New Spring Hours
Open Daily 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Visit the Skagit Valley in March for an abundance of daffodils!
Photograph by Randall Hodges
Skagit Valley has long been known for its acres and acres of tulips.  But, did you know about the other bulb that makes its cheery debut in March?  A well-known favorite, the daffodil, or Narcissus (N.), takes center stage and has an important role in the beauty of your garden. 

Daffodils bloom in early spring for about six weeks. The flowers then die back leaving green grassy foliage from which the bulbs draw energy to prepare them for a long dormancy and next year's new growth.

Who grows the thousands of daffodils?  Skagit's daffodil and tulip company, Washington Bulb. They grow more than 450 acres of daffodils. The three major varieties they plant are Dutch Master (the world's most popular daffodil), Flower Carpet and Standard Value.   The bulbs are harvested in late spring/early summer, dried off and shipped worldwide.
Nothing can quite compare to the big drifts of these sunny flowering bulbs, but the hay-colored patches of foliage they leave behind can be unappealing.  Companion plants will help to fill in and cover the unsightly die back. Do not cut the foliage back until completely dried. At that point you can gently remove the dead leaves with a gentle tug.

Include sun and shade-loving plants that complement the yellow hues in daffodils to add interest to your garden throughout the year as a way to hide the dying foliage.  Sun-loving companions include Tulips (next month's starlet), Muscari, Allium, Hyacinth, Blue Bells, and Iris.   Shade-tolerant plants such as winter-flowering Hellebores, Rhododendrons, and Primulas will help disguise daffodil die-back in filtered shade.

As the early bloomers wane, later-blooming plants such as Roses, Peonies Lilies and Gaillardia can be used to distract your view from the foliage of spring bulbs.

Whether planted in the garden, potted up, or fresh cut from Skagit's fields, daffodils are a clear, bright sign that winter has nearly ended, and spring has arrived. Daffodils are guaranteed to bring spring to your door!

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."
~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
The Arrival of Spring!

March weather may be unpredictable but Mother Nature is constantly unveiling new colors, fragrances for Spring that make the world seem new again!  Here in Primrose we are celebrating the joy and sweetness of this new season with new product that will fill your home with freshness and cheer.
There are so many great new items in the shop that we'd love to highlight but here are a few of our favorites:
Soaps & Lotions
Making a spring entrance are five new lines of hand creams and soaps in a dazzling array of fragrances such as Sweet Pea & Clover, Fig Leaf, Gardenia Blossoms, Narcissus Tuberose, Sparkling Peony.  Prefer subtle scents or unscented skin products? We now carry 'Gardener's' or 'Fragrance Free' soaps and lotions from Caren. Perfect for soothing rough winter skin and hardworking hands.
Easter and Springtime Home Decor
Reminiscent of your father's favorite coffee mug from the 60's, we have brought in retro mugs and bowls in robin's egg colors of blues and greens, perfect for adding a touch of spring to your everyday dishes. Our Easter displays are bursting with bunnies, birds, eggs, baskets, greeting cards, napkins, linens, and nostalgic vintage Easter items. Just for fun we have sugar 'letters' (instead of cubes) in pastel Easter-egg colors. Sweet!
And because there's so much to celebrate this month - the First Day of Spring, Saint Patrick's Day, and Easter Sunday (April 1) - we have just unveiled a fabulous selection of vintage bar ware, including martini shakers, cocktail pitchers, and glassware.  
Cheers to March and the arrival of spring!
Vintage Bridal Accessories at Primrose Antiques & Gifts

Having your bridal accessories created by hand is a great opportunity to bring a very personal touch to your look on your wedding day.

Unique to Primrose Antiques & Gifts is a collection of antique and handcrafted millinery flowers curated from the collection of Toni Christianson, co-owner of Christianson's Nursery.  Toni has personally designed and handcrafted wedding headdresses, tiaras, bouquets, corsages and floral arrangements to sell at Primrose.  The everlasting garden accessories
tell the stories of modern brides and grooms who want to celebrate nostalgic beauty in style.

Arrangements and accessories include a mix of three categories: antique silk, linen and cotton flowers (some dating as far back as 1850), a combination of antique and handmade flowers, or all handmade buds and blossoms made with antique fragments of tissue silk, organza, linen and cotton. Vintage flower stamens as well as fine ribbons are the elegant touches one would expect in a wedding keepsake.

With the wedding season budding for brides and grooms, be sure to visit Primrose, a must-see stop for vintage wedding flowers and accessories. 
Planting Pollinator-Friendly Plants

"One out of every three bites of food we eat needs a pollinator to reproduce."

Many of us enjoy the beauty of flowers in our backyard, community, and urban  gardens.  Growing native plants adds beauty and habitats for wildlife, especially for pollinators.  Even a small garden can make a big difference.

What are our pollinators?  Bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, beetles, wasps and even flies pollinate flowers, but bee species, pollinate flowers more often than any other group.

