Regional Conifer Nurseries: Pacific Northwest(add ones you like!)

firefightergardener(7/8)October 22, 2011

Maybe we can use this place(or series) of threads to discuss which nurseries you frequent in person and/or mail order. Many new collectors(including myself) have scant idea of where to start when the become interested in collecting conifers. In particular I'd like to hear more about those in the corners of the state, places off the beaten path, or those on the Eastside(Kirkland, Bothel, etc.). Obviously anyone from North California, Idaho, Oregon, etc. would be welcome to recommend some nurseries they frequent for conifers.

Four 'long' years ago I started my collecting after stumbling on a webpage from Bob Fincham and Coenosium Gardens labeled "Landscaping with Conifers, Chapter 1: Miniature Conifers." Because it is such a cool article, I've attached it below. Back to my beginnings though as a collector, after I discovered Coenosium Gardens, I found almost zero sources for the conifers I sought after. I wasn't aware of other online sources, and/or they weren't very receptive to new customers and local nurseries had lousy offerings(which I still ended up buying anyways). Four years later I have met a lot of conifer people, been to dozens of nurseries and while there are surely many I have never been to before in Washington State, I've seen enough good ones(and bad ones) to recommend the ones I like to frequent.

COENOSIUM GARDENS, EATONVILLE, WA.

Well this is sort of a misnomer as Bob and Dianne Fincham LIVE at their nursery and it's really Bob's collection with a nice selection of potted conifers in 5" square pots and gallons. Coenosium's has such a wonderful selection of very rare material and Bob and Dianne are so friendly that it has become about a 'quarterly' ritual to visit and drive home with a car load of conifers. Prices are very fair for the large, healthy stock and you'll find many dwarf and miniature conifers here that you really won't find anywhere else in the states. Another huge advantage of visiting Coenosium Gardens is you can often tour the gardens and see many of these plants in their mature glory. If you live within a few hundred miles, it's practically an obligatory visit for any collector. You'll want to email or call before you visit, again, this is a residence, you'll have to ask for an appointment to drop by. Bring some cash and your camera, it'll knock your socks off.

PORTLAND AVENUE NURSERY, TACOMA, WA.

This good sized nursery has a solid selection of conifers. Most of it is Iseli stock though they also have some other choices. The prices here are fair for the most part and they do offer some enormous specimens, so those in the Puget Sound area can take a look and see if they have that plant you've been looking for in a 20-gallon size. Hardly the best nursery I've been to but I check it out a few times a year to see what's new.

DRAGONFLY FARMS NURSERY, KINGSTON, WA.

This is a small family nursery but has probably the best selection of conifers for sale in the Pacific Northwest. The owner, Heidi, is a self-confessed plant addict and she emphasizes variety, rare and wierd plants over large swathes of the more recent trends. Heidi seems to have several sources, Iseli, Buchholz, Stanley & Sons and others. My young collection is pretty large, some 1400 cultivars but I swear Dragonfly farms has even more for sale. I am drawn back by constant new offerings, great prices and a selection that despite combing over it repeatedly, seems to have new plants every time I visit. Many of Heidi's plants are smaller, sometimes 2-4 year old plants, which for me is particularly attractive because it means they are more affordable and often have healthy root systems. It's a bit of a drive unless you live on the North Peninsula, but any conifer collector who hasn't found it is missing out.

VALLEY NURSERY, POULSBO

This large scale nursery located near Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo offers a good selection of conifers, almost entirely from Iseli. Their stock is usually healthy and they offer some of the largest plants I have seen before. I check it out, usually on the way to Dragonfly Farms just to see if they have something new or unusual to offer. Their plants DO tend to be expensive, sometimes VERY expensive. I presume their location near spendy-Bainbridge is responsible for this. It's a good choice though if you're looking for instant impact and price isn't too much of a hurdle.

I'll post more as I recall them and/or visit new ones over the months/years.

-Will

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glaciers_end(8WA)

Sticking with Washington State. I really like Lael's Moon Garden nursery in Rochester (around 20 miles south of Olympia). The owners, Larry and Bethany, run the place out of their backyard and as such, don't have the overhead costs that many of the big stand alone nurseries have. That means that their prices are quite reasonable.

They're self-professed plant nerds and belong to the ACS. Their inventory consists of a lot of larger specimens of the less-common conifers out there. Many of my larger trees originated at Lael's Moon Garden. Check'm out.

~Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Here's their website

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 11:23AM
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ian_wa(Sequim)

I got small specimens of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Columnaris', 'Chilworth Silver', Juniperus sabina 'Grey Owl', Abies pinsapo var marocana, Podocarpus hallii, and Cupressus benthamii from Colvos Creek Nursery, Vashon Island, in September. They appear to still be propagating all of their own stock.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 1:22PM
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Ament(5a SD)

Dave,

I truly should -not- have browsed that link. LoL Now I'm on the hunt for another tree! Oy! The Davidia involucrata. I've found one variety that is hardy to my zone. =) So maybe I'll get lucky. heh Drat it anyways!

Thank you for the link, I'll be rattled for days, trying to find it. LoL

~Tina

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 2:49PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Ian Wa, the 'Grey Owl' isn't a cultivar of Juniperus sabina, it's a cultivar of your native Juniperus virginiana...

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 5:23PM
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dragonflyfarms2010

Hi will, Thanks for the kind words. I love conifers and am still learning. I hope more people find out just how great they are and for the most part very low maintance. Also maybe once people see your garden in the westsound home and garden magazine they will like them even more. I know you are humble and wont brag about yourself so I will. Also thanks for your knowledge on cool conifer. I might call some of the great plants coming next years and Will's hot picks.

I know I don't write on here very much but I do read the article always with a pen in hand to write down great plants. Thanks all for sharing and hope to see you if you are local or a conifer nerd.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 9:43PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I wish I could help out Will, but I haven't been to a nursery around here in a long time.
My wife and I are planning a trip to Mt. Hood, so I should be able to see a few nurseries while I'm there.
Mike

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 6:02AM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

Congratulations Will on your upcoming magazine spread. If any part of this ends up viewable online I hope the info is posted here that we can view.
Cher

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 7:46AM
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