Thursday, March 03, 2016

Nursery Visit: Sky Nursery Seattle

What do plant nerds do the day after the Northwest Flower and Garden Show? Visit nurseries, of course. Since I had yet to really explore any nurseries in the Seattle area it was an eye-opening experience for me. In this post I will give you a tour of Sky Nursery, a very large operation in Shoreline, north of Seattle. This was one of three nurseries visited, the other two, Molbak's and Ravenna Gardens will be covered in later posts.


Sky Nursery started out in 1953 selling mostly farm supplies; customers could dig out plants from the ground if they wanted them...could you imagine doing that today? It is still owned by the same family, the Landrys, the four-acre site is now full of garden products. This place is enormous.



The entrance. I think I ran in.


So far so good...a little color and a huge welcome sign.


Once inside I could see we would be here a while.


Plenty of mason bee supplies. It was very pleasing to see that they are being promoted in this part of the world, too.


Plenty of hummingbird supplies. 


I can't recall having visited a place with more containers than this up to this point. Here are just a few.


Blues, turquoise, yellow. Tall, textured, swirled.


Greens, browns, neutrals, jumbo, square, round.


Metallic, patterned, short, tall.


Beautiful greens. There were many many more in a rainbow of colors. I was quite impressed with the selection.


 Did I mention this place is huge?


Now on to plants in the enormous greenhouse showroom. My colleague Gina and I especially loved this area and these signs. What a lovely way to categorize plants.


There were large groupings of genera.


There were also large seasonal displays.


Great variety, too.


There was a decent section for natives.


The place was so huge I felt quite lost at times and had to physically run around to find my colleagues. We never really did just "bump into" one another.


The Epimedium table looking quite fresh.


Small displays capped the ends of larger table displays, often with interesting garden artworks.





Detail of the lanterns pictured above.


Little out-building vignettes are sprinkled throughout. This had some suet feeders for birds, shrubs, firewood and a rustic feel.



 A pine cone garland and bird feeder round out the feel of this rustic vignette.


Now to go outside. Yes, it continues. This is where the trees and shrubs are located. The four greenhouse peaks to the rear left of the photo are where we have been up to now.


A really full selection. I got lost out there but did manage to find my persimmon tree. Yay!


Inside a few more miscellaneous surprises. This bench was fantastic, I think the price point was $600.


Another rustic outbuilding...and again, good displays.




A little more garden art.


And garden cats and dogs.


Garden birds of all feather - duck, crow, owl, sparrow....wow, I've never seen so many all at once.


Of course birdbaths, a decent selection. 


And fishies.


And...hedgehogs, of course. Don't all garden centers carry hedgehog art?


A few other details round out the selection. Of course, there were terrarium-making materials, candles and orchids.



Nice selection of rain chains. I do get asked about these more than you would think at the nursery. It's difficult to find good ones.


Yay! You know I love any place that offers worms for sale.


Inside the house plant greenhouse. Yes, they have one of those too.


Amazing light and airiness in this space.


Some of the more tender outdoor plants are also kept here.


Bonsai!


Philodendron 'Xanadu'. I really like the leaf shape of this one.


See what I mean about the airiness? Fantastic light in this nursery.

When we left this nursery, I asked my colleagues to state three things they did not like about this nursery and three things they do really well. The answers were varied but we were all generally on the same page. What we didn't embrace was that it sometimes felt too big. Maybe it was the gargantuan greenhouses and vertical volume, but even with all those plants it felt empty. Maybe if they filled some of the vertical space with...I don't know, giant orbs or something? We weren't greeted by anyone nor asked if we had any questions or if we were looking for anything in particular. While that may not bug everyone, it is a common courtesy in retail. For me, the fact that they carry Roundup and other similar products is a negative. The positives? It was clean, well-organized with good displays and wonderful signage, a good selection (ok, an overwhelming selection which can work against a store), they also have a coffee shop. The wooden tables used for plant displays are attractive. They had so many items, it is definitely a place to shop if you have some free time or need a good gift for a gardener. They also represented a lot of beneficial products for habitat, i.e., mason bees, hummingbird supplies, worms, etc., along with their native plant selection. Definitely a destination garden center to look to for inspiration and it offers just about anything you need from a gardening perspective.

