Field Trip to The New Madeline George Design Nursery

At last – after 10 years of designing beautiful gardens and outdoor living spaces in the greater Boise area, Kecia and David Carlson, have opened their own garden design nursery – Madeline George Design Nursery.   The gal and guy behind the Treasure Valley’s newest nursery are now sharing their ideas and creativity with the public through this most charming retail site.

I had been wanting to visit Madeline George (located at Highway 55 and Hill Rd) for quite some time, ever since I attended the Boise Home and Garden Tour and had the opportunity to visit the Carlson’s own garden as well as another garden (on the tour) the Carlson’s helped design.

I was curious about these purveyors of meaningful, sustainable and stylish outdoor spaces. So when an opportunity arose for me to get away for a few hours, I made it my very own Madeline George field trip!

Upon arrival, I immediately noticed the emphasis on design.  The property is beautifully nestled into the foothill and presents an inviting entry that draws visitors in to explore garden “rooms.”

While you walk through the outdoor “rooms” there are interesting structures that serve as a focal point for the eye while inviting garden scenes convey a simple message, “Enjoy your day here.” All this, plus gorgeous plant vignettes incorporating all types of plant material, make a visit to this nursery a definite sensory experience.

Look at this “scene” below. I mean how can you not feel just a bit Parisian sitting here!

Although the notion “good design is worth its weight in gold,” is prevalent at Madeline George, the garden center’s real focus is on helping customers create what they ‘desire to experience’ in their own outdoor living space.  “I want to understand what is important to my customers in their outdoor areas and if they are unsure, I ask questions.  I like to engage with the customers enough to uncover the “feeling” they want to experience in their garden,” says owner Ms. Carlson.

The level of talent and knowledge Madeline George offers is unique.  Ms. Carlson is well-versed in garden design and Mr. Carlson is a veteran of landscape construction.  Their capabilities, coupled with staff specialists that have extensive knowledge of plants that work well in our climate and an extensive network of subcontractors that specialize in all types of hardscapes, local material sourcing and irrigation systems and you have a team that can create any outdoor space imaginable.

Keep in mind this broad level of services doesn’t mean customers must sign up for a turn-key project.  Instead, the Carlson’s like to work with customers in a personal way, encouraging people to participate in the process as much as they like.  “Our goal is to give customers the knowledge, resources and ability to transform a vision or idea into an enjoyable everyday experience, “ says Ms. Carlson.  “Many times we help clients “see” what is possible via a simple sketch or a discussion about how to make use of current resources.  A little bit of good design advice can go a long way.”

But getting back to the plants…. the true passion for most garden junkies!  Madeline George offers a great selection of plant material ranging from cold-hardy conifers to heat-loving tropicals.  This includes everything in between too, such as natives, perennials, annuals, japanese maples, deciduous trees, fruit trees, vegetables, shrubs, ground covers, vines and so on.

In fact, since starting the design part of the business in 2002, the owner’s have been leading the way in bringing new plant material to our area.  They have forged relationships with new growers locally and around the Northwest and have tried many specimens in their own garden in order to offer a reliable, yet dynamic spectrum of choices.

Although there is much that pleases at Madeline George, I personally was impressed with the heavily laden canes of berries growing on a most beautiful iron arbor.  They were expertly pruned so that nothing but luscious, juicy berries were in the line of sight as you approached the arbor.  I couldn’t help but sample a few and they were delish!

Just beyond the berry tunnel was a fun spot featuring a favorite line of garden furniture.  I first came across the Fermob furniture during a visit to a San Francisco nursery.  Of course, the piece I had my eye on was not something I could bring home easily so I was more than a little excited to spot Fermob here locally!

I’m a fan of Fermob primarily because the designs are FUN and they come in 23 different colors!  However, practically speaking, many of the Fermob collections are aluminum making them lightweight, strong and very weather resistant.  One of the classic collections, the Luxembourg, was initially produced for the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, and has become something of a legend in its own right.  Can’t you just picture yourself enjoying a little wine and cheese on this most festive furniture?

Pieces from the Luxembourg line

I left Madeline George inspired to try new ideas and plants in my garden so I hope it goes without saying all local readers should plan their own field trip to Madeline George!  For others, maybe it’s time to finally make a field trip to a new nursery in your local area.  After all, fall is a great time to update and rejuvenate and garden centers are a great place to get ideas flowing!

For Local Readers:

Madeline George Fall Sale is going on now!  Several fun classes will be taking place this fall, check out the schedule below.

Sept.  1, 2, and 3rd – 10:00 a.m.  Containers With Year Round Style

Sept. 15 – 10:00 a.m.  Landscape Design; Techniques, Tips and Tricks for Creating Great Garden Spaces

Sept. 22 – 10:00 a.m.  Great Shrubs for all Seasons.

Sept. 29th 10:00 a.m.  Cleaning Your Perennial Garden Before Winter

Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.   Monday by Appointment.  Design services by appointment, please call 208.941.1252  or email at info@madelinegeorge.com

It’s all in the name!  Curious about the name behind this design center?  I was and found out it is inspired by the couple’s favorite childhood storybooks. “Madeline” comes from the adventures of a French orphan girl written by Ludwig Bemelmans. “George” comes from the adventures of Curious George written by the Reys.  Although not rooted in gardening, the name holds happiness and meaning to the Carlson’s and represents both the masculine and feminine touch the team balances as they work together.  Besides, it just SOUNDS like the name of a great garden designer!

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