Redmond nurseries promote sustainable, natural yard care: Two local garden shops highlighted for their green products, practices

Two Redmond nurseries/garden centers are recommended on Seattle Public Utilities’ 2010 list of Natural Yard Care Nurseries. They are Pacific Topsoil’s Gray Barn Nursery at 20871 Redmond-Fall City Rd. and Classic Nursery and Landscape Company, at 12526 Avondale Road NE.

ABOVE: Lindsay Irwin

Two Redmond nurseries/garden centers are recommended on Seattle Public Utilities’ 2010 list of Natural Yard Care Nurseries.

They are Pacific Topsoil’s Gray Barn Nursery at 20871 Redmond-Fall City Rd. and Classic Nursery and Landscape Company, at 12526 Avondale Road NE.

“These nurseries not only sell natural lawn and gardening products, they are also dedicated to educating their staff and customers to promote healthy, sustainable gardens,” stated Carl Woestwin, landscape conservation program manager at Seattle Public Utilities.

• Pacific Topsoil’s Gray Barn Nursery offers year-round gardening classes and workshops for both children and adults, as well as one-on-one customer service such as diagnosing a problem and offering an environmentally-friendly solution, said Lindsay Irwin, an assistant manager and buyer at Gray Barn.

Customers and activity attendees are “a good combination of beginners and some who have a spot to fill in their garden and want to know, ‘What can I put there?,’” Irwin explained.

There’s lately been a big “grow your own vegetable” craze, Irwin noted.

“There’s such a reward for all your work,” she pointed out. “To be able to grow your own vegetables, there’s an immediate health reward and a financial award,” because you’re getting produce at the peak of freshness and spending much less than you would at the supermarket.

Novice veggie gardeners should consider growing broccoli, lettuce or carrots, Irwin suggested — and if they have full, direct sunlight, tomatoes can be easy, too, she said.

Upcoming special events at Gray Barn Nursery include the June 5 “Fun with Bugs” activity for kids and the June 19-20 “Berry-Exciting” Weekend featuring advice on growing fresh fruit. For more information about Gray Barn Nursery, call (425) 898-8265 or visit

• Alan Burke, licensed landscape architect and owner of Classic Nursery, said there’s been a significant uptick in the use of herbicides and pesticides which pollute streams throughout King County and adversely affect fish and other wildlife.

Much of this is from homeowners’ overuse or misuse of “weed and feed” products, Burke noted.

“We educate then not only to be organic, but how to use integrated pest management and avoid excess use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Most people are happy to find they can use far less product. We’ll typically give them a packet of literature to show them alternatives,” said Burke.

Classic Nursery also carries vegetable starts and seeds and shows people how they can even incorporate edible herbs into ornamental gardens.

People without much gardening experience tend to overestimate how much time, money and space they will need to reap the benefits.

“People picture a huge Green Acres,” Burke said.

They can help sustainability by growing food or buying it from local farmers.

Another popular feature at Classic Nursery is the trail behind its property, where salmon can be viewed in the fall.

“It’s very meaningful to learn about the life cycle of the salmon and their struggles,” Burke commented. And seeing wildlife up-close helps kids and adults to better understand how important it is to be stewards of the environment.

“People with a little bit of instruction can alter their habits in a meaningful way,” Burke concluded.

For more information about Classic Nursery, call (425) 885-5678 or visit

• Seattle Public Utilities provides the “Grow Smart, Grow Safe” guide that reviews hundreds of lawn and garden products and rates their harmful effects. To find a copy online, visit

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