7 Jan 2015

Cedar Spring Nursery: Three Years In

A friend was talking plants with me the other day and she asked how long I've been at Cedar Spring Nursery - adding that it would be my third year, would it not, this coming Spring? How time flies! Especially when you're having fun!

And it has been fun! And work! But more fun makes work seem inconsequential. I owe it all to the awesome people that I work for, and more importantly with. It's a family business: Jon and Sasha Jeffries, their two daughters Keagan and Logan, their extended family which includes Jon's Mother Bonnie, who I have been friends with long before I started working for her Son. That reality was like the gardening coup de e'tat. My co workers, especially Kathy, Dario and Danielle are part of this wonderful extended family. 

And who can forget my 'green' famiy: all of the plants [many of them personal favourites] that have all come to reside in a number of new display gardens that we have built over the past two seasons. It is hard to convey the thrill of being surrounded by like minded, plant oriented people. Its easy to sell plants, but when you look at them, and treat them as you would another person.... that is when you know you're in the best company possible!

For those who have visited over the past two seasons, the newest display garden [located along the side fence of the property] has grown exponentially as our resident plant geeks discovered more and more rare and unusual [and in most cases zonally challenged] plant material. I remember seeing the excitement in Jon's eyes on one particular visit to one of our trusted suppliers when he spotted a  large potted specimen of Cycas revoluta! [King Sago Palm] For a moment I was fearful that I would be relegated to the trailer in order to make room for it. Of course, the look on Sasha's face when we arrived home...... I guess I failed to mention that my tenure would come with a few quirky habits. I will forever be on a mission to bring any and everyone over the to amazing world of perennials, trees and shrubs! [Not that I do not have an appreciation of the world of annuals, but, you know!]

While I share the perennial department with Sasha [really, I try to 'share' it, I really do!] there is nothing more pleasurable than to be able to fill it with what I consider to be the penultimate selections of new and exciting perennial plant material. I will forever be enamoured of the new 'Itoh' hybrid Paeonia. Just look at that flower! Sasha planted a stunning double yellow variety 'Bartzella' in the front garden, and for me there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the excitement on her face each season as it puts forth more and more flowers. I think there were ten blooms this past season. That in itself is why I garden. To witness first hand the thrill that a simple garden plant can bring to someone's life....... it truly is priceless! Her quirky/zany sense of humour is also one of my daily pleasures! 

Our season starts while there is still snow on the ground. That first day of smelling the grow medium is for me like getting the first whiff on turkey on Thanksgiving! It literally makes my mouth water and my heart race. And then the planting begins. Our pansy seedlings are the first to be potted up.

This past season I was thrilled to be able to pot up a number of my all time favourite perennials, including a stunning Japanese Arisaema, and a lovely pink flowering Monkshood. 

I will forever consider Arisaema to be a personal favourite! It was the very first perennial I learned to identify during childhood walks with my Grandparents in what we referred to as the 'Darkling Wood!' This is a spectacular specimen, Arisaema griffithii, which, if over wintered inside in a pot in a cool, dark location, will return year after year to bring unlimited joy to those who enjoy the rare and unusual!

The sumptuous beauty of Albizia julibrissen 'Summer Chocolate' added a tropical feeling to one of our outdoor ponds. I had purchased it in September of 2013, a frail looking stick, and had tended to it all winter long in the hopes that it would reward me this past Summer. And boy did he ever! One of the most commented on plants to date!

The photos below show the size and variety of plant material that now resides in the 'Jurassic' garden. Most plants from this garden have to be brought in over the winter months due to their challenging zone restriction. They get more attention over the winter than I do! 

Jon's Cycas revoluta remains the most talked about, most caressed [but it isn't real is it? It looks and feels like it is plastic!] plant in the Jurassic Garden! Oddly, the most requested plant is a small variegated Hosta - 'Hi Ho Silver' - which seems to have all but disappeared from hort commerce. We have people begging for us to dig one up for them.

Our display borders encircle the nursery - and we are blessed with both sunny and somewhat shadier dispositions, allowing for us to display a stellar display of the plant materials that we offer. Of course some of us tend to gravitate towards the shadier aspects of gardening..... but we will not mention any names!

Our best selling Hydrangea has the somewhat musical inspired name of 'Twist 'n Shout!' A stunning reblooming lacecap, it offers gardeners a change up from the ubiquitous ball or cone shaped flowers that have flooded the market in recent years!

We have our own miniature Arboretum of sorts, with a stunning selection of rare and unusual trees and shrubs including two personal favourites: Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum' [Full Moon Maple] seen above, and Sciadopitys verticillata which is the very unusual Japanese Umbrella Pine. It too looks artificial and has a very rubbery texture. 

A few photos of 'high summer' here at Cedar Spring Nursery. This is the time of year when there is a veritable rainbow of colour wherever the eye lands! The annual houses are awash with bright colours, and even the perennial benches are looking their best! 

It is, at the end of the day, my home away from home. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to share and grow my knowledge in such a fun, supportive atmosphere. It makes working feel like spending a day with family - of which everyone whom I work with has become to me. Thank you to each and every person who makes my days memorable and pleasurable in ways that I do not know if you can even imagine. I extend this to the awesome clients I have the pleasure of coming in contact with every season - be it monthly, weekly, or as I have come to enjoy most, those who I see on almost a daily basis. You know who you are!

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