Showing posts with label plant lust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plant lust. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

'Amistad' isn't Spanish for obsession but it should be

My parents had their yard professionally landscaped a few years back and the designer filled their garden with lavender, as designers do. My parents found out that lavender looks and smells wonderful . . . until the third year when it starts to get woody and misshapen and awful-looking. My mom has been slowly replacing sections with much better plants. My mom is effortlessly good at almost everything and she probably could've designed a better garden right out the gate.

A year ago she and my dad went to the Sunset test gardens and saw Salvia 'Amistad.' It has the black calyxes of Salvia 'Black and Blue' with deep dusky purple flowers instead of hot blue.

My mom ran all over town trying to find it, finally locating it at Orchard Supply Hardware. All I could think at the time was, "I learned it by watching you!" Parents who plant lust have children with plant lust.

My mom planted a huge swath of Amistad right outside her kitchen window and it's GORGEOUS. And it's covered in hummingbirds all day long. Brava, mama.

I sort of forgot about it until Scott posted about the Garden Bloggers' Fling and their visit to the Sunset gardens and Salvia 'Amistad' (picture here). We decided to try our luck at Orchard Supply, which just opened in Oregon, only to immediately file for bankruptcy. This could be our last chance!

I decided to call OSH first, just to make sure they had it. At the Beaverton store the garden associate asked me, "What's a selvia?" After spelling it out he asked, "Is that like Sativa?" They didn't have it and I no longer had any faith in their garden department.

The Tigard store said, "Oh yeah, we have that."
"That specific cultivar?"
"What's the name again?"
"Amistad. A-M-I-S-T-A-D."
We have blue and red. Is it one of those?"

So we skipped OSH and hit up Joy Creek, Means, Cistus, and Garden Fever instead. We didn't find Amistad but we found all sorts of other things to fill my backseat. I think it's fitting that "amistad" is Spanish for friendship. How many friendships have been forged over plant shopping trips?

That night I was at my friend Carrie's house and I looked at a new potted arrangement she had created. The salvia looked an awful lot like Amistad. Plant people are the best because she didn't even blink when I told her that I needed to know what that was RIGHT NOW. She dug out the tag and, sure enough, it was Amistad. She'd gotten it at the Fred Meyer grocery store right next to my house. The one I'm at every week.

Greg immediately chimed in, "You want to leave right now and go to Fred Meyer, don't you?" It was 9:30pm. He knows me so well. At least we know we can blame this one on genes!

Instead I waited like a normal person and went first thing Sunday morning and got one for me and one for Scott.

The stats: Hardy in zones 8-11. The stated size is 3-4' high by 3' wide but my mom's is much taller than that (hers is on a drip, which might help). Full sun or part shade and it's drought-tolerant, though salvias never seem to mind summer water. If you're in desperate need of one let me know and I'll pick one up for you. And thank you, Carrie, for unknowingly finding the Holy Grail.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bad ideas

Do you read Hayefield? I came late to discovering Nan Ondra's site so I've had the pleasure of losing myself for hours in the archives. She's been doing a series on annual events, which have been nothing short of inspiring. Like any normal person, I sometimes become irrationally obsessed with a plant and I need to have it. This has been the case this year with Daphne x transatlantica 'Everblooming Alba', then later with Chionochloa rubra. The other plant that's been sitting in the back of my head is a coreopsis I saw on Nan's site, 'Limerock Ruby.' You can see a photo of it here. It has beautiful wine colored blooms and Nan pairs them with both dark purple foliage and orange(!) blooms.

I called around and couldn't find anyone local who carried it. I searched online and found one single seller, Gorge Top Gardens. I'd never heard of them, which made me a little nervous. I haven't done enough plant buying online to know who's good and who's not. They were on sale for $3.99 so I decided to buy seven of them.

Seven! I have a big yard but I'm not really sure what I was thinking. Actually, I know what I was thinking: flat-fee shipping, might as well reach for the stars. I can do two plantings of three and give one to Scott.

