Area: Pot Spot

Capitol Hill

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Capitol Hill’s Ragen  & Associates has a pot for every plant

Pot Spot
Chip Ragen, landscape designer and owner of Ragen & Associates (517 E Pike St., Seattle; 206.793.0949; ragenassociates.com), earned his green thumb early. In elementary school he was winning contests put on by the Seattle Gardening Club. The late gardening expert R. David Adams was his mentor, and it was his wholesale business that Ragen bought out in 1986, quickly growing out of its 6,000-square-foot space in Lenora Square to a 14,000-square-foot showroom on Capitol Hill. His inventory of imported plant pottery is impressive, ranging from sublime stoneware vases ($25–$35) and genuine Italian terra cotta pots to a new line of recycled pots. Ragen and an expert crew also offer landscape design and maintenance services ($42–$75 per hour), and currently care year-round for some 100 gardens, from planters on urban condo decks to complex designs for suburban manses. His no-fail advice for growing a garden?

1. Focus on soil preparation: Drainage and composting, not fertilizers, is key to thriving plants, he says.
2. Spend money on fewer but better quality plants from trusted local nurseries, such as Wells Medina Nursery and Swansons.
3. Take some risks with container plantings. Mixing herbs in with summer flowers, says Ragen, adds visual punch and a practical mix to your pots.
4. Don’t procrastinate. “Get in gear in May,” he advises, “so you can spend the warm, lazy days in a chaise lounge beholding the fruits of your labor.” Not to mention the flowers.  Alexis Chicoye

Originally published in May 2010