What do you do when it's too muggy to work in the gardens, too sticky to work in the house, and definitely too rainy to do much of anything but wait for plants to bloom? (Like Hot Papaya echinacea)?
We get in the car and go off to nurseries, of course. What's a little rain when there are plants to go looking at?
I hadn't been down to Ocean View Garden Centre in Chester for a couple of years. I'm really sorry that was the case, but it's been rectified now. And how! What a terrific place, even in a rainstorm (which is what we had when we arrived there.)
They've expanded their garden centre enormously in the past couple of years. It was always good, but now it's amazing. Because it was raining so hard at times, I didn't take many photos or explore the whole thing. Having seen their perennial catalogue, I knew there were certain plants that I didn't have that they did have. Which would solve the problem of MY having them.
I did walk around one display garden, that included a variety of perennials, including an impressive collection of grasses, which are just starting to flush into flower now. More about grasses in coming posts.
It's always a thrill to discover plants that I haven't heard of yet, or hadn't expected to see locally yet. Like this echinacea, 'Secret Passion'. I happen to like the double echinaceas--well, okay, I have never yet met a coneflower I didn't like, except the Meadowbrite series, and that's only because they do not do well here. But when I saw this one, a dwarf, branching beauty with orangy-pink flowers...well, I gave up on the umbrella. One can't juggle purse, camera, umbrella, tray of plants, AND pick up more plants to put in tray. Rain-rinced hair is a good thing, isn't it?
Anyone remember the band 'Tangerine Dream'? I can't name a single song off the top of my head, but I'll always remember their existence because of this striking coneflower by the same name. I think I like echinaceas better than electronica. No question, actually.
For those of us who are fond of pollinators and native plantings, here's a new-to-me Veronicastrum, or Culver's root: 'Roseum'. I had white and blue forms but had never seen pink before. Til now. Tee hee hee. Glad hubby doesn't mind waiting in the car, listening to the radio, staying dry while I squish around in the rain picking out plants.
When I buy coneflowers, the first thing I do is cut off any current blooms (sometimes buds, too), to give the plant more chance to focus on settling in roots and developing strong foliage and stems, so that LATER it can bloom fabulously. This is 'Meringue', a new and welcome addition to my green-flowered cones. Today I picked up several others, but you're going to have to wait til they bloom to be introduced to them.
On our way home from Chester, we stopped in New Ross at a little place called 'Vittles'. Where we had the best fish and chips we'd had in a long time. Now, sadly, I didn't think about taking photos of our supper til it was half done, and it wouldn't have looked so great with tartar sauce and ketchup on hubby's portion. So you're just going to have to take my word for it that this little place, with its fresh fresh fish and home-made home fries, is a jewel in 'real' restaurants. It's only a little more than half an hour from our place, so I know we'll be visiting there at least once a month...and hopefully you will too! You can make a day of it; visiting Ocean View in Chester, touring around that lovely town, heading to Ross Farm Museum, and finishing up with fresh seafood at Vittles. What's not to love?