Pacific Northwest | November 30, 2003Pacific Northwest MagazineNovember 30, home
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Something Special
From 'shabby chic' to shiny trowels, gardening gifts beckon
The smiling figure that forms a chair from a Picasso bar set fits the welcoming mood at Home and Garden Art.
DON'T LET YOUR spirits be dampened by the incongruity of garden-centered gifts in dark December. Mentally, at least, gardening is a year-round activity. And it's during the off-season that gardeners most relish a warm pair of waterproof gloves or a shiny trowel, if for no other reason than to remind us we'll be back outdoors digging soon enough.

New shops have far more in store than the usual tools, so as you scan the shelves for your favorite gardener you'll no doubt find a few items to add to your own holiday wish list.

Ravenna Gardens, the emporium known for its lavish color-toned displays, has its first Eastside location in Kirkland's Parkplace. Count on Gillian Mathews and her team of merchandising wizards to transform an old drugstore into a light-filled shop combining both the rustic and avant-garde.
The new Smith & Hawken store in University Village offers everything from classy teak furniture to delicate orchids such as these.
A wall clad in barn-wood siding shows off a display of fresh and dried rose-hip wreaths ($39.95 to $49.95). Amber-glassed lanterns in exotic shapes ($13.95 to $26.95) dangle from an arched arbor, while a rich glow emanates from a display of linens and pots in shades of Asian and oxblood red. Any size of Stonesmith fountain ($398 to $968) would be a fine gift for a busy gardener. They look as if carved from limestone but weigh less than concrete, and come with pump and tubing, so all you need do is add water and plug in. (Ravenna Gardens, 325 Parkplace, Kirkland; 425-827-5501;

One of the nicest things about stopping by Home and Garden Art in Greenwood is the greeting from the young and enthusiastic owners, Jim and Lisa Honold. Jim welcomes customers with a cup of coffee and the offer to customize any of the shop's huge assortment of antique and wrought-iron furnishings. Whether you'd like a trellis extended or different finials atop a fence post, Jim does the work on the spot. He knows his business, for his family owns similar stores in Alabama (you'll recognize that twang in Jim's voice), and the shop is rich in merchandise from the South, much from Charleston and New Orleans.
Jim Honold crafts the cedar-framed gates with wrought-iron hummingbirds sold at his Greenwood store, Home and Garden Art.
"Shabby chic" reigns with rusted, white or green-washed iron arbors, pergolas, chandeliers, topiaries and gazebos. Even the finishes can be custom-detailed: A clear coat can be added either onto metal that has just a touch of patina or over raw steel to prevent rust. Arbors with seats or gates are specialties that have metalwork flourishes ideal for lacing with vines. Gated arbors run from $400 to $800; tall iron chimineas cost $295, and Jim builds cedar-trimmed gates centered with metal hummingbirds for $600. (Home and Garden Art, 1111 N.W. 85th St., Seattle; 206-779-0668)

Seattle finally has its own branch of Smith & Hawken, the classy store that has made sturdy teak furniture the sought-after look for outdoor lounging and dining. In the old Molbak's space at University Village you can find the handsome furniture in the catalog, but better yet you can stretch out in the chaises and test the chairs for yourself. The line called "Hadley Peak" has curved, slatted backs and round tables reminiscent of '30s-era club furniture; the "Saranac" style is slightly larger-scale. All are crafted of environmentally farmed teakwood, made to last outdoors for many years. Prices range from $489 for an armchair to $1,399 for a sofa. And to create a "zone of comfort" around the outdoor-dining table, check out the commercial-quality heat lamps ($499).
Glass balls float in a Stonesmith fountain at Ravenna Gardens.
There are many less expensive items, too, from paperwhite bulbs and an assortment of pebbles to plant them in, to a breathtaking display of moth orchids. Guy Wolff pitchers and pots line another wall. Hand-thrown, water-tight and individually glazed, they are made of terra cotta with sage-green or gold rims, with prices ranging between $28 and $38. Smith & Hawken tools are always impressive, from the wooden-handled heirloom collection for $30 to the handy little multitool for $19. It has a corkscrew for opening wine as well as a saw and pruner. (Smith & Hawken, 4605 N.E. University Village; 206-985-8613)

Valerie Easton is a Seattle free-lance writer and contributing editor for Horticulture magazine. Her e-mail address is Tom Reese is a Seattle Times staff photographer.

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