I love learning something new, especially when it comes to plants. There's always, always something new to learn, too. Including about myself.
So I'm at Glad Gardens out in Waterville, which is a very cool family owned operation that I discovered a few years ago. Daina and her mother Laura and their team of employees strive to have great plants, including a lot of unusual annuals, many of which Daina grows from seed. She creates astonishingly beautiful container plantings too, but more about those another day.
One of the reasons I enjoy going to Glad Gardens so much is that, like the other nurseries I frequent, the owners LOVE plants, and love to talk about them. We exchange information, puzzle over things together sometimes. Like when Laura told me about the Filipendula purpurea 'Elegans that she'd had growing in front of the nursery, and then moved it, and the flower colour changed. She'd grown it on in several spots and it still didn't resort to the rich pink flowers they had been--more of a pale peach. Did I know why? No, I didn't, although I'd read something about this in Allan Armitage's Native Plants for North America Gardens just recently and so when I got home I'd go find out what ever else I could and let her know.
Daina and I are walking through the nursery looking for plants for me to take with me to Saltscapes Expo this Friday, and she points out the tuberous begonias she grew. "I'm not a fan of begonias," I tell her, even though my father grew them splendidly when I was a kid back in St. John's. Somehow, they're just too...I don't know what, but I've only ever had the occasional Rex begonia around for years.
The words are hardly out of my mouth--I MEAN that--when I glance up and come to a halt. "Which one is THAT?" I demand, pointing at a glowing, perfect flower, gold edged in pink-scarlet. It looked a little bit like a tree peony, so stuffed with gorgeous petals.
"Non Stop Fire, "Daina says, grinning at me. She knows me well, and when plants stop me in my tracks, there's usually something about to happen.
Yes, she added one to the box of treasures she was carrying for me. Surprised? Didn't think so.
So that was one thing I learned--I can be seduced into liking at least ONE species or cultivar in a genus if the right colour combination catches my eye. But the thing about this little interlude that cracked me up is that I was looking at another flower on the plant, with single petals and a cluster of stigma in its centre. "Why is this different?" I ask.
"That's the female flower," she says. "The male is the bigger, showier one. Some people cut the female flowers off so more energy can go into the fancy double ones."
D-uh to me. All these years and I didn't know that? Okay, granted, I've said I don't LIKE them and consequently don't grow them or read about them or...but still. Wow. But I've never pretended to be a know-it-all, just a curious person. And like I said, I love learning something new.
Oh, so what else got into the car today besides the begonia that felled me in a single swoop? I'm not telling, not today. Just a tempting little hint; rich dark foliage, blue flowers, orange flowers, rosy pink flowers, vine, annuals, perennials, succulents. Hmmmm. What has she gone and done NOW?
You'll have to wait a day or two to find out, friends. With the Saltscapes Expo only 5 sleeps away, I have much to do before I head to Halifax for the weekend.