11 July 2010

Local nurseries and great food

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?


  1. Oh girlfriend, I love flowers with cool names, like Tangerine Dream, Hot Papaya and Secret Passion. Now I want to buy these and add them to my garden. And to top off your day with delicious fish and chips at a place called Vittles, well done. You are describing a great day, in my opinion.

  2. Sounds like a perfectly wonderful way to spend a perfectly yucky day, jodi. :) (Oh, Tangerine Dream? One of their "hits" was No Man's Land. Almost a bit of irony there.) Anything in Chester is at least twice as gorgeous as it is anywhere else...I'll put this nursery on my list to visit.

  3. 'Meringue' is really awesome. Looks like one I bought (maybe called 'Coconut Lime?') that doesn't seem to have survived the winter.

    'Secret Passion' is equally beautiful and I may have to look out for it.

  4. Wow it sure does look like an amazing nursery. I love the display gardens, especially those lilies!
    I haven't seen any of the echinaceas you found, I think I need to find
    'Secret Passion'. I'm still very sad that the 'Tiki Torch' I bought last year didn't come back, it's made me unsure about spending lots of money on a new one. But if I find 'Tangerine Dream' I just may risk it!

  5. You went to one of my favorite places - Chester. We were there last year and fell in love with that whole area - Lunenburg especially. I'm coming back to Nova Scotia in August and September. Think I'll need to make a side trip to get me some "Secret Passion".

  6. I know Coconut Lime came back for me, and I THINK Tiki Torch did, but most of my coneflowers are just putting up buds preparing to bloom. So I'll be able to do a full report when they get around to flowering. I know several are slower than others, but some of them were definitely first-year plants last year. Others were second year plants and had vigourous crowns. The five I got today look just great, but I'm picky and will sacrifice flowers to make sure the plant settles in well.

  7. The double coneflower's are beautiful, but I've had no luck with them. Still I dream in coconut lime....

  8. Great post Jodi! I get so crazy excited when a new plant comes along, and also have to remedy the problem of the garden centre having it, but my not having it (does that make sense??). The fish & chips sound delicious, now I want some!

  9. Hi Jodi, What a delightful way to spend a rainy day! I swoon for fresh fish and chips....mmmm. The closest we have here is a place called 'Brits' - they even have deep-fried Mars Bars (for sharing, of course!).

    Love your new 'Meringue' - adorable!

  10. Tangerine Dream? Weren't they the world's most boring band?

    I once met a young lady who was obviously amicable to a bit of nudey fun, and we went back to her flat. As we sank a few drinks, she put on a Tangerine Dream album. It was the longest 40 minutes of my life!

    I made my excuses and left.

  11. Visiting a nursery is such a great way to spend the day. I am going to take your advice and remove the flowers on my newly planted echinacea.

  12. Ocean View HAS really grown hasn't it! I think they have one of the largest perennial plant and grass selection around, not to mention the retail gifts inside, the organic produce market ...well, we are lucky to have this nursery on the South Shore. I think Jodi...we likely came home with the same plants))))))!! The cone flowers are pretty awesome but I can't bear to remove the blooms. Great post!

  13. Yum, I so enjoyed meandering with you~

    all joys,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  14. Remember a few years ago when Echinacea 'Magnus' came out? It was like, whoa a cultivar! Now there are literally dozens of cultivars. It's crazy. Beautiful!

    Vittles sounds like a fun place. And Ocean View GC sounds like it's going to become home away from home. :)

  15. What is the name of the intensely pink Astrantia posted here?

  16. I don't see any astrantia in this post, Allan. I'll send you a note in case you don't see this, and we'll figure out which picture you mean.


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