from the brain-boosting that naturally develops throughout the process. Many people notice that their concentration improves, and this helps them recover more easily from mental fatigue. Oftentimes, those who are older and experiencing memory problems are able to recall key details about gardening, providing them an opportunity to strengthen their brain and feel connected to memories from their younger days.

The process of gardening stimulates your brain as you have to plan what to plant, schedule what needs to be done when, and tackle options like whether you do or don’t use herbicides. There is a problem-solving element to gardening that strengthens your brain and many people challenge themselves by learning new techniques or about new plants in the process, another brain booster.

When people think of the benefits of gardening, they typically consider the physical activity and mood-enhancing opportunities that come from digging in the dirt and watching a garden grow. There is growing evidence, however, that gardening provides wonderful opportunities to build brain strength and improve mental clarity as well. Given the variety of ways that people can garden, and the fact that gardening boosts brain power of people of all ages, it is no wonder that this is a favorite hobby of many.

[Image via Pixabay]


Tour Christianson’s Garden Wedding Venue on Sunday May 21

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TFloretFlowers__Green&WhiteEditorial_58our the venues of Skagit County and meet talented wedding professionals at each stop who can help make your wedding dreams a reality!

Spend the day exploring eight beautiful wedding venues in Skagit County, including Christianson’s Nursery, on Sunday, May 21, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. We will be showcasing our elegant Schoolhouse and Rose Garden for weddings and special events.

Bring a notebook with pockets to place cards, tokens (given by each vendor) and wedding information as you meet the following wedding vendors: Photographers from Mistry&Scott.com; Wedding planner Tierney Jones at ChampagneandStardust.com; Officiant, Celebrations of Life; Caterer, Island Girls Catering;  Baker, Knock Out Bakery;  Antique and Vintage Wedding Apparel from Primrose at www.christiansonsnursery.com; Representatives from The Country Inn and Channel Lodge will also be here to discuss local accommodations and overnight reservations.

Toward the end of the tour, register to win a lovely 14′ hanging basket hand planted by our Christianson staff to enjoy all summer long!

Tickets: VIP, $30 per person includes transportation to all 8 venues, a boxed lunch (provided by one of our amazing caterers) and special VIP gifts throughout the day.  Self-guided: $5 per person. Venues are both indoor and outdoor so please dress for the weather!

Christianson’s Nursery & Greenhouse Hanging Baskets

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When is a Christianson’s custom hanging basket like a flower arrangement?
When it’s designed and planted by one of three women (Laura, Elissa or Toni) who have over fifty years of combined experience with flower arranging and basket planting. We are careful to plant wonderful combinations of color and foliage texture in the five-hundred plus baskets we plant every year. We have what we consider three different groups: Romantic; all white and pastel, Bold; primary colors in sometimes shocking combinations and Patriotic; red, white and blue.

When is a Christianson’s custom hanging basket not like a flower arrangement?
When it blooms for three to four months instead of five to seven days. All our baskets, because of their larger size, are planted with fifty percent more premium soil (holds water better and is lighter weight) and a slow release fertilizer; both of which contribute to a longer bloom time than smaller baskets. They also contain more plants because of the extra planting space.   So even with the greater expense of a large basket over a smaller basket, the value is definitely there if you consider how long a bigger basket blooms. And, the value is enormous if you consider over the three to four months a large basket lasts.
When shopping for a hanging basket be sure to ask for Christianson’s custom baskets. We also plant free-standing containers for decks and patios. If you have your own containers you would like us to plant, bring them to the Nursery and ask for either Laura or Elissa. You can also bring your hanging baskets back next spring for us to plant next year. Your baskets will then be less money because you’re not paying for new baskets. Just be sure to take a picture of your basket this season if you want the same plants next year.

Christianson’s Annual Antique Fair & Vintage Market

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Christianson’s  4th Annual Antique Fair & Vintage Market

Friday and Saturday, August 11 & 12

Antique Fair & Vintage Market

4th Annual Antique Fair & Vintage Market at Christianson’s Nursery
Friday Night and Saturday, August 11 & 12
Four event sites: Schoolhouse, Primrose Antiques & Gifts, Christianson’s Nursery and North Meadow Field.


