With spring in full swing, color comes quickly to the grounds of North Bend’s Nursery at Mount Si.
So staff are hard at work to keep the plants, and the knowledge, growing and spreading to customers.
“It’s showtime in the garden business,” says owner Nels Melgaard, who’s at the center of the activity.
This month, their production greenhouses become retail houses, where shoppers can browse among the hundreds of plants, ground covers, grasses, hostas, sages, peonies, sedums, choosing form and color.
Meanwhile, at center stage—the nursery’s retail barn—trays of veggies and edibles mix with colorful annuals—petunias, pansies— that have been popular with the arrival of spring. Soil and amendments, fertilizers and organic pest control await to help ready the ground, and a selection of bird feeders, birdhouses and hummingbird feeders sit nearby to tempt feathered visitors.
Outside, an aisle of trees are sheltered from the last of winter’s winds. Flowering shrubs are coming into their glory. As spring progresses, roses enter the mix.
Food that you can grow is the big thing right now, says Melgaard, who nurtures clients’ interest in home orchards and vegetable gardens.
“There are a lot of people just growing food,” he said, “gardening, producing and involving their children. People are concerned about their food. They want to grow their own.”
At the same time, the moment is right to start composting and building your soil.
“There’s definitely planting going in, but there’s a lot of soil preparation, a lot of additions or organic amendments,” Melgaard said. “It’s like the foundation you build a house on. You have to invest, and put energy into the ground, so that it will reward you throughout the season.”
The nursery started out years ago as an organic farm, so it takes the healthy approach very seriously, starting with the soil.
“We evolved from a certified organic farm. We didn’t know a lot about chemicals, and we tried to learn as little as possible,” Melgaard said.
All soils at The Nursery at Mount Si are inoculated with life-giving or living materials, such as organic bonemeal, worm castings or old-fashioned manure. Melgaard said every measurement shows that beneficial soils mean healthier plants.
Making it easy
A big, particolored koi ambles past a shoal of goldfish and up to nursery staff member Kate Herlihy, looking for a handout.
The pond is one of the centerpieces of the Nursery, and is surrounded by rockery, statues, and hundreds of colorful pots, all meant to inspire creativity in your own garden.
The Nursery gets new life every spring. The pond, sheds and grounds here all have a new look and different products for 2014.
“Lots of new products,” said Herlihy.
Greeting customers is a new and popular item: Raised cedar planters that bring beds off the ground to table height. For gardeners who don’t need all the bending down, deer, slugs and pests, they can bring plants up to your level.
“These are very well built,” Melgaard said. “We’ve sold through one batch already.”
Christine Earl, the nursery’s manager and head buyer, readies hanging baskets and containers at the rear of one of the greenhouses. Her creations are custom-made to the needs of clients, and are an easy way to bring a professional touch to your deck or patio.
Customers, who often turn into repeat customers, simply bring her their containers, and she brings them to life.
Earl helps complement the plants with a hand-picked selection of garden art and furniture, water features, planters, trees and shrubs, all with an eye for helping people enjoy the outdoors and green, growing things.
“We can help you set up a living garden space,” Earl said. “Every bit of it—all the furniture you will need, earth-friendly pesticides, soils.”
• The Nursery at Mount Si is located at 42328 N.E. 12th St., North Bend; call the nursery at (425) 831-2274 or visit www.thenurseryatmountsi.com.
Colorful pots and products greet visitors to the Nursery.
A koi pond and water feature highlights gardening possibilities. Plants, pots and statuary around the pond are for sale.
Nursery owner Nels Melgaard shows off some of the waist-high cedar planters, popular products at Mount Si, that help make gardening easy.
Mount Si overlooks the nursery’s water feature and stage.