A Love of a Lifetime...
I began my love story with plants over thirty-five years ago, during the Christmas season with my mother and sister Karol. We gathered greens and tied wreaths in my garage, selling them to neighbors, at church bazaars, and at the Allied Arts craft fairs. I loved working outdoors and enjoyed the creativity of wreath-making by “weaving in a bit of this or that" to give her wreaths a unique look.”
But, the holiday season was just once a year, so I began looking for ways to extend my 'working season'.
In the spring of 1983, I took over management of the nursery at Clark's Market on James Street. When Mr. Clark hired me to run his nursery that April I thought I knew quite a bit about plants. I had grown up a farm girl after all, but it didn't take long for me to realize that I needed help with the complexity of the questions I was being asked by my customers.
I got through that season thanks in part to two books: The Sunset Garden Book and Right Plant Right Place.
Plus, I enrolled in a Master Gardener’s course.
I have to admit that I would never 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 the space. The following year I went to work for Cost Cutter Foods. There I developed strong relationships with growers and community gardeners, many of whom have become good friends and mentors.
In 1985 I happened upon the Wallingford Center during a trip to Seattle. The historical space at the center of a vibrant neighborhood was appealing. Thus the first ‘Garden Spot’ was born. It was a family operation and a true labor of love. Both of my daughters, who were attending UW, worked part-time at the store.
This was an exciting time for me, 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 strong connections with the suppliers and designers of the up and coming urban gardening world, connections that still keep me informed and ahead of the curve even now.
Five years later, Ron Clark offered me 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, I sold the Wallingford Garden Spot and was able to focus all of my energies on the Bellingham location. My vision for the building was a fusion of a quaint English cottage with French windows. I was fortunate to pull together a staff of highly regarded, master gardeners who have helped me make the Garden Spot a center of Bellingham’s horticultural community.
It has proven to be a great location, and the support I have received from the community then and now gives me great pride.
Marcy Plattner, Owner of Garden Spot Nursery