23 February 2008

Another season's promise

Nancy of Soliloquy posted earlier today about Gifts of the Garden, about the many blessings of plants, which led me to leave a comment quoting a song from Stan Rogers. His song was about planting crops, and he talks about putting "another season's promise in the ground." The funny thing about that is that today I spent a few hours in Nancy's neck of the woods, looking at another season's promise, at a friend's nursery in Falmouth.

My friend Rob is a plant propagator par excellence, and his nursery is one of my favourite places to go spend the grocery money (whoops, that was supposed to read disposable income). While he does bring in some plants, he also grows a lot of his own material from seed and from cuttings. He's expanding and putting up a large new greenhouse, but I went down today partly to see that, partly to get a touch of spring, and partly to help him with some photos for his soon to be launched website.

Some of my photos are a bit foggy looking because Rob's propagating greenhouse is nicely warm, with a mist system for the cuttings bench, and the lens on my camera kept fogging up. One of his passions is for dwarf conifers, which are becoming more popular all the time with gardeners. They're nice because even for a small garden, you can have a few really interesting, different cultivars. With lots of room...it's going to be even more fun for me. I'm a patient gardener, after all, and have the perfect site for coldtesting things for hardiness.

These are some of the Japanese maple seedlings that Rob grew last spring. He gave me a flat of them when they got a little bigger, and I planted them out around my place. We'll see how they fared this spring. Isn't it neat how they come in such a rainbow of different colours?

One of the plants that generates instant plant lust in me. Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis Aurea' is a choice, gorgeous little plant, and I'm putting one in this year...I have other chamaecyparis, including Filifera aurea, and Plumosa aurea, and 'Heatherbun', and Nootka 'Glauca'...do you suppose it's an addiction?

I wish that Pieris 'Mountain Fire' would hold this fantastic colour all year long, but it does hold it til well into June. And the flowers, well, the flowers are exquisite. I have one that Dick Steele of Bayport gave me several years ago, and it's going to flower this year...can't wait!

One of Rob's interests is native plants; and we collected a LOT of seeds when we were on the great plant collecting festival in Newfoundland and Labrador last September. He's also very partial to rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants, so he has a lot of cuttings of rhodos happily rooting--including a few that are flowering!

Those of you who live or are from down south will recognize this as being a Taxodium, or cypress. I don't know the species--whichever one is hardy to zone 5, I suspect--but one of them will be coming up here to see how it likes my neck of the woods, in time.

Don't these flowers look like tiny daffodils? Maybe daffodils for faeries? No? Well, I thought so...again, I don't know the species, but this is an evergreen barberry...and of course, when I saw it, I said my usual thing. "I want that!" Apparently, it's really, REALLY thorny--but I'm quite dotty about barberries, and hopefully, I'll get to test one of these out, too.

Although it's snowing again this evening, after a not too bad day today, what we discovered while going through hundreds of photos is that it really hasn't been so long since last August, when I took this photo...

...and it won't be very long until the nursery looks like this (maybe minus the thunderstorm that was happening that day...) and another season's promise of new plants will be ready for putting in the ground.


  1. i'm waiting for even a hint of another season's promise. this winter has just buried us under snow and warmer temperatures are still a few days away. I have a thing for japanese maples so the picture of the seedlings is just fab. I've also got a thing for cats...your buddies sleeing on the couch ...priceless.

  2. You've got some great photos on your blog. I'm glad I stumbled onto it.

  3. What a wonderful nursery your friend has. The Japanese maples are a beautiful array of colours. I like the Pieris and the yellow flowers of the Barberry ...those are adorable. What's a few thorns when the flowers are so pretty?

    The August pictures are lovely.

  4. We have something which is either Pieris or a very similar shrub growing in the street beds around where I live, and it's looking really good at the moment. I love the colour contrast between the old foliage and the new.

  5. You always have such beautiful pictures to make us optimistic about life without snow--not easy to do right now with at least a four foot snow pack on the ground. We are headed to Aroostock County today for a ski race--probably even more snow up that way. But your pictures remind me that spring is on the way to Nova Scotia and to Maine.

