Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Finally! Visiting DIG Nursery on Vashon Island…


Sometimes when you’ve heard a lot about a place, and then finally get to see it for yourself, the reality doesn’t quite live up to the hype. This is especially awkward when you’ve talked a friend into coming along with you. Thankfully I found DIG Nursery to be everything it was promised to be and more.

And my friend Erin was thrilled just to meet Sophie, so she was happy too…

The life of a nursery dog is such a rough one...they lay around soaking up the sun and the adoration of shoppers.

Did the cute dog blind you to the fabulous structure she calls her home away from home? Page back up and check it out...and now admire these concrete squares planted with all sorts of ground covers...

This is not a nursery where the plants are the only attraction. In fact I bet you could take a non-gardener here and they'd still have plenty to look at. The creative lady behind the nursery, Sylvia Matlock, has skillfully divided the large space to create smaller intimate "rooms" where there are cool plants as well as interesting structures and materials which cause you to pause and think...

Here's the treasure I took home, Colletia hystrix also known as Crucifixion Thorn or Barbed Wire Bush. I couldn't have left without it right?

There's a large greenhouse on the grounds which I'm sure must be full over the winter months. During our visit it held a colorful assortment of plants and other items.

We had to walk through twice because there are so many layers you could miss something the first time.

Back outside I surveyed the landscape and was a bit overwhelmed...so instead of heading "out there" I took a left.

And discovered this upside-down stock tank providing shade and no doubt cover from rain too.

Just to the side was a double-decker stock tank planting...

This is an interesting combination. If you want a vine to grow up a slick corrugated wall this would be a great way to make it happen.

The gabion walls and overhead beams make this open space feel intimate.

Up-close of the gabion...

It's always exciting to look out and see a Tetrapanax forest beyond...

Okay we're heading back out into the main part of the nursery...

I believe the burgundy foliage is a euphorbia, nice with the blue grass eh?

Don't the hanging blooms look like dandelions?

Wow...I couldn't get over to check out that "tree" fast enough. Unfortunately all my pictures were bad and I forgot to ask exactly what it is.

The foliage...

Amazing! The truck was gorgeous but I didn't get a good shot in focus. Damn.

Can you believe how much there is to see here?

Layers upon layers of gorgeous.

Imagine a table and chairs under that arching trellis covered in a flowering vine...

I wanted it all.

I wonder if anyone has every tried to buy this planting as is...

I wish I would have gotten an better photo of the signage, it was wonderful.

Ah, be still my heart.

I'm not sure which Restio this is but it was very nice.

As were these happy leaves.

Looking at this set-up...

I could just imagine all sorts of things my brothers and I (when we were younger) would have sent floating down those streams.

Inside the office was a fine collection of plants and other items.

My only regret? That Vashon Island, and thus DIG, isn't in my normal path to, or from, anywhere. Still I imagine I'll make it a destination again someday...(soon)...

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

26 comments:

  1. What a trip! I love the fact that it doesn't look like a commercial nursery. More like an art installation cum secret garden.

    I had to look up Vashon Island. It's quite a distance from Portland. Thanks for the ancillary geography lession :-).

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    1. Indeed it is a ways away. I drove up to Seattle early Saturday morning and then Erin and I hoped on a ferry for the trip over to the island...fun!

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  2. Hooray! Glad that you finally got to visit one of my favorite places! The tree is an acacia (Acacia leucophloea?) with beautiful white bark. This one died to the ground during the phormium killing winters but came back from the roots and it's multi-trunked! Mine didn't return from the roots - maybe drainage is the trick. You need one! Alison and I visited Dig on Saturday and Sylvia said that she enjoyed your visit! Happy for you that you found Colletia hystrix!

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    1. I guess I knew it was an acacia (aren't all the good ones?) but not which one, thank you for the possible ID. Is there a DIG post in the Outlaw's future?

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  3. Nice tour, love all their garden creations. Wonderful place to explore.

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  4. Wow! I am so surprised to find that you had never been to Dig before! It is a marvelous place, just chock full of plants that I figured would appeal to you. Those file drawers with the sedums have been there for three years at least. I love them. In fact, I have similar file drawers hiding in my shed, waiting for me to quit re-organizing my garden and start planting them up. BTW, next time you're up this way, you know you have an open invitation to visit me. As long as Peter and I (or Nigel and I) aren't gadding about somewhere.

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    1. It's that darn island thing! I never could manage to find the time to go. So glad I finally did. And thank you for the invite, I appreciate it and hope to take you up on it. I had hoped to invite you over when you and Nigel were in PDX but things got in the way. However you too are always welcome here when in the area!

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  5. Another inspiring place Loree. And yes there seems so much to see (I don't even know where to start commenting about especially).

    So many creative quirks, if only space is not an issue then we wouldn't mind borrowing one or two of their ideas....

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    1. It does come down to space doesn't it? Oh and money, sometimes money.

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  6. Gorgeous place--thanks for the tour. Can you imagine working there and seeing that beauty every day? That might be fun.

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  7. Such a creative space, my dog is now going to expect a much grander kennel in the new garden!

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    1. Perhaps one with a spiky green roof?

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  8. How much do I want that rusty metal arbor...SO MUCH!

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    1. Could be quite the interesting trip hauling it back to Portland, but it would be SO fabulous in your back garden!

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  9. I am overwhelmed by this post alone...never mind what it must be like to actually experience it in three dimensions, plus scent and touch. You bring the world to our screens in a most delightful way.

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    1. Thank you Ricki, if you're even in the area I think you'd really enjoy a real life visit!

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  10. Looks like a pretty fab nursery! I love the creative drawer planters.

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    1. It is indeed, I bet the Seattle Fling organizers tried to figure out a way to get it on the agenda.

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  11. Wow! I like that upside-down stock tank. My brother-in-law lives on Vashon but I've never visited there. I guess this is another reason to make a visit (soon). Thanks for the tour.

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    1. Yes you should make a summer trip up that way...it's beautiful!

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  12. Zonal DenialJune 12, 2013

    That mystery Dr Seuss tree looks like Acacia dealbata, Loree. I have one that came back from the dead after its first Portland winter, resprouting from the base. Crossing my fingers that it makes it thru a couple more winters to gain some hardened-off wood. Still waiting for the winter flower show I've seen on other specimens. Sean had a HUGE one in the gardens at Cistus years ago that bloomed like crazy, but it died in an especially cold winter four or five years ago.

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    1. Ah thank you...yes that does look right. I think I may have seen one at the Ruth Bancroft Garden.

      So I asked this on an earlier comment reply but do I know you? I see you're here in Portland...surely I must?

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    2. Zonal DenialJune 13, 2013

      Longtime lurker, first-time commenter. ;) I've been a fan of your blog for a while now, but I don't think we've actually met. We should!

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    3. Agreed...what part of town do you live in? (you can email me at: spiky plants at gmail dot com, with all the appropriate changes of course).

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