Russell Nursery

“Gardening is how I relax.  It’s another form of creating and playing with colours.”  — Oscar de la Renta

How lucky I felt to find this charming and well-stocked garden nursery close to our home when we first moved to the Greater Victoria area!

Just driving through the entrance gate, even on this December day, made me feel warm, knowing I was entering one of my “happy places”.
        

On this visit, my eye was immediately attracted to this leatherleaf mahonia which bursts out in spring with stalks of yellow flowers, and in fall shows off its needle-edged leaves topped with blue berries.
Russell Nursery staff have a solid knowledge of their plants and our microclimate here on the Peninsula.
  

Upon their recommendation, I’ve planted Mountain Fire Pieris (above), ubiquitous in this area, and various rhododendrons which even now in December sneak out a few blossoms, like this ‘Elizabeth Ostbo’ rhodo (below), ready to burst open…..

……….and this overly optimistic ‘Hansel’ rhododendron (below).

Walking past the benches of heathers,

I was drawn to one of my favourite performers, the Callicarpa beautyberry shrub (below).

Russell Nursery offers pottery, next to their shade garden.


Walking in the shade garden back to the main plant and shop area, I caught the sun on a large pot.
As this was approaching Christmas, it occurred to me that if one was searching for an extraordinary gift for a special gardener, one of these Halls English greenhouses would surely make a lasting impression!


But the stars of Russell Nursery right now are all the seasonal items, starting of course with trees, such as Douglas fir, Grand fir and some pines, sourced in Mill Bay and Duncan here on the Island.

The area normally filled with flowering trees is now chock-full of these cut evergreen trees, ready for decorating.

Christmas planters and centerpieces are made on-site using local plants.

Or you can design your own arrangements using Russell Nursery’s design elements.

  

    

I made my way to the garden shop where I knew the wood-burning stove would cheerily welcome me.
    

The garden shop is the business end of things where payment is made for purchases.  Brian Russell and his wife, Michele, have owned and operated the nursery for 25 years and are easing into retirement in January, 2018 as they sold the nursery to two of their senior staff, Susan Tice and Laurel Rassenti.
We’ll still be able to catch Brian on site in the coming months, as he’s remaining to help with a smooth transition to the new ownership.

Not only are Susan and Laurel the new owners, but they have decades of experience and this translates to the entire staff being educated regarding the plants and merchandise they sell.

Laurel pointed out to me the acid-etched steel art created by Roz Stanton from Pemberton, BC.

Unique gardening books are offered.

Laurel and I both commented on the Rustic Woodcrafts birdhouses (below, left) which are created less than two km from Russell Nursery.
    
Also offered is the Pender Botanicals line of soaps, cremes, balms and candles (above, right, and below) made on neighbouring Pender Island.

Susan and her staff offer a number of classes where participants can make their own holiday wreath or centrepiece.  Workshops are held next to the shop and all supplies are provided.

Having no personal experience with this, a friend and I took the wreath-making workshop, and these are the wreaths I made in 2016 (left) and 2017.

      
I think I’m getting the hang of it!

Russell Nursery
1370 Wain Road, North Saanich     
250-656-0384
www.russellnursery.com
Closed Dec 23rd through Jan 31st

The Old Attic, Saanichton

“Our culture’s obsession with vintage objects has rendered us unable to separate history from nostalgia. People want heart. They want a chaser of emotion with their aesthetics.”  —  Sloane Crosley

The Old Attic, Saanichton                

Maybe it’s my age, but as we browsed through The Old Attic in Saanichton, I experienced a significant chaser of emotion, looking at so many items from various time periods of my own life.

The owner, Lynne Parker, had so many anecdotes about items, and clearly she knows each one individually.  She’s constantly bringing in items to replace sold pieces, always searching for good quality pieces to supplement her collections.

“Past to present” is their tagline, and the pieces reflect the various periods.    There’s furniture, linen, decor, jewellery, books & records, games, lamps and artwork, and all items are in very good condition.

                   

In addition to selling quality vintage items, The Old Attic also offers classes in refinishing furniture.
They sell Cottage Paints which you can take with you or use in their shop to work on a project.

                     

A unique collection of vintage tools caught my eye, reminding me of my Grampa’s workbench.
And then in another area, I spotted this most unusual rocking chair with a leather seat inset.

                      

But the items that made my eyes open widest were all the copper pieces, from various periods.
It’s really like a museum, ever-changing in its offerings — plus you can take your favourites home!

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The Old Attic
7925 E Saanich Rd, Saanichton
778-426-1660
www.theoldattic.ca
Sun – Sat 10 am – 5 pm