They have more than what is pictured here, of course. They have bulk materials -- that is to say soil, compost, amendments, gravel and the like, as well as delivery and container planting services. They also have events, such as the Prune-A-Thon happening this Saturday the 5th of March. Check their website for more details on any of these services.

Overall it is a fantastic nursery that I would likely spend a lot of money in if I lived close by. As it was, I walked away with a persimmon tree which I was very happy to find.

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens, until next time, thank you for reading and happy gardening!



16 comments :

  1. I think I'd have been a bit overwhelmed by the place too but, with regular exposure, I expect I'd get over that!. I liked how they grouped things and that they appear to offer a lot of plants in the smaller sizes I prefer to start with. The latter practice is becoming more and more uncommon here.

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    1. I see your point, Kris. The smaller sizes are nice, that's how I usually buy too. From working at a nursery I can say that people want the larger sizes for some reason. Instant garden? It's interesting.

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  2. I'm so glad that you enjoyed your visit to Sky, even if it was a bit overwhelming. Sky is the very first nursery I went to when we first moved here. It was much smaller then, and they were just building that big greenhouse. I love it, it's my favorite Seattle-area nursery.

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  3. Also, I have been greeted by people there, it's too bad no one approached you. I wish I'd known you were going there, a Facebook friend works there and I could have put you in touch.

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    1. Yes, not sure why that was, but we were all very aware of it. To be fair, NO ONE at any of the three greeted us. Too bad we didn't know about your FB friend, another time as we will be back!

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  4. Sky is one of the few nurseries I've been to in the Seattle area. It is massive. I like their seasonal displays and wide selection. I'm more frequently bugged by people greeting me and asking if I need help than the lack of it, but I'm strongly introverted and shy on top of that.

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    1. Massive! They are masters at putting together seasonal displays. While I get what you're saying about not being greeted ( I am introverted too) we were on a nursery mission and make sure we say hello, at the very least, to everyone who comes in so they know we acknowledge them without being pushy.

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  5. I visited for the first time in AGES last fall and loved it. If I'd been on top of my game I would have gone back during my NWFG Show visit (a few things I would have loved more of) but as it was I only managed to make it to Ravenna (eager to hear what you thought of them). As for the greeting thing I stopped in a local nursery today and wanted to scream "LEAVE ME ALONE!" I was asked so many times what they could help me with. A "hello" is always welcome but when the questions are so much more pointed I makes me feel like I shouldn't have stopped there if I did at least plan to by something.

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    1. Oh, I get you on the "leave me alone" syndrome - the opposite of what we experienced. I was just hoping for a hello and welcome or something like that. Maybe they "over hello'd" in the past and now they aren't supposed to? I don't like being followed or told about what I should buy in ANY retail setting, but I do appreciate a smile and hello, an acknowledgement.

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  6. I'm so glad that you hit Sky during the NWFGS! I hit three other Seattle-area nurseries and was sad not to visit Sky as I love it but had been there not too long ago. Your coverage was great and you're right, Sky does sometimes look a bit empty even though it's packed with plants. This actually is a plus when there is a huge crowd of people shopping as there's always space for carts going two ways. Glad you enjoyed your visit!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt the vacuous nature of the place. Gorgeous and well-stocked but it's SOOO huge that it feels empty which is odd. We loved the visit, it was my favorite of the three, for sure.

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  7. I like having plenty of elbow room, so the empty part is actually appealing. This looks like the place to go if you;re actually looking for something specific (how could they not have it?). I'm more of a window shopper/impulse buyer, so I like small, experiential shops (which I guess contradicts the elbow room statement). Seems like being overwhelmed has me all confused.

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    1. It is the place for something specific, they have everything! It's a place to literally spend four hours getting lost. At least they have a coffee shop so you can refuel on your plant adventure.

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  8. I thought we had large nurseries here, but this one is a huge one, real American measures. Should love to have a stroll there trying to keep my purse closed, haha.

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    1. Oh, it is huge Janneke. Good luck keeping your purse closed, however! hahha is right :) They have too good of a selection to keep it closed!

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