26 April 2010

Eating my Words



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.

28 comments:

  1. Well, I didn't know that either, and my sentiments are like yours..I was never fussed on begonias...maybe will take a second look. Valley Day on Friday...can't wait!!

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  2. Isn't that the way. Say you don't like something and someone will find a way to prove you wrong. If it makes you feel better, I'm also not a big fan of begonia's. There are a few special ones though...

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  3. The colour of that bloom is gorgeous, jodi. No wonder you were smitten. I've never been a huge fan of begonias, though I've admired a lot of them in other's gardens. The shading on that bloom is exquisite!

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  4. I just ran into that little gem at the nursery this weekend myself. I left it there, though ... too early to be thinking about those yet. But it's gorgeous!

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  5. That was tricky, not telling whole story, LOL. Love what you did purchase, of course I will be back to hear the rest of the tale. Take care.

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  6. Oh what a tease you are, Jodi! I don't blame you for making an exception about that begonia. I don't care for them either, but that color combo is a knockout. Good luck with the expo! :-)
    Frances

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  7. That is a beautiful bloom. I'm not a big begonia fan either, not enough to take the trouble to grow them.
    Marnie

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  8. It's clear why you like that one, Jodi...I do too. Thanks for sharing your experience because I enjoy learning new things as well, and I didn't know that about begonia's either.

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  9. I'll plead ignorance. I didn't know that. I've have never really been a fan of begonias but this color is so beautiful. I'm surprised you could settle for just one!

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  10. Seems I'm the odd one out here because I love begonias! Non Stop Fire is certainly a dazzler. I'll have to check to see if they have it at "my" nursery. I haven't had a chance to explore a great deal yet because when I'm there I'm too busy working!
    I'm glad to know that little tidbit about the male and female flowers because I've wondered about it too.
    I'll look forward to seeing the other treasures that you found.

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  11. What a pretty flower!
    I'm not too big on anything that has to be dug up and stored indoors through winter.
    Hope you have fun at the event!

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  12. Don't ya just love it when a plant still can stop you in your tracks. Sometimes working in this industry can make us too jaded, I love falling in love again...

    Jen

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  13. Jodi, you left us hanging! :P I used to profess to hate hydrangeas (really I just wasn't fond of the blue ones), then about 20 years ago I fell in love with a true pink one. It is funny how we just a genera of plants sometimes. Glad your lovely flowers followed you home...I'll be back for the next installment!

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  14. Oh dear, a tease. I am not good at waiting girl LOL!
    I was never drawn to Begonias either but i did try to seeds some Non Stops this winter for the front porch. That was an experiment that never happened. Not a one germinated. That is good information on the male and female flowers. I would have never known.

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  15. Don't feel stupid, I also didn't know about cutting off the female flowers of Begonias. (It sounds so misogynist!)

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  16. I happened to love begonia! Living in south florida, I grow some cane begonias. I just love them, even the glossy leaves are very attractive to me! I would say you made a great choice, the flower looks so beautiful, although it might not grow well in my climate :)

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  17. I love begonias specially this time of the year; we don’t have them like that around here. .

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  18. I have never really loved begonias either, and really am not a fan of regular bedding begonias, however I've seen some wowzers too and they can be absolutely stunning.

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  19. This was news to me too, and I love begonias. Can't wait to see your next post!

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  20. Great post! I'm so looking forward to finding out what else was made it into your cart. What a beautiful begonia, I also share the same blah view of them, but these are special! If I can't find my blue star petunias as my main bedding plants this year, I will look for these. Very interesting about the male & female flowers, I wasn't aware of it either. Thanks for the education!

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  21. I think I'll be the odd one out here, since I've always loved Begonias. I've actually had some gorgeous ones that came back over and over and then last summer, nothing. I'd lost them. They'd always put on a good show on our little deck. I didn't know the small ones were female either, but I just left them on. But you have reminded me I really need to find some new ones.

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  22. I am not keen on Begonias either - something to do with the texture of the leaves as well as the over showy flowers. Then again I agree your taste can change when you see a particular variety in a colour that attracts. It is never too late to discover something new - one of the things which makes gardening so interesting.

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  23. A similar thing happened to me with cannas, which I never liked until I discovered Tropicana. Begonias? I never liked them either, but then I found the perennial angel wing. I love it!

    Sounds that you had a successful trip to the nursery. I look forward to seeing all your goodies!

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  24. i admit it, i'm a begonia fan - but haven't always been. they seemed old-fashioned and kind of boring to me for years. it's just that they grow so well here (NC) inside and out! and there are so many flower colors and leaf types. they are easy to propogate, some have nice scents, some have wonderful leaf coloration, they're edible. they flower non-stop, especially if you mix your varieties. maybe you'll fall in love, too. it's hard to resist the one you pictured!

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  25. aloha jodi,

    i loved your story and its true, what a great way to learn something new from a good friend and over something you both enjoy talking about...i love begonias, they are so easy to propogate here in hawaii....all different kinds.

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  26. Isn't it so true that you never finish learning? Even experts don't know everything ;-)

    There is nothing I love more then to talk plants with knowledgeable nursery professionals who are as passionate about them as I am :-)

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  27. oh thats a beauty with that dark edging on the petals. Sometimes I don't take the tiny flowers of the begonias and leave them on with the doubles but this year I am thinking of being "nearly" begonia free in the containers. Can't wait to find out what else was in that goody box.

    Hope you have a great time in Halifax - my relatives have just arrived back there after their winter break in Portugal - they got the last plane out of Germany before they closed the airports due to the volcanic dust.

    oh you are gonna have some sore feet if its like the Expo's in Essen Germany that I've attended - they are huge!

    :) Rosie

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  28. Okay, Jodi, I concede. Not a fan of begonias myself, this flower is indeed a stunner. I can understand why the cat got your tongue and while you were catching your breath, this boisterous beauty tackled and seized your heart-strings. There is something so addictive and pleasurable about being seduced by a plant, don't you think?

    I look forward to seeing the rest of your must-haves.

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