Enter into any one of the open hoop houses and instantly you are transported to a world of lush green foliage, sumptuous flowers not to mention exotic locales ranging from Chile to China and back to North America. So many times I would drop to my knees to appreciate the beauty of what lay before me. It was like being in a candy store only now I was surrounded by the very plants that led to my obsession!
From Helleborus to Lathyrus, Scopolia to Veratrum, everything that I’d ever possibly wish for in a garden was laid before me like a horticultural feast! Already I’d chosen a mere dozen plants out of a possibility of thousands, and as such told myself that indeed I was exercising a new found modicum of restraint…. but how long would [did] it last? I’d already briefed Deborah as to the undesignated but obligatory role that she would have to play – that of the persistent voice of reason, to which she eagerly obliged! [Looking back, perhaps it was a little too eagerly, but more on that later!]
I will admit to feeling the hypnotic swoon of the fabulous Corydalis nobilis – the ‘Lord’ of the Corydalis as Gabi speaks of here, but I managed to say No, not this time your Lordship! Those who know me understand that when it comes to this mesmerizing genus, its the princely blue flowering species that leave me breathless! Luckily I didn’t stumble across any on this visit!
Perhaps the hardest two letter word in the dictionary, the word NO! I personally believe it is the most over-used and abused word! Take the above photos for example. Who in their right, or left mind for that matter, would ever dream of turning up their noses at plants of such sublime beauty! And before you say it as well, YES! I do already grow Glaucidium palmatum, but one can never have too many! I did resist the urge to purchase the rare and beguiling white form, Glaucidium palmatum var. leucanthum, only because my eye landed on the enchanting Epimedium in the above photo. Epimedium ‘Hagoromo’ is a wonderful new, compact Japanese species with wonderful two toned blooms with soft pink spurs and outer petals, and pure white insides! I had gone specifically for E.g ‘Tama no Genpei [below] but could hardly utter that bastardized two letter word [NO!] upon this chance meeting! Amazingly, and to Deborah’s full credit, I also ended up returning not one but two Meconopsis x sheldonii ‘Lingholm’ – the elusive deep blue flowering Himalayan poppy – but unbeknownst to others, I whispered to myself, ‘there will be other visits Barry…. visits when you can pick them up without anyone being the wiser to your perennial dilemma of them [the Meconopsis] being expensive annuals in your garden!
I vividly remember one of Larry’s clients, who was smitten with the genus Epimedium to the point of obsession. It was she, a frail but determined woman who dressed in black and walked in a very dignified manner with a cane who first opened my eyes to this magical genus!
Did I mention that we had the nursery to ourselves? It was quite chilly, briskly fresh air with the clear blue sky filled with sunshine. How refreshing to be able to meander from hoop house to hoop house, free to gasp with delight when we spotted something that stopped us in our tracks!
A delightful two toned Anemone ‘Wisley’s Pink’ caught my eye, as did these two unidentified Azalea species both of which instantly made me think of Grace!
All in all it was a wonderful trip, everything I could have asked for and more….. and why is that you ask?
The chance of a photo-op with the man responsible for this sanctuary of woodland heaven on Earth, is as much a rarity as many of the wonderful plants that he lovingly and expertly cultivates so that obsessed gardeners like myself are able to bask in their beatific splendor! I was humbled that he agreed to a photo op, secretly tickled pink that he would take time during the most hectic time of year to humour me! Thank you Larry for this and the other most unexpected generosity that you afforded me!
So…. wanna’ see the other ‘booty?’ The stash that we accumulated inside of two hours! Feast you eyes on this:
I admit to being ‘concerned’ when Deborah disembarked from a rather compact rental [Nissan Vespa] but kept my concern well hidden, or at least I hope I managed to do so! I knew in advance of being set free in the nursery that I’d personally amassed twelve plants of my own, and wasn’t sure if Deborah’s list would be similar in size! Interesting when I look at this photo now. Can you tell which plants belong to Deborah, and which are mine? Here is a better view of each:
For those who recognize the Epimedium or the beguiling Arisaema candidissimum, or the luscious pleated foliage of Veratrum nigrum, it isn’t hard to deduce that this must be my booty!
Here is a detailed list of my acquisitions. Megan, if you are reading this, well lets hope you’re not otherwise I will be in for the browbeating of my life when we next meet. Sometimes we just have to suck it up!
Aconitum incisofidum, Arisaema candidissimum, Cardamine enneaphylla, Cardamine quinquefolia Disporum brachystemon, Epimedium ‘Tama no Genpei,’ Epimedium ‘Hagoromo,’ Glaucidium palmatum, Hepatica transsilvanica ‘Buis,’ Lathyrus vernus ‘Rogenbogen,’ Polygonatum stenanthum, Syneilesis palmata and a luscious Veratrum nigrum!
Deborah, thank you, thank you, thank you not only for following my weblog which allowed us the opportunity to open a dialogue affording me a wonderful friendship that pleasantly culminated in our meeting this morning, but also for sharing with me a day that will resonate with glowing remembrance for years to come. Its a rare occurrence when two like-minded horticulturally obsessed gardeners have an opportunity like this thrust upon them. Until we meet again…..