a long-awaited buying spree
Friday we set off for Seattle via Juel’s Unique Nursery in Elma, our second visit to this charming place up a long country road where the dogs are delightful and birds flutter and sing in two greenhouse aviaries. I can’t recommend this highly enough as a stop on one’s way north to the big cities. Owner Julie Sanchez has a great collection of plants for sale and has created wonderful display gardens with an inspirational recirculating stream, something I hope to do here eventually. (Juel’s would make an excellent day trip combined with Steamboat Island Nursery).
Plants from Juel’s: Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’ (for friend Patti), Echinacia ‘Rocky Top’ and Rudbeckia ‘Black Beauty’ (for Marilyn’s garden), campanula ‘Beautiful Trust’ (for me)
Upon arriving in Seattle, we went to Sky Nursery to which Allan’s brother had given us a gift certificate. My main plant mission for the trip was to find Lobelia tupa, and there it was in the small front display garden! I feared finding none, because it was in spectacular apricot-salmon bloom, but I did find two plants. Mission accomplished (although I would have liked five).
Plants from Sky: Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ (for a friend), Lobelia ‘Tupa’ for me and for KBC), and a Penstemon
Saturday morning we were off to the garden tour and a day of specialty nurseries. After three gardens, we stopped at Bainbridge Gardens nursery where we encountered two Rainysiders who had also skipped the social picnic to shop. Kym Pykorny, writer and blogger for the Oregonian newspaper, was one.
plants from Bainbridge Gardens: two Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’, an improvement over ‘Jack Frost’ (one for me, one for Allan’s mom), two “seven up plant” stachys (one for me, one for KBC), 2 Ceanothus ‘Diamond Heights, one Astrantia ‘Abbey Road’.
I had carried with us in our two door Saturn the plants acquired on Friday from Juel’s and Sky, so that I would know exactly how many plants I could fit into the smallish space. Now onward to Mesogeo, one of our main destinations, where I planned to spend much of my wad of cash. It had been years since i allowed myself a spending spree on my own garden…but at last I could afford it after a determined campaign to become debt free, and our garden needs an influx of exciting new plants.
Mesogeo!!! As soon as we passed the old farmhouse with its exotic display garden, one of the owners took us under his wing, introduced me to one of their fluffy black and white cats, and walked with me through the astonishing garden, a mixture of display beds and plants for sale. I did not make it past the first group of pots before I started to make a stash of plants to buy.
plants from Mesogeo: Salvia triloba, Melianthus major with extra big leaves, Melianthus comosus (small leaves, 3-4’), Solanum quitoense (have had/lost this before; they are developing one with no thorns!) Angelica ‘Ebony’, Lavandula viridis (so fragrant, green flowers!!), Juncus ‘lemon twist’ (variegated and stripy twisty bog rush!), Cotelydon orbiculata, Euphorbia stygiana (from the river styx, he said, and taller than millifera), Asphodeline lutea, Cytisis madavense, Gevulina avellana…some plants so new to me that I hope I have read the tags right.
Only because of fear that Heronswood would close before we got there did we tear ourselves away from Mesogeo and go on to the next nursery, Savage Plants, and then a quick stop at Foxglove Greenhouses before touring Heronswood.
from Savage Plants: Tradescantia ‘Blue and Gold’; from Foxglove: two bi colored Aquilegia and some Himalayan blue poppies
Good heavens! I’ve forgotten a stop from Friday at Village Green Perennials, where I was sad to see the once lovely display gardens have gotten overgrown and have almost disappeared, but where I bought:
from Village Green: Aeonium ‘Shwartzkopf’, Phygelius ‘Fanfare Cream’, Euphorbia ‘Helena’s Blush’ and some baby Eryngiums
It’s sad to take someone to see a beautiful garden only to find out that nature has taken it back.
Finally, after Heronswood, we stopped at Dragonfly Farms (“where abnormality is the normality”), which had kindly agreed to stay open for the Rainysiders, and there I filled the car to what I thought was its ultimate capacity. Dragonfly proved to be a destination nursery, a wonderland, filled with great plants (some with Heronswood tags), with garden art, and with vibrant and witty display gardens.
plants from Dragonfly Farms: a very black Sedum ‘Postman’s Pride’, Corylopsis contorta ‘Red Majestic’ (expensive! must have! red leaved contorted filbert!), Albizia ‘summer chocolate’ (at last! one of my own!), Disopeteris, Saxifrage ‘Silver Velvet’ (very dark red leaves), Acanthus ‘Tasmanian Angel’ (pricey but must have as has haunted me ever since the garden show), two ferns, Francoa apendiculata, Fuchsia procumbens (their tag for it says something about it being so cute you just want to rock it!), Bergenia with variegated leaves, Asarum splendens, and more…yes, more…I have not sorted all the plants out yet…
Finally, after a dinner in Kingston with the Rainysiders, and a day spent helping Allan’s mom in her Seattle garden, we headed home…via one last nursery stop, Ravenna Gardens in University Village, where I added plants laying sideways in the trunk on top of the luggage! Ah, the city…where in a small nursery one finds a bottom shelf of Echiums!!!
plants from Ravenna Gardens: three Echevarias, two ‘Wilma Goldcrest’ Monterey Cypress, and one hardy banana.
And now we are home….with so many plants to plant and no time because work has piled up. Still, they sit near the front door, pleasing me with their presence and promising to make our garden far more exciting than it has been for a long time.
[2012 note: I now have the Red Majestic contorted filbert in our new garden, one of the larger plants that I moved here from the old garden. I wonder if I still have that red velvety saxifrage…I meant to move it, but did I? A lot of the plants might have done better in our new sunny garden than they did in our old shady one…]