Dave and Gail Halsaver, along with 7 employees, have been growing beautiful perennials at Foxglove Greenhouses in Hansville (outside Kingston) since 2000 and before that in Poulsbo. Although mainly a wholesale nursery selling to 40 Western WA nurseries, they are open to the public on Saturdays during the summer season. Hoping to get the story behind all of their early spring flowering plants now for sale at the Corner, we invited ourselves over for an early sneak preview.
We arrived March 1st on a particularly dreary damp morning. Everything outside, other than the odd crocus, was looking solidly dormant. A peek with Dave into each of their 9 greenhouses however showed spring bursting at the seams. At Foxglove they grow around 250 varieties of ornamental plants, more than a few of which are already flowering. In trying to decide what perennials to choose, one of the things they look for are varieties that flower either early or late, or have particularly long blooming periods.
When asked about other things they look for in a perennial, Dave is very clear. He likes to grow unusual varieties that “you won’t find at Albertsons”. It’s also very important to him that the varieties are hardy, thrive in our area, and aren’t susceptible to pests (making all their plants adaptable to an organic garden). In addition to perennials, Foxglove grows around 75 varieties of annuals and 25 varieties of tomatoes.
Although the nursery is not organic (their potting soil is not certified organic and they use an all-purpose non-organic fertilizer during the plant’s initial growth), they try to be very careful about what they use (just as they are careful to eat organic). The plants are “hardened off” without fertilizer, and pesticides are avoided except for the rare occasional soap. All of the plants the Corner has selected to sell are grown in their unheated greenhouses and are ready for planting at the time of purchase. (The greenhouse photo above was of one of the heated greenhouses, as evidenced by the steamed up camera lens).
In touring these lush greenhouses with Dave, it’s evident that besides hardiness, aesthetics are also key to this operation. Dave credits Gail as the one that “has the eye”, an eye she honed over the years doing retail display for Macy’s. She now uses her “eye” mainly in combining plants for containers. Foxglove Greenhouses does all the container plantings (totaling over 600!) for Bainbridge, Kingston, and Gig Harbor. They are also responsible for the stupendous flowerbeds at Kiana Resort. Gail’s container workshops are popular and with any luck, we’ll get her to do one at the Corner – stay tuned!
And since we told you what Gail did prior to Foxglove, we’ll also tell you that Dave worked as a respiratory therapist for years, putting in his time at Harborview Hospital among other places. Dave and Gail were always avid gardeners, and in 1996 they first made their move into the nursery business. The Poulsbo location was too shady however, so in 2000 they moved to their current location north of Kingston, where shade is not a problem, the drainage is good, and they’re close to the ferry. All is happy in Hansville!
We are lucky indeed to have this local resource. Enjoy early spring and late fall colorful blooms while attracting hummingbirds, bees and butterflies to your garden for years to come!
Return to Home Page
Read profile on Jeff Childs of Vinland Nursery, “Japanese Maples Actually From Quilcene!”
Read Corner Article on “New Bulk Soil Amendments for Organic Gardeners”
Read horticulturist “more in depth smarter” article “Soil Amendments at the Corner”
Read about our Local Seed Growers
Read about Short’s Magical Soil “The Dirt on Roger’s Magical Soil”