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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
The Viscaya Garden & Nursery Experience
by Debbie Teashon
PORTLAND — Once you’ve seen one garden nursery, you’ve seen them all, right? Not if you have been to Portland, Oregon’s Viscaya Garden & Nursery, owned by TV co-host of Garden Time—William McClenathan. Viscaya is a nursery like no other. When you go, try to allow yourself plenty of time for the experience, because you'll want to do more than just shop. You will want to follow your nose after the fragrances, walk through the maze, sit and enjoy the water sounds, and be literally stopped in your tracks by every spectacular garden. Inside his 1.5-acre garden, McClenathan has chiseled out a slice of heaven. Once you enter, you step into another world; it’s impossible to believe that a busy street is situated just beyond the gates.
A trip to Viscaya Gardens and Nursery is like going on a fabulous treasure hunt. I was immediately greeted by the gardens as I drove through the gates and wound around to the parking area. I parked my car across from the 4-plex where every door was painted a unique color that set a theme for the small gardens in front of each one. If you have a small space, you can appreciate how well-planned seating, the right plants, and water features perfectly enhance each tiny plot shaded by its own large maple tree. Although I garden on a half-acre, I was inspired by the great possibilities for small garden rooms.
I was honored by a personal tour with William. He explained why he scatters the tables filled with plants around the gardens, and I was impressed with his creative placement of products throughout the nursery. I was also intrigued to see his stock of plants placed close to mature specimens and their companions, giving a clear picture of how it could translate into my own space. Placing a table full of shade tolerant plants into a shady garden, filled with the same beautiful plants is a stroke of marketing genius! I like the concept of shopping in environmental zones that match a client’s garden conditions. Scattered throughout the gardens are statuaries, pottery, garden furniture and other items creatively placed to give ideas for your own garden.
It’s the first time I visited a nursery like this and it made for an enchanting shopping experience. With a name like Viscaya—meaning an elevated or enlightened place—it’s no wonder. I'll be back!
The nursery is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm. For more information and directions, visit Viscaya's web site.