08 May 2010

When the weather gets tough, the tough go plant hunting!

It started out innocently enough, as these things often do. I blame it totally on the weather.

After a highly productive early morning writing plant profiles and finishing up a presentation I'll be doing soon, I thought I might go outside and work. Well. I knew it was windy, but when I went outside and got blown halfway across the yard, I got enormously peeved at the universe. I knew there'd be no working outside, so I got thinking about a wonderful plant I spied a couple of weeks ago at Briar Patch Farm and Nursery in Berwick. It's a new annual euphorbia along the lines of the awesome 'Diamond Frost'; this one has more of a pink tinge and larger flowers, and is called 'Breathless Blush'. I figure the weather has moderated enough that I should go pick it up, along with a few other things, and then I can work in the greenhouse, planting my containers. So I headed off down the highway...

...but I didn't go to ONLY Briar Patch. I managed to hit four nurseries, two of which have websites: Briar Patch, and denHaan's, down in Middleton. Because you see, I thought I'd go visit denHaan's, see what they have for annuals, then go have tea with my friend Terri at her Telegraph Tea Room in neighbouring Nictaux.

At den Hann's, I managed to have 4 small fall asters, a burgundy flowered sanguisorba, a huge, purple-belled gloxinia for my office, and several annuals follow me out to the car. One of the annuals is this pink Pentas, a great butterfly magnet.

In Centreville, I had to go in to Gerry Frail's nursery (no website) and collect a few other container plants, including the white osteo in the second photo, 'Osteo Soprano Vanilla'. Though I love some of the newer colours of osteos, I always need a white one or two, and I haven't had one of the spoon-petalled types for a while.

I had this cuphea, called 'Totally Tempted' a couple of years ago. Although it's kind of messy when its flowers finish, I found it a huge hummingbird magnet, so I decided to get another one this year to put in one of the hanging baskets. I picked this up at a small family greenhouse in Aylesford called Marlene's. A miniature astilbe called 'Sprite', which I can't wait to plant, pleaded with me to give it a good home. Well, you know when plants plead with you, you have to comply.

Oh, let's see, what else did I collect? At Briar Patch, a really fine specimen of Amsonia 'Blue Ice'; I have the regular A. tabernaemontana, which has been a tried and true performer for nearly a decade. I did have a 'Blue Ice' a couple of years ago, but...ahem...I forgot where I planted it and I don't know if it went to sleep or if I weeded it thinking it was something else or what happened to it. Have I mentioned that we have a lot of garden beds, and that sometimes things do go astray?

So then I went to Terri's place, the perfect way to wrap up a highly satisfactory break from working. Terri and her husband James moved here from England several years ago, and opened this tea room as part of their new life here. At one time, Terri worked at Heligan and the Eden Project back in the UK, so she's a real plantswoman and a pleasure to talk with. And I'm now hopelessly hooked on what she calls a Ploughman's lunch. I'd read about this for many years, but never had it before. Maybe it was the homemade wholegrain rolls. Or the white Stilton with pears blended into it. Or the delectable chocolate mint herbal tea that I had with it. Or just all of the above, plus good conversation. It was altogether dandy, and much better than sitting home cussing at the wind. I did enough of that when I got back and had to unload everything into the greenhouse!

By the time you read this, I'll be on my way to Bible Hill to give a talk, but first I'll be flying to Antigonish to pick up some plants from Bill and Sharon at The Willow Garden. And then detouring to Lloyd Mapplebeck's Hillendale Perennials to drop off some plants I promised him. Am leaving Longsuffering Spouse at home because...he takes up too much room in the car, and there has to be room for plants.


  1. I hear you about the spouse taking up too much room. Sometimes, those trees lean way over the passenger seat, my husband gets very annoyed at having branches in his hair, much easier not to take him along!

  2. Jodi girl I had to laugh at poor long suffering man that takes up too much room in your "plant-mobile" (my Sunfire is green and is named so as well ! LOL)
    I love your description of the plant adventure and "tea" lunch : )
    There is nothing that a plant expedition can't cure or at least forget our woes for a bit ?
    It was fun to read that you were going to Bible Hill .. an old haunt from when we lived in Debert : )

  3. We always travel in my husband's truck, which has a camper top on it. Great for carrying lots of plants. He drives, I holler "stop" when I see a nursery. Works good for us - lol.

