22 May 2012

Blue Heaven

There are times when my job offers me true once in a lifetime opportunities and this evening offered me what will likely be the pinnacle against which all other magical opportunities are measured.

DSC_0003I received a personal invitation last week from a wonderful friend and loyal client at the garden centre to attend a champagne celebration honoring the unfurling of not one but five pending Meconopsis blooms! Rare is the opportunity to witness one in bloom, not to mention five! The email arrived last evening, requesting my presence at a reception this evening!

DSC_0001I first met Pat and Peter during my tenure at Lost Horizons, where I quickly discovered a familiar obsession for an increasing number of rare and unusual woodland perennials. Their rural property is a plant collector/aficionado’s wildest dream, so the opportunity to return to this sanctuary was exciting on many levels.

DSC_0004I think I may have let slip a couple of involuntary squeals of delight, but it was the fully prostrate pose that I assumed in order to capture these photos that might have confirmed the degree of my obsession and the lengths that I will go to in order to capture just the perfect photo. Even now my hands are still shaking as I gaze upon the sublime beauty of Meconopsis grandis. I am doubly excited as I have decided that I am going to try growing them in a pot this year!

DSC_0009 DSC_0013 So many wonderful plants make up a wonderful recently installed woodland garden that signals visitors to the fact that here resides two keen plant people!

DSC_0014A smashing new Viburnum plicatum cultivar with flowers that resemble snowballs caught my eye!

DSC_0019Calycanthus ‘Hartlege Wine’ with its pepperish spicy fragrance was another that stood out like a beacon! I only wish I had more sunlight and more space!

DSC_0020Is it any wonder that Peter and two other guests found themselves abandoned once Pat and I put heads and minds to discussing her wonderful inventory of plants. I was reminded of how in sync most plantaholics are, one providing the name of a plant that has slipped the other’s mind, if ever so briefly:

‘It looks like Symphytum to me.’

‘No, its the one with the yellow flowers that circle the stem. You know the one I mean!’

‘Oh, the one with yellow and burgundy flowers that look like Salvia blooms…… russliana something or…..’

And simultaneously we shout out PHLOMIS!

DSC_0021DSC_0022Two more personal favourites that I spotted as we scurried through the gardens, aware that host and guests were patiently waiting for us inside. I am sure that they were entertained by the fact that we, two self professed plantaholics were on familiar terra firma….. an amazing collection of amassed rare and unusual perennials!

DSC_0023DSC_0024   And during our impromptu walkabout the only thing I could think was, ‘Sweet Jesus to have a canvas of this size to fill with my favourite woodland plants…. I would be richer than any King in history!’

DSC_0025 I love the fact that gardeners are so humble: when asked about this delightful combination, I was informed that the Athyrium had seeded itself about and this was one of those ‘even if you tried, you could never replicate this!’ combinations.

DSC_0029Silene ‘Rolly’s Favourite’

DSC_0030  DSC_0031The presence of water, represented here with dual waterfalls creates a magical ambiance, hypnotic and soothing at the same time. It offers a wonderful respite from the staggering inventory of plant material – a chance to collect one’s thoughts or to hastily jot down the name of yet another botanical wonder that has caught the roving eye!

DSC_0033  Something told me that the list of plants I’d created for my next visit to Lost Horizons would increase exponentially after this visit, and when Pat introduced me to Polygonatum odoratum ‘Fireworks’ I knew in my heart of hearts that this mesmerizing beauty would battle for supremacy with the three Meconopsis grandis and Corydalis ‘Wildside Blue’ that were on the list! One more Polygonatum, what could it possibly hurt other than the pocketbook?

DSC_0034DSC_0035Podophyllum pleianthum is one of those magical wonders that can only be best appreciated up close and personal, hence the down on all fours approach! When I spotted the brilliant red fruit it was a case of ‘hit the dirt!’

DSC_0036 Forgive the blurriness of the shot. It was a mad dash to get up, dust myself off and head inside to enjoy the bubbly! Thank you so much Pat and Peter for the invitation and the opportunity to capture your divine sanctuary!

DSC_0005Excuse me, but isn’t there someone else you’d like to thank?

Sweet Jesus, how could I have ever forgotten! Monsieur Grandis, I shall forever be in awe of your magnificence. Perhaps you’d be agreeable and provide me with the blue heaven that you have afforded to Pat and Peter?

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