Picture a small bungalow in Wallingford, shaded by 80+-year old cedars, sheltering a collector’s garden that has evolved over the last 28 years. Add to this a selection of potted nursery stock: native plants from the Fraser River to California. That’s the outside. Inside is a fantastic selection of “hard to find new or out-of-print books dealing with any (!) of the life sciences”.
Meet David Hutchinson and Martha Ferguson. David and Martha are partners in life, horticulture, and books. Martha’s garden reflects over 25 years of plant collecting and gardening. She transformed a scraggly grass-covered lot into a wonderful shady retreat. Her interests run to interesting ornamental species. Martha is a horticulture librarian at the UW Botanic Gardens Miller Library, an unmatched resource for Seattle horticulturists. David runs the bookstore and nursery. He is a master birder, gardener and naturalist, and has been in the book business for 35+ years, according to the bio on his website.
David’s fabulous bookstore – Flora and Fauna Books – used to reside in Pioneer Square. Flora and Fauna is a place that makes people feel lucky to live in Seattle – a one-of-a-kind small business that provides personal service, where you can locate a field guide to the plants (or birds, or mushrooms, amphibians, etc) of western Mongolia if it was ever in print. He also has horticultural books by local experts, handy field guides of all sorts, and just about anything you might want well, in the “life sciences” department. In 2007, when the Pioneer Square landlord decided to sell the building, the storefront decamped to a house in Magnolia, where David added native plants and created Discovery Gardens.
He describes his role on the nursery end as a broker, using extensive contacts gained during his years in the specialty book business, he loves to buy interesting, hard to find plants from specialty growers. If you know what you want (book or plant) he will procure it. On my visit I found two nice field guides to the wild plants and birds of Scotland. I’ve got my eye on the Manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana) plants if I can find a place with enough sun and drainage.
Now that he and Martha have joined their households in Wallingford, the business is even more personal. Surrounded by plants in the shady garden, embedded in books, their world is magical (if you ever imagined living in a library, here is a chance to get a vicarious taste of heaven). Visits to the bookstore and nursery are by appointment – just phone or email ahead. (The address on the website is not current.) David is usually there unless he is attending an ornithology conference or nursery trade show with his book inventory. You will not only receive personal service, you’ll also get the full benefit of David’s warm, lively, interesting conversation and advice on a number of topics.