Thursday, May 21, 2015

Drake's 7 Dees Nursery

Every once in a while good ideas grow into great ideas. Nurseries hover on the fantastic side of good ideas, design by itself is also pretty grand. Put the two together and, boom, you have the freshly renovated Drake's 7 Dees Design Showroom and Garden Center in southwest Portland, a WOW idea brought to you by some of the finest talent in the Portland nursery trade.


In 2009, Drake's which many of you may know from Drake's out on the east side of town and their landscaping services, purchased the former Langdown Florist & Garden center location on SW Scholls Ferry Road, across the street from the Portland Golf Club.


This is where it gets interesting: In 2013, Drake's closed its Southeast Stark retail space and was going to do the same with this one. Instead, they decided that with this great old space they would hire some incredible talent and change the focus to design, for which their operation is known. Anna Kullgren (of the blog Flutter and Hum), who is herself an experienced interior designer and plant goddess with an eye for sustainability, is tasked with helping to turn this charming space into a garden-design destination. Then there's the fabulous Gina Cardoza, the plant expert extraordinaire, and, of course. William McClenathan - yes, that brilliant William of television's Garden Time fame with so much experience under his belt that it's silly. The point is this: They have turned this small, retail nursery space into a place to, yes, shop for plants, but also into a garden-design showcase. You can visit for ideas from their vignettes within the nursery setting itself, find inspiration and quality products all under one roof. Plus, you can hire landscaping help right here to get it all done.
How clever is that?
Let's look around a bit.


Drake's 7 Dees goal is to provide design ideas and inspiration, as well as becoming a community resource for learning about gardening sustainably. One thing I really love is that all of their products are chemical and synthetic-free. An organic nursery- I LOVE it! And they have stopped using neonicotinoids. A very important step in the right direction for our pollinators and world health overall. Yay! Gardening for the planet for the long-term also by using long-lasting materials such as stone, not plastic to add to the landfill.


The nursery itself is not overwhelming, rather it is a manageable space. It consists of a selection of garden rooms full of design ideas and themes on the perimeter of the nursery. Tables of perennials, annuals, grasses, shrubs and trees fill the center with an enticing selection. Well-chosen garden trellises, art and containers are grouped throughout and plenty of garden products, tender succulents and houseplants are in the greenhouse/checkout area. There will be more innovative displays in the future - they are nowhere near finished from a design perspective. The grand opening a few weeks ago was, I have the feeling, the beginning of some beautiful visionary ideas from a lot of talented people.


An eye-catching selection of containers and garden art, as well as some very charming nursery help.


For a compact nursery, they really have a great selection of plants.


The terra cotta pots made me swoon and. yes, I took one home with me. I had to, it matches the house.


Plants are arranged by type for easy shopping. Here, shade annuals in a variety of choices.


Here is the first of the garden rooms - the Pacific Rim idea room.




Fountain in the background, Asian-inspired statuary and a monolithic rock-themed focal point. Broad leaf evergreens appropriate to our climate offer suggestions as to what would works well in such an environment.


Shady groundcovers in this section, and more container varieties.




Take a break in the lovely swinging bench.




Here is part of the Rustic Edible room featuring berry plants, vegetables and herbs. There are also tomato cages and container options if you'd like to grow your veggies in a raised bed or a pot.




The water trough seen here is actually a recirculating fountain. I love the idea of a galvanized trough used this way. Behind is a raised bed with newly planted starts of veggies. Hanging baskets of colanders are a fun idea in the background.


I had to show the whole thing in action. I love this -- rustic and simple.


Functional and cool, too.


It's my understanding that William made these tables. How wonderful are these legs? I love it. This is the herb section, if I'm not mistaken.




A colorful addition to the rustic edibles area. Love this table, too.


Now onto the Modern Outdoor area. Big bold colors, large leaves and comfortable furnishings are one way to go contemporary in the garden.


Really clean lines on the rusted firepit, which could be placed just about anywhere and look great and be quite useful.




Unifying color schemes add sophistication. I really like the treatment of the ground with large square pavers here. I imagine this will change over time as Drake's 7 Dees is a landscape design company with resources at their fingertips. This is the point of the showroom nursery - to share ideas, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing it evolve.




A bottle tree with a selection of bottles.


Some fabulous containers with a glittering, subtle palette. Nice.


There is some pretty impressive garden statuary.


Here's an interior shot of the greenhouse taken earlier this spring.




This happy face is another in the large statuary category, going up on the wall.


And all the strong men taking care of business!


Not only that, this gem of a space will soon have a coffee house. Why would you ever want to leave?


