In all of my previous visits to the Skagit Valley, I have never taken the time to stop at Christianson’s Nursery (it’s the donkeys to the west and the decrepit barn to the east, and the tulip and daffodil fields in between that have captured my attention). I had stopped in at Roozengaarde, which advertises itself as a year-round garden, but it was underwhelming at this time of year, with a few perennials and widely-spaced, straggly-looking annuals.
I wandered between tables of attractively mixed plants at Christianson’s, then past various greenhouses (looking at their website just now, I see I should’ve paid more attention to the buildings and not just the growing things; many of them are restored historic buildings). A delicious aroma permeated the air and I spun around, wondering if my nose had really just been blessed with one of my most favourite scents, citrus blossoms. There, against a greenhouse wall, several pots of Meyer lemons attracted bees and me.
I worked my way to the east side of the property, following signs to a washroom, which turned out to be in a tiny, adorable white house (a former teacherage) behind an historic schoolhouse, both surrounded by a lush “display garden” with plenty of chairs and benches for sitting and soaking it all in. Never one to sit when surrounded by beauty and with a camera in my hand, I made my way around the garden, taking lots of pictures with the little unobtrusive pocket camera I’d brought in to the garden center. After I went around once, I went back to my car for some snacks and my big camera and made another tour of the garden. Not one other person came in to the display garden the whole time I was there. I realized how much I miss the beautiful Hatley Garden on the campus of Royal Roads University, where I took many a sanity-saving break last year while completing my B.Sc. degree in Victoria, BC. I cannot think of any public gardens of the same grandeur in Calgary.
The nursery owners host a variety of events in and around the schoolhouse such as antique fairs and gardening workshops. It’s also available for rent for weddings and such, and the teacherage building also features a room for the bride to prepare. I think Christianson’s would be the sweetest place ever to get married!