Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I spent two hours in a great nursery and came home with ... nothing!

The heucheras at Lockwoods.

Inspired by Kim’s great shopping spree post, I have one of my own. Although I, too, don’t need any more plants this season—indeed, I would be hard-pressed to find room—that would never stop me from buying at least 10-12 perennials and even a few annuals (though at this point in the summer those are only for emergency situations).

Lockwood’s, easily our best vendor, though there are ten other places that come close, looks almost as lush in mid-August as it did in early June. First we went for the shade perennials. They have 5-6 heuchera cultivars, including the chartreuse and golden varieties, as well as a new one I had never seen. The leaves are very stiff and frilly, with a burgundy underside—so frilled that the burgundy colors appear at all the leaf edges. Interesting. No idea what the flowers are like.

Then, the hellebore: they have a white speckled variety, nursery-grown. No comparison with what Plant Delights is offering, but still better than the usual hybrids you see everywhere. Next: Japanese anemone: oh, what the heck, how about one that’s ready to bloom! Finally, for part-shade, a lovely blue lobelia (cardinal flower, not the annual).

On to the sun selections. There must be a tall orange-red helenium and—oh, god, one of the tall grasses, not miscanthus, but I forgot the name (sorry). A couple of Russian sage (the price was right), a pink coreopsis, and a totally goofy and ridiculous fluffy-headed raspberry echinacea. To round it out, we grabbed a magnificent chocolate eupatorium.

One must have height, so we went for the clematis paniculata and a campsis (to grow up a utility pole). And, finally, a teacup colocasia (Plant Delights calls this coffee cups).

Ron consults with the lovely and knowledgeable Sally Cunningham, horticulturalist-in-residence.

By this time, the tab was well north of $150, but not one penny of it was spent by me, because I was on a garden coaching expedition with my pupil Ron. And I must tell you: I was completely satisfied.

But I do apologize for not knowing all the exact names—the buyer, not the enabler, gets the labels.

Addendum: Ron—the rudbeckia hirta Herbstomme came in. You must buy some now or I will be very unhappy!!

Addendum #2: See comments for Ron's notes.


Layanee said...

Eliz: Wow, you've found a way to shop and not spend!!! Congrats! Thank you for visiting 'Ledge and Gardens' and commenting and for the link on the castor bean blog by Ketzel. Checked it out and love the pictures of the bean seeds. That should be an ad FOR buying the plant! Let's protect everyone. We'll swaddle them in bunting from birth to death and give them no choices or free will!!! LOL

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Eureka! I just need to find someone to enable so I don't spend all of my own money on these sprees! (Where was this idea two days ago?! lol.)

Seriously, that sounds like a great haul. Ron sounds like a wonderful pupil--or else you're even more extraordinary of a coach than I thought you'd be--since he's already looking past the usual black-eyed susans and shasta daisies.

Annie in Austin said...

Shopping together for plants has been one of the pleasures of belonging to the Divas of the Dirt - who could resist helping someone else spend money on the garden?

It sounds like everyone had a great afternoon, EAL.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Rosengeranium said...

Hm, you give me evil ideas... My friends with the giant 19th century garden will be dragged along to the next garden fair, I swear :-)

Carol said...

Any regrets? Is this like going out drinking for the evening, but being the designated driver?

You have some great willpower there. I would have had to get something for myself, or circle back later to get myself a few plants.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

kate said...

There are few things more satisfying for a gardener, I figure, than going plant hunting with someone else's money! You get the thrill of selecting, but don't have to spend a cent. Brilliant, m'dear!

Ron said...

For the record, the actual bill was $179.30 for 12 perennials and 1 annual--no real sticker shock, because Coach Elizabeth had braced me for a three-figure pricetag and I was emotionally ready. I come to this newfound gardening passion with about 30 years' experience in book, record, and DVD stores, and I see now that marathon shopping sprees of any kind involve transferable skills. (What I need to do now--for the safety of my pocketbook--is find an apprentice/enablee of my own so I can practice Vicarious Shopping for books, music, or movies.)

Any completists out there might want to know that the tall grass Eliz mentioned is a switch grass called "Shenandoah" (Panicum virgatum). The goofy/ridiculous raspberry ecinachea is "Razzmatazz." If anyone wants further info, just say the word and the buyer will consult the labels--though I must point out that my enabler was able to present a shockingly complete list without any written notes of her own. (Note to those seeking a gardening coach: be sure he or she has a photographic memory.)

As for the adventure itself, it was indeed a lovely way to spend an afternoon. The combination of a knowledgeable mentor (who had just toured my yard a few days earlier) and a top-tier nursery meant that I could totally trust any recommendations I received, which is pretty much ideal for a novice.

PS to Coach E: Yes, yes, the rudbeckia. You got it. Or rather, I've got it... soon as I can hike out to Hamburg again.