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Marcy Plattner is the owner and founder of the Garden Spot Nursery. Marcy first started working with plants over thirty-five years ago, during the Christmas season with her mother and sister Karol. They gathered greens and tied wreaths in Marcy’s garage, selling them to neighbors, at church bazaars and the Allied Arts craft fairs. She loved working outdoors and enjoyed the creativity of wreath-making “Weaving in a bit of this or that on a wreath to give it a different look.” She began to look for ways to extend her ‘working season’.
In the spring of 1983 she took over management of the nursery at Clarks Market on James Street. “When Mr. Clark hired me to run his nursery that April I thought I knew a bit about plants,” says Marcy. “I had grown up a farm girl after all! It did not take long for me to realize that I was totally unprepared for the complexity of questions that I would be asked.” She got through that season thanks in part to two books: The Sunset Garden Book and Right Plant Right Place. She also enrolled in a Master Gardener’s course.
But she says, “I never would have made it without the support of my mentor during this time -- Russ Smith, one of the semi-retired owners of Smith Gardens. Three or four times a week he would drive by with his truck filled with plants to check on me, gently pointing out what I needed to be doing to make the most of my space.”
The following year Marcy went to work for Cost Cutter Foods. There she developed stronger relationships with growers and community gardeners, many of whom became good friends and mentors. In 1985 she happened upon the Wallingford Center during a trip to Seattle. The historical space at the center of a vibrant neighborhood appealed to her. Thus the first ‘Garden Spot’ was born. It was a family operation and a true labor of love. Both of her daughters, who were attending UW, worked part-time at the store.
This was an exciting time, right on the edge of the Northwest gardening craze. Heronswood had just opened. Stephanie Feeney hadn’t even thought of writing a book. And people were buzzing about Annie Lovejoy’s garden on Capitol Hill. “The Wallingford Garden Spot brought me strong connections with suppliers and designers of the then up and coming urban gardening world.” Marcy says, “Connections that still keep me informed and ahead of the curve”.
Five years later, Ron Clark offered her a seasonal location on the corner of what is now Sunnyland Square. This Bellingham location was also called The Garden Spot. The business grew and in a few years, the Garden Spot moved to its current location on the corner of King and Alabama. In the meantime, Marcy sold the Wallingford Garden Spot and was able to focus on the Bellingham location. Her vision for the building was a fusion of English cottage and horse barn. She was fortunate, she told us, to pull together a staff of highly regarded, master gardeners who have helped make the Garden Spot a center of Bellingham’s horticultural community. “It has proven to be a great location, “ Marcy tells us, “and the support I received from the community then and now gives me great pride.”
Marcy picking Lilac bouquets