Seedy Saturday at the Wolfville Farmer's Market was a great success, as far as I could tell during my visit there. Among the delights on offer were seeds from several small local heritage seed businesses, which I'll have more to say about on another day. Saturday, however, I was all about plants, though it started out innocuously enough. The Friends of the Garden at the KC Irving Environmental Centre at Acadia were doing a tree seedling giveaway, and when a couple of the Friends spied me, they of course insisted I needed a tree seedling or two or three.
I ended up with five. The seedlings were free, with a donation to the Farmers Market building fund, a project I happily support. Meanwhile, three white pine seedlings and two balsam fir seedlings took up happy residence in the trunk of my car.
That was the beginning of the kickoff for the 2010 Urgent Plant Seeking Madness.
It happened that there were a couple of women at the Market, selling perennials. I know and like these women a lot, having gotten some choice plants from them over the years, including my unique and lovely lindelofia, a member of the borage family that looks like giant forget-me-nots or anchusa. They tell me they're growing it again this year. I'll have to visit their nursery and get a couple more plants, as I'm quite sure I know of one or two others who would love another blue-flowered plant.
Saturday, however, was about other blue-flowered beauties, and more. Like pulmonaria. I have a huge love for these plants, also members of the borage family, for their silver spangled foliage even more than for their flowers. The photo at the top is of one that has all-green foliage, however, P. angustifolia 'Azurea'. What it lacks in silver accents in the leaves, it more than makes up for in the brilliant, dazzling blue flowers.
Less exuberantly blue but with exquisite silver-green accents is P. 'Gaelic Magic', one of the Proven Winners series of perennials. It also followed me out to the car.
The primulas are starting to come up in my garden, so of course I couldn't resist the urge to add another to those already hanging out there. This is one of the drumstick primulas (P. denticulata).
And the last of the perennial purchases for the day was a Labrador violet (Viola labradorica). I had this a few years ago but it was either in the wrong spot or got overwhelmed by larger, more vigourous plants. Its foliage is stunning, deep green with highlights of darker purple, almost black, against which the dainty flowers show up beautifully.
Well, after that little episode I had the bit well and truly in my teeth, and went down to Falmouth to visit my buddy, nurseryman Rob Baldwin. Rob's one of those plant people who is phenomenal at propagating and growing impressive, healthy nursery stock, another acolyte of our late lamented friend Captain Steele. He specializes in shrubs and trees, but also has a nice selection of perennials, many of them specifically to encourage pollinators. We went plant hunting with Captain Steele to Newfoundland and Labrador in the summer of 2007, and brought home many cuttings and seeds, which Rob has been growing on since then. If you live in this province, I can't say it more clearly than this: go to Baldwin Nurseries for plants. Seriously.
Um...I came home with the car full. Literally. I shared the front seat with a seedling magnolia and a northern bayberry, because there was no room in the trunk or the back seat. Next time, I'm bringing the truck!
So what treasures came along with me this time? Aside from the magnolia and the northern bayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica), a mixture of natives and introduced friends climbed into the car:
A lepidote rhododendron, the name of which has temporarily left me.
Two Daphne mezereum, or what we call Acadian daphne (photo above), as it was brought to this province by the Acadians some 400 years ago.
A young barberry (Berberis thunbergii) from tiny seedlings I brought to Rob several years ago
A sea buckthorn (Rhamnus hippophae)
Two Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea'
One Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), from seed we collected on the Labrador Quebec border during that trip. Well, he climbed this rocky hilltop beside the ferry terminal while I held the car in the queue and worried. The plants were scoured by wind and heavy snowload and they seem to have evolved with somewhat reflexed leaves as a result.
Two creeping silver willows (Salix repens argentea)
Did I mention I'm making more beds?
I have to get these all planted before I can go plant seeking again. That's the rule. Guess it's going to be a busy few days. As soon as the wind stops blowing gale force, that is.