This spring, a new nursery opened in outer SE Portland. The owner - William McClenathan - co-host of KOIN 6's Garden Time TV - had experience running his own nursery in Texas, and spent several years as manager at the Portland Nursery. But being a bit of an iconoclast, he tried something different at Viscaya Nursery.
Inspired by the reality of his existing setting (his new nursery was set within his existing home garden), he decided to set out the plant stock differently. Rather than laying plants out in regimented rows or tables according to plant type (shrubs, trees, perennials, vines, etc), tables are placed throughout the existing gardens and stocked with those plants that are in the nearby beds. The idea is that, as you stroll the paths through the gardens, you can find on a nearby table the plants you see and love. Read about his retailing concept here.
Opinionated, theatrical and sociable - he was an actor and student of opera in a previous life - McClenathan notes that he hasn't always met with total support for his sometimes radical garden retailing ideas. Viscaya gives him an opportunity to try out his philosophy in his own space and tweak the ideas as he goes.
His current endeavor is Viscaya's upcoming end-of-season plant sale, which will have some of the most killer plant deals a gardener could dream of. Will it draw new customers to his young nursery? Will loyal customers from his first season feel well-rewarded with such incredible deals? Is this the way to run a business, selling plants for less than what he originally paid for them? Time will tell. Meantime, check it out for yourself.