  6. What a wonderful way to chase away the winter blues! So much promise in the greenhouse, and to think those babies will get to come live with you, it makes one giddy with anticipation. I have a thing about the chamaes also, so low maintenance for so much beauty, although we lost two large Cripssii to the drought. Wish we could go visit your friend's nursery, we would enrich him considerable.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  7. I love going to greenhouses smelling the earth feeling the heat and seeing all the green on a grey winter day!
    Soon yes soon we'll be there..but for now we look at photos such as yours to lift our spirits! hugs NG

  8. Wow, I can see why you would spend the grocery money, I mean, of course, disposable money, your husband's retirement, gas money, whatever to get some of those pretty little plants. Too many trips there and you might end up, well, let's just not think about that.

    We had a bald cypress (Taxodium distichum I think) in our yard in zone 5 growing up. It's a great tree, but does drop little fine leaves all winter long.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  9. jodi - im so jealous that you have a friend who owns a nursery! those japanese maples look great and it makes me remember that I WANT THAT, TOO! I really want to learn the art of propagation. I tried it a couple of times last summer with no success. great pics too, as always.

  10. Oh, it's so nice to have friends in high places, isn't it? Your friend's nursery looks wonderful. Everything looks so healthy. Definitely made me feel that spring is within reach. I'm certainly ready to embrace it.

  11. Hope springs eternal.Your friends nursery is wonderful. I love the last photo of the thunderstorm and the nursery.

  12. Jodi, how nice to have a nurseryman for a friend. I really enjoyed your post. Is August the high point for your garden's production and beauty? Here, ours are really tired by then. We're just trying to keep them alive until September's lower temps.~~Dee

  13. OK you convinced me. I'm going to take off and visit my favorite nursery soon as I can find and dig out my truck.

  14. Nothing warms the cockles like a visit to a local nursery. Thank you for taking us along!
    The barberry blossoms are so sweet...yes, definitely daffodils for faeries :) But they'd better watch out for those nasty thorns!
    A Japanese Maple is on my wish list.
    That sure looks like a pretty place!

  15. Jodi
    Do you know how lucky you are girl ! JEEZ !
    Love all those Japanese Maple "kids" .. we have always wanted one but as to space .. "where on earth do you think ..." and so on and so forth !
    I'm a fan of Barberry .. I have to gold ones out front and I think they have begun to deter some neighborhood naughties .. phew !
    The pictures are wonderful to look at today .. mostly snow up to my eyeballs .. BIG sigh !
    Joy of the frozen north

  16. When I looked at the photo of the Japanese maple seedlings, I thought "those look just like Japanese maples", but I just couldn't comprehend that many JM's at one time. What fun to have a whole flat of them!

  17. Hi Jodi, it's a wonderful post of a wonderful nursery. I' m glad that I'm not living near the nursery because my purse would be always empty!!!
    And I' m sorry with the fairy flower I' ve got to contradict you there! In my new post you can find the only real fairy flower.
    Thank you for this post and have a wonderful Sunday.

  18. Today was in the 30s here in Maryland. I would have liked nothing better than to tag along to the greenhouse. The smell and the warmth is divine. How lucky you are to have a place to spend your, ahem, disposable income.

    Robin at Bumblebee

  19. Your friend's nursery looks wonderful! I'm glad it's so far away because otherwise I would have no money left. I tend to be dangerous in a nursery like that!

    You have beautiful pictures on your blog.

  20. I love walking slowly through a greenhouse and enjoying each plant. That's why I enjoyed reading this post so much.

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  21. That is some gift, a flat of Japanese maples! It looks like your friend has a nice set-up at his nursery. I would like to here more about his plant propagation experiences if he was willing to share them!

  22. What great photos--and those little cyprus cuttings were adorable--particularly when you think how large they'll grow!

  23. Well Teach, it seems that a lot of people have done their homework already. ;-) Love it that the cat-children are back on the blog, I've missed them.

    It looks like you had a lovely visit at that nursery of your friend Rob. It's nice to be inside a greenhouse all cozy and warm when outside it is freezing, isn't it?

    You've shown us lots of lovely plants and shrubs but my favourite is the barberry; love those pretty flowers!

  24. For two years now, I've wanted to buy a Pieris and never have. This year is the year! And I want that barberry!!!

  25. Beware the dwarf conifer addiction - you'll end up like those folks on the Conifer Forum on Gardenweb with a garden almost exclusively of conifers. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

  26. Oh Wow...just what a winter worn gardener likes to see. Lovely promises from a nursery. Thanks so much for sharing all of this. I reallly like the barberry too. Those are delightful little daffodil-looking blooms.