Pollinators have evolved with native plants, which are best adapted to the local growing season, climate, and soils.  Bee Diverse.  Plant a diversity of flowering species for feeding.
Although there a many varieties, here's a sample list of the garden-hardy native plants we carry at the Nursery that attract pollinators.
Bigleaf lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus)
Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Hall's aster (Symphytotrichum hallii)
Slender clarkia (Clarkia gracilis)
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris ssp. lanceolata) 
Wild lilac (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus)
Coyotebrush (Baccharis pilularis)
Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana)
Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor)
Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

Salal (Gaultheria shallon)

African marigold (Tagetes erecta) -Bees, butterflies 
Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta) -Hoverflies, various other
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)-Parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, bees
Marguerite (Chrysanthemum frutescens)-Hoverflies 
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)-Hoverflies 
China Aster (Callistephus chinesis)-Hoverflies 
French marigold (Tagetes patula) -Bees, hoverflies
Hollycock (Alcea rosea)-Bees
Globe thistle (Echinops ritro)-Bees, butterflies
Nasturtium (Trapaeolum minus) -Hoverflies, various others
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)-Hoverflies, butterflies
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)-Bees
Strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatum) -Hoverflies, various others 
Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) -Tachinid flies, syrpids, chalcids  
Pick Up Your Mason Bee Kits on March 29!  

It is Christianson's second year as an official pick up and drop off location for   

Rent Mason Bees is a western Washington-based company that rents bees to backyard gardeners and orchardists.
  They supply pollination kits which contain safe, local bees to provide a sustainable and economical solution for gardeners, fruit growers and farmers.

Rent your kit at the Nursery on Thursday, March 29 and learn how easy it is to start your own backyard beekeeping!


March Spotlights our Expert Staff
at the Nursery!

Saturday, March 10
 Design a Garden Chair Planter

Christianson's Basket Designer,
Laura Campbell
10 a.m. - noon  (in the Potting Shed)
pre-payment required
class fee: $85

Landscaping Basics: Right Plant, Right Place
Christianson's Staff Member,
Molly Calvin
11 a.m. - noon
reservations required
class fee: $8

Saturday, March 17 

Colorful Plants for the Shade Garden

Owner, Nurseryman, John Christianson
11 a.m. - noon
reservations required
class fee: $8

Edible Ornamentals
Christianson's Hard Goods & Pottery Buyer, Lily Hirdler, C.P.H.
1 - 2 p.m.
reservations required
class fee: $8

"Ask John!"
John loves hearing from his customers and do they love to ask him questions! Each conversation features an actual question submitted by someone like you.     

Q: Hi John,  I am interested in buying an apple tree.  Do you need more than one tree to get fruit? 
- Robert S., Stanwood, WA    
A: Hi Robert , Apples are the best adapted fruit tree for Western Washington. 

All apple trees produce the most fruit with two different varieties for cross pollination.  Nearly any two will do, as long as they are not the same variety, and only apples with apples (no apples with pears).  For example, an Akane and Chehalis are two different varieties that can cross pollinate each other.   

The only exception are varieties that are sterile: Our offering includes Gravenstein, Jonagold and King.  With these three varieties you need to plant two other varieties to cross pollinate each other, and the sterile variety. 
Every orchard should have at least 3 apple trees anyway!

- John Christianson  
Have a garden-related question? 
Email us:
Listen to "The Garden Show", Sunday Mornings with John and Mike on both,  KAPS AM 660 and FM 102.1 at 10:30 in the morning.   
Construction in Underway!

Winter is the perfect time for major projects at the Nursery, and this year we are knee-deep in renovations. 

And, since you've been asking...

Have you noticed the renovation of the barn just north of the Nursery? Introducing, "The Vinery", to be used as agricultural storage. The location of this building has an interesting history.  It was originally a seed-drying shed built on the old pea vining property of the Mc Millan Canning Company in La Conner. They processed peas for Libby (McNeill & Libby in Chicago, Illinois) from the 1930-70's. 

Keeping with John and Toni Christianson's passion of new construction while using reclaimed and vintage building materials, the  exterior was fabricated from the old Davis Barn on Fir Island, a familiar to landmark to Skagitonians.  Even the windows used throughout the barn originated from original Skykomish Gymnasium (near Steven's Pass).

During pea harvest, the pungent aroma of fresh peas lingered in a layer over La Conner.  24 stationary pea viners (pictured below) were replaced by mobile viners in the mid 70's.

A special thanks to Chuck Hedlin for the historical document. 

~March Specials~

March 1-15    
Bare Root
the best selection of the year
fruit, flowering and shade trees, berries,
lilacs and hydrangeas 
20% off already low bare root prices 
March 16-April 1  
Winter and Spring-flowering beauties-
many in bloom! 
20% off  
Christianson's Nursery
15806 Best Road Mount Vernon, WA  98273
 (360) 466-3821 or 1-800-585-8200
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