Thursday, March 17, 2016

Seattle Visit: Ravenna Gardens

Oh, gardening friends, get ready for a little virtual retail therapy. During our Seattle trip we hit three local nurseries, one of which was Ravenna Gardens in the University District. The smallest of the three, it was more boutique in nature, reflecting its urban locale. Ravenna Gardens has a stunning selection of gorgeous wares for both garden and home.

I invite you to sit back and take it all in.



There is an outdoor section where perennials, groundcovers, trees and edibles are found. And there's my boss and friend William McClenathan of Garden Time TV and Drake's in Portland.


Next door was this incredible planting (with my colleague Anna of Flutter and Hum is also intrigued). I wonder if Ravenna Gardens had a hand in this.


Great combination of textures and colors for an evergreen (mostly) planting.


Moving on: This is an enchanting idea, well-executed and functional, too. These types of vignettes are, in my mind, the most appealing.



These table and chairs make for a colorful alternative to wall art. More great planters, too.



Moving inside, there are dozens of interesting color-themed vignettes.


Mixed in with plants and containers is an interesting selection of napkins, vases, artworks, books, candle holders, soaps, lotions and curiosities of the natural kind.


There were lots of bunnies mixed in, too.


 A choice selection of terrariums and succulent planters.


These green vases, pots and candles speak my language.


So does everything in this neutral-toned vignette, evoking images form the sea.


If you ever needed a hostess gift or something special for the home, this is the place. So in a way, this is not strictly a nursery or garden center. To me, it is a place to make your garden and home special.



Wreaths are very au currant, which I am happy about, and this unusual example really caught my eye.


Here's the powder blue vignette. While all of this is visually stunning, I have to say that many items made in China did grace the shelves. I personally go for locally made items first, eschewing mass-produced eye candy, even though it's really hard to do sometimes. Prices are higher for locally made items, but I figure if I love it that much and have to have it, it's ok to pay a fair price.


Oh, yes, they have plants. Inside, many tender succulents and cacti from which to choose.


And more terrariums and crystals, too.


We all thought these were interesting.


A touch of classic garden statuary.


A few garden tools and crows to help. There are several tools tucked in here and there, but not in the same way that a garden center would display them.


I loved these terra cotta pots, I should have picked up a few.


Soaps, lotions and candles. It smelled great in there.


Back outside, a few spring blossoms for color.


Edibles, too.


A nice selection of 4-inch pots. As it's a small store, the selection was somewhat predictable but very nice-looking and useful.


The store is so airy that it really captures the inside-outside feel all over.




I include this to mention that I saw this tree at every nursery we went to as well as at the Seattle Flower and Garden Show. This happens to be the same olive tree species that I have, too. Apparently olives are the hot thing in growing your own food!


A good selection of trellises.


I adore these as they remind me of the sea. I would love to have a few, but if I remember correctly, they were out of my budget range.



More splashes of spring color mixed with conifers and evergreens grace the entry way.


A final look back to this unique place.

Although not a proper nursery or garden center per se, Ravenna Gardens is nonetheless a stunning place. All of us agree it is first-class with a sweet selection and an extremely inventive and effective way of displaying goods. We thought of it as the petite "Crate and Barrel" of garden centers, visually enticing and immaculate. This appeals to a particular audience, one that is certainly present in this part of Seattle. This fancier level of retail I found at all three Seattle-area nurseries we visited, whereas the Portland nurseries, garden centers and the like feel a bit more rustic with less flash. The prices reflect this, too -- I think it just all depends on what people are willing to spend; neighborhoods that have a population willing to support these kinds of places will create the market for them. So go shopping, people! Oh, and support your local artisans when you can. Just sayin'.

Its smaller size is neither good nor bad. It is where you go for a special item so the smaller size invites you to linger whereas the mega-store can be mentally exhausting before you even begin. But the larger store always has more to offer in terms of selection, so I suppose it depends on personal shopping preferences. For me, I swing from mood to mood. To compare the last nursery, Sky Nursery to this one is really apples to oranges, but a comparison does highlight the variety of kinds of shopping experiences one can have even in the world of garden centers.

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you for visiting and reading, and until next time happy gardening, happy spring and happy Saint Patrick's Day!





16 comments :

  1. Makes me want to hop on a airplane! That branch bench is too cool! Thank you for the tour : )

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    1. Isn't it? I love it too....it's a great store.

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  2. The Seattle Fling hotel a few years ago was just a few blocks away from Ravenna, and one evening there was a get-together there. I like going back every so often. The displays change, I guess, but they have a certain sameness to them. Those colorful chairs have been hanging on that outside wall for years. Still, a special place.

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    1. Yes, I thought I saw those chairs on others' posts, but they are colorful all the same. I would go back every so often if I were in the hood, too!

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  3. I love those branch benches! I'm already scheming a way to copy the smaller one shown in the 6th photo.

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    1. Me too, that's why I took the photos - thinking....thinking...scheming is a better word. I'm with you, Kris!

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  4. I manage to hit Ravenna at least once a year, their style is very inspiring and I have warm memories of shopping them going way way way back before this fancy location.

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    1. Yay! Where did they used to be? I would love to know more about their history.

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  5. I'm not a fan of creeping Jenny, usually, but I love the way it drapes and loops over the edge in that planting next door. I love the powder blue vignette, but would add in a few pieces from the green. Love the rock and beach glass chains, too. I'm always conflicted about these boutique-style stores. I always want to see more plants, for one thing. I don't have the money to spend on these decorations, nor the home to put them in, but I do enjoy looking at them. It's both inspiring and frustrating.

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  6. I love the eye candy displays. They're a great inspiration. What a fun place.

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  7. I have fond memories of shopping there and enjoying a bloggers' happy hour during the Seattle Garden Bloggers Fling. Wish they had a satellite store in Austin!

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  8. I remember this garden from the Bloggers Fling several years ago - it’s delightful. I wish we had one here in Austin.

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  9. Thanks for the Ravenna fix. I was totally bummed when they left after only a short stint in Portland.

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  10. Wow! That's a great nursery. Southern California seems to be left with Home Depot and the very occasional chain nursery. I'm very envious.

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