  27. CAtching up a little bit before heading off for a reading session.
    Irena, we've had some more snow too...but the days are getting longer...and my horse has started to shed!
    Audrey, welcome, glad you enjoyed your visit. Come back anytime.
    Kate, isn't there a quote about thorns and flowers (like who cares about thorns when there are flowers...something like that. Anyway, exactly right.)
    Sue, it'll be fun to see what's growing in the street beds...share with us, I love reading your posts.
    Beth, yes, one of these days we'll see spring. The sun set tonight at 6 pm exactly, so that's a big improvement over 430!

    Frances, I just wish I could email plants to my blogging buds like you and say, 'here, try this and see how it does in Tennessee/Chicago/Regina/Austin/Dinteloord/Busselton....

    Nancy, you haven't been to Rob's yet? Oh my....get ready for fun. His prices are so much better than a lot of nurseries--and his quality is too!

    Naturegirl, we do need photos and the smell of warm soil in greenhouses to help, don't we? It all helps us get through the weeks.

    Carol, the good thing is I can claim some of my plants as expenses for research purposes--sure can't do that with the grocery money!

    Gina...I have several friends with nurseries, actually. Like about half a dozen, to be precise. They're scattered around this province, mind you, but that's okay--just makes for a good excuse to go visit!

    Robin, yes, a little spring would be good--you're closer to it than, me, especially with your indoor gardening such a bloomin' success. I haven't sown anything indoors yet, just some winter stuff outside.

    Curtis, that storm was wicked impressive, too. A few minutes later, we were having a drownpour of rain, hail, you name it--nothing damaged but it was wild. Made for great photos, though.

    Dee, August isn't as hot as it is for you; and not nearly as dry. Some people get the midsummer meltdowns because they don't know how to plan for longterm colour, but here on the shore, the fog and cooler temperatures also meant hings bloom longer.

    JOhn @ Wiseacre, did you find your truck yet? (We had more snow the past day or two also, but not a big dump for a few days now. )

    Kerri, we have quite a few barberries here, but not that one--yet. And I have another nursery operator friend who has one that I hope to purchase a plant of too--very unique, but til I find the name I won't talk about it.

    Joy, I hear you on the snow...I'm not sure about the Japanese maples here but I have a neighbour up the road with one that's done fine for a few years, so we'll see what happens.

    Entangled, my friend says these aren't that hard to germinate, but he's the germinating master, so I'm not sure I believe him.
    Wurzerl, I loved your story on the fairy flower! Frances and her fairies may also have something to say, though.

    Robin, it's been cold here this weekend too--milder in the Valley, but the wind off the water has a real bite. Yes, we may eat a lot of macaroni come spring....

    Sherry, I usually take a set amount of cash with me, leave my chequebook and bank card at home...and still come home with more than I expected.

    Cindy, it's a great way to get through the winter blahs, looking at plants, isn't it? I hope to make a trip to another friend's nursery this week.

    Dave, he's a good guy, and a good nursery operator. I wish we lived closer because I could just follow him around and listen to him. We swap information; I know about perennials, he knows about trees and shrubs, we're both nuts about butterfly and native plant gardening, and you should have SEEN my car when we got back from Nfld and Labrador--stuffed with seeds, cuttings, more seeds, more cuttings...

    Dr Mom, every time I look at a tree seedling I'm amazed at how big they'll grow...there are miracles, and they're called trees, aren't they?

    Yolanda, so good to see you commenting again. The cat-children are pleased that you missed them, though tonight they have been naughty, naughty cat-children. I think a slipper was thrown at them by my trying-to-sleep spouse a while ago. All is quiet now.

    Kylee, you should do okay with a pieris like Mountain Fire, I think (Kim would confirm that, because I'm not sure about your climate). When they bloom, they are like lilies of the valley in cascades...I can't wait.

    MMD...I have seven acres, so I can have a lot of plant addictions, believe me...more than I can afford, but I'll never run out of room, though the horse might find his pasture somewhat shortened! :-)

    Lisa, it seems all us northern gardeners are a bit winterworn right now. But we'll make it, won't we?

  28. 'Mountain Fire' is exactly the one I've seen here, so once the time is right, it's as good as here!

  29. Well ya'll--I did have a lot of the plants on Jodi's list in some form or another and they all fried in our drought this summer. I had a Hemlock turn to a skelaton.

    Every zone has it's problems. As much as ya'll like to see our Southern gardens, it takes a lot of mulch and water to keep some plants thriving down here. I'm envious of those maples. It's another great post and a very unique garden center. I admire the owners hard work and congrats to him on his growth. He must be building a good customer base.


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