My wife is the gardner in the family - I tend to get involved do heavy lifting or tend to the plants she unltimately wants to replace (since the odds are I will kill them). But I do tag along when she goes to the garden store. This week she took me along to Molbak's in Woodinville. I hadn't been in a while. I was reminded just how good a place this is.
Molbak's is big. They have a large selection of plants, organized by type of plant (groundcover, leafy shrub, etc) and clearly marked in terms of ideal growing conditions. Inventory was impressive - we needed to buy new Irish Moss, and when we pointed out that they were running low they pointed to another spot with new inventory, allowing us to get what we needed. And best of all the plants were all in good shape - nothing close to death in the entire bunch. That's more than I can say for some nurseries I've been to.
The staff is knowledgeable. The person we talked with about different ground covers (besides the moss) spent the time talking about the growing conditions we had and made a couple good recos. We had another conversation with someone about weed control on the patio and she didn't go directly to the "use RoundUp" answer but discussed the pros and cons of a couple alternative methods (my personal favorite - get a propane torch and burns the weeds), including a new organic method she was trying at home.
Being a guy I had to check out the tools, and they have an impressive array. Nearly anything you want, short of power tools, can be found. I didn't know what about a quarter of them were for, but I'm sure they had a purpose.
The only black mark is that they are pretty expensive, moreso than most of the other nurseries in the area. But the quality of service and selection makes it worthwhile.
Couple survival notes - if you go on a weekend go early because it gets crowded fast. Also, if you are driving from Seattle you need to take one of the bridges and 405. If you take the back route through Kenmore around the North side of Lake Washington you can save yourself a lot of traffic headaches.