Last Tuesday I made the trip up to Ithaca, New York to put in my time as a volunteer for the plant sale being held for the annual general meeting of the North American Rock Garden Society (NARGS). It’s an easy two hour drive for me and although you wouldn’t be the first person to question a two hour drive just to work a plant sale, I did it anyway and thought it was an excellent way to splurge on gas money!
Mom: “It sounds nice, and don’t volunteers get all kinds of free things?”
Me: “They gave me a hat”
Mom: “Oh… >pause<… how’s the construction going?”
I arrived an hour early in order to make a quick run-through of the Cornell Botanic Gardens and the Robison Herb Garden. The weather was perfect, the gardens well-tended, and I even learned a few things.
So I learned my garden is a tin version of Paradise and I also learned that I need to grow Good-King-Henry. If one plant can create Paradise, maybe another can post an invite to a household elf named Heinz. Hopefully Heinz can help out with the dishes or something, and not be a mischievous troublemaker since we already have a dog for that.
Maybe I didn’t learn quite as much as I should have from the herb garden, but sometimes people only hear what they want and of course I’m no exception. I did make it to the plant sale though, and I think I was somewhat helpful although for much of the afternoon I just kept running through a list of plants I wanted and then keeping my eye on people who seemed a little too interested in those same plants. I tried to be sociable but mostly bothered the vendors and other volunteers. Some new plant heroes are Ted Hildebrant of Coldwater Pond Nursery (Coldwater might have been the “Oh yeah, I’m there” clincher for luring me to the sale) from where I added three new witch hazels but not a variegated hydrangea paniculata or a variegated horse chestnut or red chestnut or hardy fuschia or… there were many temptations… There was also Karen Perkins of Garden Visions Epimediums who chose two epimediums which will be perfect for me, but hopefully not too perfect that I need more and more varieties…. and then there was Karma Glos of Kingbird Farm who I probably bothered the most. She had porcupine tomato seedlings and that’s all it took. In addition to the porcupine a few other seedlings joined my box and it was fun finding all those weird things which most people aren’t willing to take a risk on growing and selling. Those and a passionflower vine. Apparently I needed to pick one of those up at a rock garden plant sale so I did 😉
Yeah the sale was fun, but I could see myself getting into one of these get-togethers if the chance comes up again. The garden visits and excursions sounded and looked awesome, and the evening presentations sounded great. Attendees looked like ‘my people’ and I regret not talking to more of them. Maybe next time.
Once home again it’s been a week of get the garden in order and do all the planting most people finished by Memorial Day, starting with my lovely little dead sedge. If the last five years have taught me anything it’s that doubling down works and deny deny deny. My sedge is not dead it only looks that way, and now I’m dividing and repotting it so I can make a nice mass display of what I believe is a still-living plant of ‘Red Rooster’ leather leaf sedge. It’s beautiful. It’s a sedge more beautiful than any other and everyone is going to want one and now I have five of them.
Speaking of dead things, one plant which I forgot about on the day my front yard was bulldozed has chosen life rather than the great unknown.
And a surprise flower amongst the amaryllis pots…
There has been a lot of progress this week. The gardener was mostly focused and had nearly all week to get things cleaned up and ready for summer. The driveway can hold a car again and hopefully the cannas and other things appreciate their return to soil and will soon explode into growth. I have high hopes.
All the best for a good Sunday and excellent week!