14 June 2007

a garden of miscellany

Since the heat and warmth of the weekend, the sun has become more rare than a federal Conservative politician with integrity, (and we’ll save further details on that rant for another day). It’s been rainy, drizzly, foggy, and just grey, grey grey…despite that, things are leaping ahead in the gardens, in the containers, and in the department of unloved plants (also known as weeds).

Tuesday, my mother and I went on a plant-hunting expedition. Not surprisingly, we filled the car YET again with plants, although I’m proud to announce that MUM bought way more plants than I did—that day, anyway. Our first stop was a place that is new to me, though it’s been there for 22 years. Lowland Gardens is on the way to Bass River, a few miles beyond Truro, and wow…why did it take me this long to discover this wonderful nursery?
I love nurseries that take the time to create display gardens around their properties—turns them into a destination as well as an inspiration. Lowland has a child’s play area, complete with playground equipment, and rabbits and goats to look at, plus lovely plantings, ponds and a dandy giftshop in addition to the impressive greenhouse area. Tony, the owner, took me and Mum on a bit of a tour, and it was fun to watch Mum learn about how plants are grown by nursery operators. Plus it was fun to see this owner’s innovations for potting soil,

We half-filled the trunk with wonderful plants at Lowland including the dazzling Sunningdale variegated masterwort, before sallying forth to further destinations. Masstown Market didn’t have the selection it had in previous years, which surprised me—or maybe they just had a busy weekend—but Springvale’s nursery in Bible Hill was a glorious array of plants, and Mum did her bit for the economy there too.

Next stop was the Truro Co-op, where I smelled the distinctive scent of seaweed fertilizer—someone had been tending the plants there with Seaboost, I think, which would explain why they looked so great. More plants followed us out of the centre and into the car there…
Hillendale was closed on Tuesday, but we just figured that gave us an excuse to come back another day; on we went to do some other things, including going to the cemetery in Shubenacadie to visit Dad’s gravestone, which made us both sad. The only reason cemeteries bother me is because I despise plastic flowers, and so many graves are festooned with them. Unfortunately, a lot of cemeteries won’t allow annuals or shrubs to be planted, which I think is a big loss to them.

In the Stewiake area there are several garden centres; Mum likes Miss Fancy Plants quite well, and I was just sort of following her around until I spied wallflowers. I adore wallflowers (Erysimum) and they’re hard to find! I have bright orange ones at home, and here we found not only cheerful yellow, but one of the funky new shades—Pastel Patchwork, which changes colour quite brilliantly.

There are always really interesting plants to try for the first time…like this bacopa, which is green and gold in its foliage, with the mauve flowers. The only problem with this plant? I have NO idea where I bought it!

Still on the green and gold theme, here’s one part of the front gardening, featuring yellow corydalis, green and gold Japanese Forest Grass, very green blue corydalis foliage, and pulmonaria. You can’t see the green and gold lamiastrum behind the rock, but I find it sometimes a challenge to take photos of a large area of garden and make it look terrific.

Another new heuchera threw itself at me the other day while we were out. This is Heuchera ‘Ginger Ale’. I’d never heard of it, but it caught my eye at Mum’s, and since I like ginger ale a lot…..

Finally, in the green and gold series…one of the most perfect roses that ever existed is
Father Hugo (Rosa hugonis), which covers itself in these dainty, canary yellow flowers. It blooms only once, and for a couple of weeks, but its fine ferny foliage (like a pimpernellifolia) looks great all year long, and the plant is very hardy and vigourous. Perfect rose, indeed.

The only good thing about four days of grey weather--I'm getting my deadline work all caught up, so that I'll be able to spend more time in the garden in coming days--when the sun remembers to visit again.


  1. How nice to share a road trip combined with plant hunting with your Mom! I love the pictures and since I saw that Fr. Hugo a month or more ago I am determined to find a couple! I love the fine foliage.

  2. I've been looking for 'Ginger Ale' locally ever since I saw it in Wayside Gardens' catalog, Jodi. No luck yet, though! It's a Dan Heims introduction.

    We've been having your sunny days here - too many of them. Want to trade a couple? We need rain!

  3. Nice flower pictures and nice kitty cat pics!

  4. How nice to go plant hunting with your mum. Mine doesn't care at all for that sort of thing.

    What a lot of lovely plants you bought. Love that wallflower, it's great. Does it have a fragrance too? That mauve Bacopa is looking wonderful, overhere we only get the white ones.

    I think I have Ginger Ale too in my garden, I love those Heuchera's!

    Well Jodi, I wish you lots of sunshine for the coming weeks!

    Have a lovely weekend!

  5. beautiful photo's. I think you may have helped me ID my Heuchera. I bought some on sale last fall, and one of them looks a lot like your "Ginger Ale". I love these, especially combine with hosta's. I just posted some shots of these combo's last night.


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