Raintree Nursery

In the long last gasping gray days of winter, there is nothing better for your spirits than a visit to a plant nursery. This is the time between the excitement of seed catalogs and putting out your seedlings. So, Sunday afternoon I set out to the Raintree Nursery in southwest Washington, near(ish) Mt St Helens & the Snoqualmie National Forest. I made my shopping list, checked it twice and packed the car with all the provisions it takes for me to travel an hour and a half (mostly, I require coffee and the car requires gasoline).

The entry to the nursery has a lovely stand of bamboo that I was jealous of. Krista & I have discussed adding bamboo to our backyard to muffle traffic noise, but I think will get around to it, oh, around 2033.

This is the retail greenhouse that is open to customers – there are many other greenhouses for staff only. It’s so warm in here. There are thankfully benches so you can rest for a second.

I really loved this container of sepervivum but I don’t think it was for sale. I looked for a price tag. Don’t you want to pet the carpet of moss growing on the pot? It’s so soft.

There is a tropical room inside the greenhouse. It’s even warmer than the main room. It’s full of banana trees (below), stevia plants, and all kinds of other delightful tropical things that are Indoor Pets in the PNW.

There were no citrus plants, even though Raintree sells them. They drop ship their citrus from other growers. It’s understandable – I doubt it’s easy to maintain healthy citrus in the PNW – but it also makes me think I shouldn’t get a lemon tree. If professional nursery people can’t easily grow them in a warm greenhouse, what chance do I have in my frigid house?

I also geeked out on a Belgian fence made from a variety of fruit trees, 15-year old apple trees made into horizontal espaliers, and trellises of kiwis and grapes. The best part was smelling all the blossoms on the fruit trees. The apricots & plums were going full-force, and it was delicious.

I brought home 10 raspberries, 2 blueberries, and 50 strawberry plants. Most of them are dormant, bare root, straight out of cold storage, so they are living in the fridge until I have time to get them in the ground…. hopefully soon! I didn’t take any photos of my loot because it looks like a pile of sticks packed in sawdust, and no one thinks that is interesting, not even me.

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4 Comments

Filed under garden, urban farming, winter

4 responses to “Raintree Nursery

  1. I see there in the big greenhouse picture a sign that says “lingonberries.” can you actually grow lingonberries in the PNW? If so I will consider moving.

    • jess s

      Pretty much all berries do well here, even the weird exotic ones like lingonberries. Blackberries are feral. Raspberries are absurdly prolific. Strawberries are obscene. Blueberries thrive in our acidic coastal sandy soil. Then there are elderberries, aronia berries, currants, cranberries, Sea Buckthorn, serviceberries, and other things I can’t even remember.

      Raintree sells several varieties of Lingonberries, do you want me to start them in containers so they will be big enough for your lingonfarm when you arrive?

  2. caitlin

    Did this place sell kiwis? When I was in Seattle @ Tilth there was an insane kiwi arbor, and it bore an enourmous amount of fruit in October. Get one so I can live vicariously through you in regards to harvesting kiwis.

    • jess s

      Oh girl. They sell like 8 kinds of kiwi. I really want to get the hardy kiwi vines (maybe what you are talking about?). They were on my list this year, but between building the raised beds and the chicken coop, I don’t have it in me to build an arbor or substantial trellis, too. Plus, you have to buy a male and female plant, so it ends up being close to $40. I know it’s a one time investment, but $40 is a lot of seeds, you know?

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