It has been a pleasant surprise for me to rediscover this nursery in its new location out on the west side of town. It was totally worth the drive, not only to see my friends, but to see the incredible amount of creativity put into making this a gem of a showcase. To have William's vision, hard work and experience is a stroke of luck for the nursery, and to have the same -- the talent and hard work of Anna and Gina is brilliant. The whole crew is great, although I don't know them all. They have all worked so very very hard to make this a showcase of a design center. I say they have achieved their goal. I know more changes are on the way, so I will certainly revisit. I would love to see some earlier "before" pictures to show how far the crew has come, perhaps in another post.

In the mean time, if you are in the area, I encourage you to get out to Southwest Portland at 5645 SW Scholls Ferry Rd and pay a visit.

That's it this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you so much for reading and until next time, happy gardening (and garden shopping)!

24 comments :

  1. What a great place for inspiration! Lots of nurseries sort of do this, creating little vignettes here and there. Having the "rooms" as the focus though is the way to do it right!

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    1. It is Alan, the rooms are clearly defined and focused, a real treat to see.

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  2. There's so much going on in this garden centre Tamara, one could easily spend hours in it! Wish we had something like this near us!

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    1. I know, I had to drag myself away. Had the husband and MIL in tow so they were ready to go! Darn. Well, I wish you had something like this too. I love seeing nurseries when you guys post them in the UK. It's so fun to see the differences and similarities, too.

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  3. Wonderful vignettes! (But then I wouldn't expect less from Anna.) I like how they've organized things by category. How I wish we had a garden center like this nearby.

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    1. Anna, she's a treasure that one :) Tip-top shape, this place is - my husband even said so - and I have taken him to MANY nurseries where he rolls his eyes. Not this one, he really liked it.

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    2. Aww - you are both making me blush... :)

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  4. Nice to have a walk around an American nursery and it looks wonderful indeed. The terracotta pots are really nice and what about those men hanging that obviously heavy happy face on the wall, a funny shot.

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    1. I'd love to see a Dutch nursery, Janneke! The terra cotta pots are my favorite, I have a weak spot for nice ones. Glad you liked the happy face :)

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  5. Great place with lots of good ideas! I love the idea of vignettes!

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    1. Yay! Glad you enjoyed the tour, Laurin. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  6. What a great space! I'm not a west side girl at all, but it looks worthy of the trip.

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    1. Very worthy, Mindy. It's a surprise for us east-siders, and a destination totally worthy of a drive.

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  7. I like the display areas for ideas. I've been wanting to visit a few nurseries in that area. I've been aware of Drake's for awhile, but it's definitely going on the list of places to see.

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    1. Great! Glad it's on your list, it's very very worthy with such a great crew. Go say hi to everyone!

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  8. Wow they've been busy! So much has happened just in the month or two since I was there last. Yay team Drakes!

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    1. Oh my gosh you wouldn't believe it, Danger. It's amazing. From the time I visited this spring to a few weeks ago...WHAMMO. A total transformation and those guys have been working day and night to get ready for the grand opening. They are still working on it and that coffee shop will be so charming, an old wooden wall interior, super Italian-esque, just wonderful. They've worked their tushies off.

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    2. Thanks! Admittedly - that shipment of statuary truly kicked our earlier efforts up a notch. Not to denigrate our earlier efforts - we really have been working our butts off - but that made a HUGE difference. I still haven't decided which goddess or gargoyle is coming home with me!

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    3. Thanks Tamara for a great post on our little place! I'd be happy to show you photos from my pre-interview survey of the place some time. If there is a will, there is a way, I guess... But, I also want to give a big shout-out to Steven and Robin (our on-site landscape architects) who both are an instrumental part of our west-side gang, as well as Jose and the fabulous crews who helped us build it all, and to Scott and the rest of the people on the east-side. This has been a collaborative effort, for sure. :) I have to say I love your photo of the gang hanging Mother Earth on the wall. I wasn't there that day, and wondered how much muscle it took to do it. She's heavy, that one...

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    4. Thanks for the shout outs, Anna - I don't know the names of the other talent so I appreciate you adding their names here. It took a lot of effort by many, indeed! A vision and a lot of effort by a super talented group of people, so thank you thank you Anna :) And thank you to Steven, Robin, Scott, Jose and everyone.

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  9. Just the kind of design-focused nursery we need down here! Best of luck to them.

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    1. It's just lovely, and design-focused it is. We do need this and it's most welcome here in P-town.

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  10. Great write-up of a very special place. I'll take quality over quantity any day.

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    1. Thanks, Rickii! Me too, every day, every time :)

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