Garden Centers of America (GCA) Summer Tour organizers have announced the full roster of 15 host garden centers in and around Seattle, WA, for the 15th annual event, which takes place June 24-27, 2018. Independent garden center retailers from all over the country will gather to network and get energized with new ideas from the tour’s featured destinations, from trendy urban garden boutiques to established fourth-generation independents and a nursery/winery combo with a view of Mount Rainier.
The GCA Summer Tour Seattle is not restricted to GCA members and is open to all independent garden center retailers. Early bird savings of $50 per person, plus $30 for each additional person registered, are in effect. Go to GardenCentersofAmerica.com to register.
Here’s a quick snapshot at some of the stops on the tour; more details can be found on the GCA Summer Tour event page.
Monday, June 25
• West Seattle Nursery & Garden Center: West Seattle Nursery & Garden Center is a prized source of unusual perennials, trees, shrubs, and seasonal annuals for urban landscapes. This full-service nursery and garden center has been locally owned since 1983, and expanded less than two years ago with a new greenhouse and gift shop that showcases an eclectic product mix.
• Watson’s Greenhouse & Nursery: As a complement to its garden shop and birding focus, this retailer offers a wide selection of home decór, gourmet food, and fashion in its elegant retail greenhouse, a 32,500-square-foot glass and steel structure from Belgian manufacturer Deforche. Watson’s grows most of the annuals it sells, as well as selections for its signature container gardens and hanging baskets.
• Windmill Gardens: Windmill Gardens grows more than 60% of the green goods it sells, and is known for its premium-quality tulips, bulbs, primroses, premium annuals, and poinsettias. It is famous for its fuchsias and dahlias, as well as its mixed hanging baskets.
• Rainier View Winery & Nursery: Rainier View Winery & Nursery pairs beautiful hanging baskets, garden starts, custom container gardens, and a broad selection of annuals and perennials with handcrafted wine produced on-site — all in a setting that offers a spectacular view of Mount Rainier, an icon in the Washington landscape and the highest mountain in the state.
• Branches Garden Center: There are no permanent structures at Branches Garden Center, but rather a series of six hoop houses, 18 feet by 90 feet each, make up the retail space at this local independent’s 1-acre corner lot. Displays of green goods cross-merchandised with antique and vintage furnishings create a warm, eclectic shopping experience.
Tuesday, June 26
• Wells Medina Nursery: Wells Medina Nursery is located in the upscale area east of Lake Washington, near the waterfront estates of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. The retailer is known for its year-round depth of selection in premium shrubs, trees, annuals, and perennials, and its container gardens and hanging baskets are not to be missed.
• Ravenna Gardens: This urban garden center’s 2,500-square-foot space features contemporary visual merchandising that spotlights the retailer’s focus on small-space gardening. Container gardening is a specialty, with the expertise of Barbara Libner, the garden center’s in-house designer, featured in the national media.
• Magnolia Garden Center: Turning its attention to city-dwellers with limited experience has carved a solid niche for Magnolia’s nursery and gift shop, which operates 3,500 square feet of indoor selling. The garden center’s container department offers ample choices in high-fired pottery, lightweight pots, and rustic planters, along with indoor pottery in a rainbow of colors.
• Swansons Nursery: Swansons Nursery, locally owned since 1924, operates on 5 acres in Seattle’s Crown Hill neighborhood, and ranks among the nation’s leading independent garden centers. It actively promotes organic, sustainable gardening with a full schedule of free seminars and workshops.
Wednesday, June 27
• Molbak’s Garden + Home: This garden center’s displays and merchandise mix are updated on an ongoing basis to reflect the changing seasons. Connected to their community and local region, the majority of Molbak’s green goods are locally grown
• Sunnyside Nursery: Sunnyside is known for its broad offering of quality green goods across a range of categories. Fruit trees are a specialty, from apples and apricots to fig and nut varieties. At its peak, the garden center has more than 800 fruit trees, in stock and ready to plant. Pollinator-friendly plants are another favorite among Sunnyside’s shoppers.
• McAuliffe’s Valley Nursery: McAuliffe’s is a farm-to-retail nursery that grows its own stock on more than 40 acres of richly fertile soil. At the heart of the garden center is a historic turn-of-the-century dairy barn, surrounded by a rich palette of stunning plants, both familiar and rare varieties, including balled and burlapped trees, a specialty for the retailer.
• Flower World, Inc.: With an expansive 15 total acres of retail display areas (3 acres covered), Flower World is one of the largest nurseries on the West Coast, with $6.3 million in sales. It grows more than 90% of the green goods it sells, including bedding plants, roses, berry bushes and grapes, deer-proof varieties, fruit trees, interior foliage, and aquatic plants.
• Li’l Sprout Nursery & Garden Center: Indoor plants and tropicals, including a trendy selection of succulents and cacti, are a must-see at this 2-acre operation with nine greenhouses. Hydroponics is a focus and passion for Li’l Sprout, as is organic gardening, supported with a curated selection of product and a range of educational opportunities for customers.
• Sky Nursery: This family-owned garden center’s outdoor display beds and shade-house showcase an extensive seasonal selection of trees, shrubs, and vines, along with creatively cross-merchandised presentations of decorative containers, fountains, statuary, and garden art. For gardening enthusiasts, there is a collector’s corner of specialty perennials, and an ever-changing range of succulents, native plants, and pollinator plants.