We are proud to present the Northwest’s top dealers showcasing the best in antiques, vintage and collectibles. Our dealers are individually selected for their quality of hard-to-find goods and creative displays.  The fair includes antiques (100+ years old), retro and vintage.
Schedule of Events:  

Purchase V.I.P. Tickets ($10 pp)
On Line  or at the Garden Store.
Friday Night, August 11th, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
In partnership with Hellam’s Vineyard & Evolve Chocolate, V.I.P. ticket holders will enjoy early customer shopping throughout all four event sites along with three pairings of wine (white, rose and red) with three flavor profiles of chocolate truffles; “Lavender Love” (lavender blossoms, organic lemon swirled in a white, Guittard chocolate), “PNW “Kafe Kirsch” Cherry, Coffee, Hazelnut in dark organic Theo chocolate, and “Melange” Elderflower Liqueur dark organic Theo chocolate ganache dipped in white, Guittard chocolate.
Saturday, August 12th, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The Antique Fair & Vintage Market opens to the public.  Our Fair is expanding to include the North Meadow Field, creating a ‘Boot Sale’ (vendors selling from the back of their trailers, cars and trucks).   Lots of treasures to be found!  Have a trailer, car or truck from which to vend?  Favorable rental spaces for $50 in the North Meadow Field are now available.

Register on line at www.ChristiansonsNursery.com or pick up a registration form in our Garden Store. Questions? Email Stephanie.Christiansons@gmail.com  or contact Stephanie at (360) 466-3821.


10 Tips to Saving Cold-Damaged Plants

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With our cold blasts that hit this winter, you may have damage to your plants.  Follow these 10 steps to ensure they survive.


1.) Resist Action:  Winter-stunned plants need to be left alone for a while until weather warms.

2.) Don’t Over Do It:  Don’t overwater a winter-damaged plant, as the roots may be unable to absorb a high amount of liquid causing rot.

3.) Don’t fertilize…yet:  Don’t fertilize and try to jump start your freeze-damaged plant.  You don’t want it to leaf out too quickly since it will stress the already suffering plant.

104.) Don’t heavy prune:  Even though your instincts may be telling you to prune all the dead growth away, wait until the plant has had a chance to adjust to its growth pattern.  5.) Be Patient:  Wait until temperatures begin to get warmer (April, May and even June) and the soil warms up to see if there is new growth or budding leaves.

6.) Get tools ready:  Make sure your pruners are sharp and clean.  There are many how-to videos to learn about sharpening pruners on YouTube, or simply resource a place to sharpen them for you.

7.) Clean your pruners:  We don’t want to spread disease from plant to plant.  Dilute bleach with water into a 1:3 ratio, dampen shop cloth and swipe both blades completely.

8.) New growth?  Now prune!  Once you see new growth, you can cut away the dead growth up to the first leaf bud that you see, leaving the new leaves and buds to flourish.

9.) Feeding your plants:  Once you have pruned the plant, fertilize a little bit around each plant to get it growing again.   We recommend an organic, all-purpose plant food that is a good, slow starting mix of 5-5-5 (5% nitrogen, 5% potassium and 5% phosphorus).  Water well.

10.) “One Ounce of Prevention is Worth More Than a Pound of Cure”:  Covering plants helps protect them from severe cold before it starts is the best prevention, such as a thick layer of mulch or a frost cover blanket.  Light snow provides the best blanket of protection and insulates the ground around your plants.  Wet, heavy snow can cause considerable damage.  If you see damage resulting from wet snow, carefully shake the snow off before damage occurs.

Primrose Antique and Gift Shop

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    Primrose Antique and Gift Shop.  

Prim Birds and Nature Art

“Collect things you love, that are authentic to you,

and your house becomes your story.”  – Erin Flett


Thank You!

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John_ToniJohn and I want to thank everyone who has recommended our Nursery to fellow gardeners looking for unusual plants. Not a day goes by that we do not hear from someone looking for a hard-to-find plant. John will order just a few of each of the rare plants that he can find because he loves the uncommon. It makes him smile to overhear a customer telling one of our staff members that they have looked all over for a particular plant and they are so excited to find one at our Nursery. After his trip to China with fellow horticulturists, he has been even more excited to carry any and every unusual plant grown in commerce that will survive and flourish in our climate. When I go on plant-hunting excursions with him it is like Christmas if he finds something unusual. He shouts out its name and literally leaps toward it with the excitement of a child. So, for all you gardeners, including Master Gardeners and Rose Society members, who have sent people to us we are very grateful. And, for all you gardeners looking for ‘gourmet’ plants, please email, call or come to see us for plants on your ‘garden wish list’.