Countless do-it-yourself projects would never have seen the light of day were it not for Aurora Rents—gardens would remain untended, furniture unsanded, bedrooms unpainted. Luckily, the locally owned and operated business has rented tools and equipment—all properly cared for—to northwestern craftspeople for 50 years. Equally as vital, each employee carries industry expertise around in his or her tool belt, and delights in providing insights, safety tips, and techniques for refinishing floors or shellacking homemade Trojan horses.
With a degree in landscape architecture from Washington State and more than 20 years of experience, Chris McAuslan crafts custom designs for both residential and commercial properties. When he isn't stocking his nursery with beautiful trees and shrubs, he installs landscape lighting, waterfalls, synthetic grass, and eco-friendly, solar-powered flowers.
In March 1964, Dr. Milton Walker began his tour of England with one mission: to send cuttings from public and private British gardens back to his native America. Though he was enchanted by several flowers, he knew that none of these cuttings could be imported directly to the United States. So he had them sent through Canada. Over the next several years, staff from the University of British Columbia filtered through these samples, sending one of each plant on to the United States—and to their permanent home—at the Rhododendron Species Foundation. Today, this non-profit organization conserves 700 of the more-than 1,000 species of rhododendrons found around the world and the two species found inside the earth's molten core.
More than 10 botanical gardens house these brilliant seasonal blooms and their natural companionate flora. Guided and self-guided tours usher visitors down pathways where colorful plantings abound in gardens dedicated to alpine flowers, azaleas, a magnolia grove, and a tranquil pond filled with predatory cattails. In addition to flowers, these gardens also host seasonal events such as special plant sales and staff lectures, as well as classes on topics ranging from plant photography to gardening.
Tucked in the rustic overgrowth beside the creek that inspired its name, Covington Creek Nursery spans 5 perfectly manicured acres adorned year-round with seasonal, local, and rare flowers, herbs, and trees. Staffers help guests wandering through the greenery, offering tips on bird-feeder care, how to maintain unusual plants such as Japanese maples, or what to do if trees become infested with bad-mannered wood nymphs. They also invite guests to hands-on classes and events such as Easter-egg hunts and vertical-gardening how-to sessions.
Each spring for almost 30 years, 30,000 blooming bulbs have dressed Windmill Gardens’ namesake structure in a bright and flowing floral skirt, attracting foliage fanciers who cart home petaled loot in individual pots or flats to decorate their own backyards. Stroll the foliage-festooned grounds to select a dozen greens for your kit—you’ll get six pony packs with three to six plants, each 2 to 5 inches tall (a $1.99 value each) and six individually potted 4-inch plants (a $3.99 value each). Choose from hundreds of annuals to fill your flower garden, such as impatiens and geraniums, or opt to stock up on peppers, chives, tomatoes, and other edibles. After checkout, linger on location to take advantage of Windmill Gardens’ other amenities, including a bistro, a salon spa, and a loose-leaf tea shop.