  4. It does snowball doesn't it? I would love to meet that couple having been to Heligan and Eden last year. Both incredible places. I love that china pattern. What a great day not spent in the garden. How is Buffalo shaping up for you?

  5. sounds like the perfect day! Other than the weather. But then if it hadn't been raining, you would never have spent the day that way.

  6. As if you needed an excuse to go plant shopping :)

    Rain here so I'm off to do the same today.

  7. Oh my, a very fancy Ploughman's, at least compared to the ones I used to make in the pub. We love a Ploughman's lunch here, although often we have it for dinner. Crusty bread, assorted cheese (traditionally probably just an English Cheddar). Some fresh fruit, apples or grapes, some cooked sausage, and of course, no Ploughman's is complete without Ploughman's Pickle. The Ploughman would have washed it all down with ale, but we usually go for a glass of wine...

  8. Poor Lowell, pushed aside for plants once again. Hee! I see you have a photo of lantana in your post -- would it do well in containers, jodi? I'm absolutely smitten with the colour combinations and the fact that the bees and butterflies love it so. :) Your other finds are wonderful as well.

  9. Hey Jodi...I'm exhausted after reading that fly by the seat of the pants nursery tour! How in the world did you cover that amount of ground and stroll through those nurseries? I know them all but seem to miss den Hanns because of the travelling. You must have it down pat and drive like a "bat out of hell"...as they say...lol!
    You've got me interested in that new tea room though...where is Terri's place?

    Have a good talk...wanted to catch you at this one and forgot all about it.

  10. I wouldn't mind neither that Ploughman's lunch, nor those lovely plants... Good luck with your talk!

  11. yummy ploughmans lunch.......... wow you're a busy bee these days Jodi. I love osteo's too in the summer months though I've never tried pentas outside as its normally only sold here as a houseplant. I've never bought a cuphea before - I normally walk past them in the garden centre but that looks like a nice one - the flowers are tiny on the ones sold here - but they are always laden with hoverflies.

  12. You are too funny, jodi! LSS taking up too much room...

    I see we think much alike still, when it comes to plants we like. I had to smile at your buying 'Sprite.' That occupies a special place in my garden. It was given to me by my mom because every single time we'd go to a nursery and see it, she'd say, "That's my favorite." I could count on her to say it. She bought one for me and I got a special ID label for it which of course says, "Mom's Favorite." It is a nice and cute one!

    I see you've been as busy as ever and as busy as I have been. I never thought I'd be this busy - by CHOICE!

    I hope your health is keeping up with you. Don't overdo it, my dear!


  13. Jodi: Sounds like you had a very satisfactory day! I had several of those days recently myself, really feel good at the end of the day. And usually I will end that day to sit in front of the computer googling all the plants I got that day, and picture where I should plant them in the garden :)

  14. Sounds like you had a wonderful day Jodi. Aren't you glad the weather was lousy and gave you an excuse to go out and get all these lovely plants? Well, let's not call it an excuse but an efficient use of time...

  15. Hi Jodi..
    looks like you had a great day.
    I love visiting our garden centers and botanical garden plant sales. But transportation is always a problem. A few years ago we downsized from a large sized car to a two seater sporty edition. Guess how much room is available?
    But with the promise of a good dinner our friend with truck is available to help:)

    Take care,

  16. Always 'my kinda gal', Jodi! Because of my plant addiction, we shlep overloads to the lake :) Mr. Ho-Hum shakes his head but has lasted, like a stalwart perennial, for over 40 years! Happy Mother's Day, dear friend.

  17. Yum, Stilton with the pear bits already mixed into it? I'm totally there. What a wonderful outing you had, Jodi!

    Those plants are so mischievous, just following you home like that, without so much as a by-your-leave.

  18. Your plants and the Ploughman's Lunch look delicious! I make a Ploughman's like Curbstone Valley Farm, but I add pickled onions. Excuse me ... just got a craving ...

  19. Wow Jodi....look at all them plants! Thanks for the mention by the way! I have been playing with my camera and have posted a couple of pics, making tentative steps into the world of blogging:/! So this is how we become insomniacs. Some gorgeous plants you had in your car...making me hungry now, for plants!

  20. Great post! I also blame the weather for many unexpected purchases. Your lunch looks and sounds delicious, now I want pears & stilton! The passanger issue seems to be widespread. My hubby, kids & dog have all be 'crushed' by plants/trees that came home unexpectedly. I think it's good for character building. ;)


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