It took a week for the plants to arrive after shipping, and they were smooshed down with newspaper, plopped unceremoniously into a plastic bag. The plants were very unhappy. I was less than impressed.

But coreopsis are tough and they are all perked up again, so I think we're going to be just fine. I've gotten used to ordering from Annie's and they pack their plants so beautifully; I sort of expect that from everyone now. Of course, the delivery guy always ignores the THIS SIDE UP message and parks them on my doorstep in blatant disregard for the arrow. It drives me crazy.

Are there any online nurseries that you absolutely avoid? I've been waiting for-f*cking-ever on a shipment from High Country Gardens and it's making me so impatient. Good thing I've got all this coreopsis to keep me busy.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Oh, happy day!

I took off to California this weekend to celebrate my sweet niece Tabitha's ninth birthday. It was bird themed.

My mom made a cake and cake pops. 

My brother created a jig for his power saw so all the kids at the party could (with help) cut the wood to put together a bird house, which they later painted. He and my dad helped the kids use the nail gun and everything. Don't worry, everything was totally safe.

Photo by Graham Bruce

The only kids who got scared by the nail gun were two little boys. The girls didn't even blink. Just saying.

Photo by Ami Bruce

They also made bird feeders and ate cake pops and at one point every kid in the joint started crying at the same time, they were so amped up on sugar and play. It was hilarious.

As I touched down in Portland I powered on my phone to find a voicemail from Scott saying that he was at Joy Creek Nursery and he had three Chionochloa rubra starts for me.


ALL THE SWEAR WORDS! The good ones!

Scott then got a VERY excited and rambling call from me. I take Xanax to fly and I had a glass of wine on the plane, so my excitement was amplified by the fact that I was fairly hammered. And then Greg got a long and winding soliloquy in the car about the goodness of people. I feel like I need to issue a blanket apology to everyone I interacted with on Sunday.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who searched their favorite nurseries online and in person for me, or who was willing to do it the next time they were there. You made this obsessed little gardener very happy. The garden-blogging community is the best. And brace yourself, Scott. I'm gonna hug you so hard!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Close but no Chionochloa

After trying to steal some red tussock grass (Chionochloa rubra) from Cistus a few weekends back, I've been feverishly trying to locate someone who carries it. I've been annoying every nursery in town and scouring the Internet for online carriers. No one has it.

Last weekend I had to head down to the Bay Area for a work meeting, so I flew in early and my parents and I went to Annie's Annuals.

We were cruising around and enjoying the sunshine when I spotted the biggest, most beautiful red tussock grass in a pot. It was so beautiful that I didn't even take a picture of it. I was too busy plotting to steal it.

I immediately went into super-annoying mode, asking every worker there, "Can I ask you a weird question? Can I take a plug of that grass?" One employee asked me if I'd brought a hand trowel and if I knew that was an option, I would have. I asked another employee, telling him, "I'll pay any amount of money for a tiny plug of that grass!" He was like, "Oh, I'll get it for you," and I went skipping over to my father, smug that being a pain in the ass was totally going to work!

That guy was a liar. Apparently his manager shut the idea down, explaining that the beautiful grass I was eyeing was their mother plant and they'd be using it to make more plants . . . in 2014. She said I could put it on my wishlist and I actually whined out loud to her that I wanted it noooooooowwwww.

The whole point of this is to say, if you see this grass in a nursery will you buy it? I will pay you twice over for the trouble and make you cookies. I was complaining to Greg that I want this grass so badly that I feel like I will perish if I don't get it. Then he was like, "Okay this is actually concerning me. Do you really feel that way?" and I flounced off shouting, "My gardener friends will understand!"

Do you understand? Am I teetering on the brink of insanity? Have you ever wanted a plant so badly you felt like you'd self-combust if you didn't get it?

I mean, come on, that's a beautiful grass.