Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Sunday Adventure in Which I Met a Blogging Buddy and Bought Some Plants

About a year and a half ago, when I first started blogging, I went searching for other blogs, and one of the first ones I found (actually, maybe the very first) was Catherine's A Gardener in Progress. I was delighted to find a blog written by another gardener who lived in my area of the country. I read a lot of other great blogs, from all over the country, not to mention some absolutely delightful ones from other parts of the world. But I appreciated Catherine's because she was facing the same weather and climate challenges that I was, and she was growing lots of plants and shrubs unknown to me (Oh, lovely Sweetbox!). I was in a new environment that I had never gardened in before, and I knew it would help to be able to connect with other gardeners in this area. In addition, I found other blogs to follow, and even more gardeners to connect with, through the network of commenters who left their thoughts in the Comments section of A Gardener in Progress.

So, when Catherine sent me a message through FaceBook, asking if I wanted to meet her at the Northwest Perennial Alliance's March Mania plant sale on Sunday, I jumped at the chance.

Gardening (and writing about my garden) is such a solitary pursuit, I find. Yes, in the garden there are lots of plants that need tending, and bugs and birds and other critters to interact with. But nothing beats another human. Truthfully, I'm really a rather shy person, who often prefers the company of plants to people. Days go by where I interact with no one other than my husband (Oh, OK, the cashier at the grocery store can usually drag a few words out of me). He's a great companion, the love of my life (oh, how dramatic that sounds). But sometimes talking gardens and plants with someone else who shares this great obsession is a wonderful tonic!

Meeting Catherine was a perfect start to Spring!
Primula moupiensis (bought at the Plant Sale)

After an initial missed cell phone call, we found each other, and I was so happy to discover that Catherine is a sweet, friendly young woman, with two great, and remarkably well-behaved and patient, kids. The Littlest Gardener was shy (Oh, how I know how she feels!), and SweetPea was sick, but unlike many teens, not the least bit sullen or whiny about being dragged to a plant sale (and I'm afraid I embarrassed her by remarking on how hoarse her voice was -- Sorry, SweetPea).

Cyclamen hederifolium (been looking for a good specimen of this!)

We talked about all kinds of things, while we walked around looking at the plants at the sale (By the way, excellent plant sale!) Hmm....what did we talk about? Our common tendency to plant one of this and one of that, what a great perennial Epimedium is, that her husband is a good cook, what a marvelous garden Grace has, and what a good eye she has for garden ornaments, that there was an interesting collection of unusual primroses at the sale, how I ended up in the Pacific Northwest. I was a strange combination of both tired and wired (after a no-so-good night's sleep, and stoked to be talking to someone about gardening!), so my mind jumped all over. My husband said later that he was getting a contact high off my energy.

After Catherine left, I wandered around the plant sale and bought lots of wonderful plants (there was lots to choose from). I know Catherine and all my other readers are curious to see what plants I bought, so here are some pictures of a few of them (there are others above).

Primula elatior

I think Catherine might have bought this one, too. It looks like a dainty little cowslip (Primula veris).

Anemone nemorosa 'Stammer Berg'

I didn't realize till I brought it home, that the underside of the leaves are purplish.

The tag says this is a great shade ground cover. Introduced by Heronswood and also a Great Plant Pick, it's in the same genus as shotweed (a scary thought!). At the talk I attended last week by Dan Hinkley, he recommended it, so I'm giving it a shot (sorry).
Cardamine trifolia

You can see by the following picture -- my weakness for big leaves strikes again! They're small now, but they will get big and luscious and shiny. This plant's common name is Chinese mayapple.
Podophyllum pleianthum (not the variegated one)

I also bought three pink-flowered Dodecatheon hendersonii, and one pot each of Uncinia uncinata, and Epimedium 'Pink Elf.' There are no pictures of mine, but if you want to see the cute little flowers, go to Catherine's blog, she bought one too.

I was tempted to buy this Fatshedera lizei 'variegata,' a hybrid of Fatsia and Hedera for sun or part shade. But although the tag says it is hardy, there was no actual zone information on the tag. It was hard to pass up, but I did.
Such big, interesting variegated leaves!

Of course, later in the day I remembered all the things I had wanted to ask Catherine and never did. I'm pretty sure she plans to attend the Garden Blogger's Fling this summer here in Seattle, so I'll get a chance then. I'm looking forward to attending that, but also feeling a little trepidation over the undoubtedly overwhelming number of new people I'll meet. I'll have to come out of my shell, and wash the dirt out from under my fingernails, and (gasp!) actually speak to people.

By summer I'm sure I will have psyched myself up for the challenge.


  1. How wonderful to hear about your adventures! I think your blog was the first local one I found and I couldn't have been more excited! You and Catherine know so much more than I can even comprehend. It is fun to learn about plants that may not be "showy" with flowers or smells, but still have merit(foliage,color change, winter interest-I am learning!!)

  2. so glad you got to meet a fellow local blogger - I dont think I ever will - the closest blogging friend I have made is five hours away.....

  3. Alison it was so nice to meet you. I felt like we could've chatted for a long time, my mind was jumping from one topic to another too because like you said it's not often you get to talk to someone who also loves gardening that much. Sweet Pea wasn't embarrassed,so don't worry about that. I have to say I loved your husband's accent when he said, "mind the backs of your legs" when a car was backing out.
    You found so many great plants. I don't think I saw the Mayapples or I would've bought ONE :) You were good though and bought more than one of some of the plants you chose.
    I do plan to go to the fling and I'm sure we'll all have dirty fingernails.

  4. Sounds like a great day, full of garden buzz, and garden finds!

  5. What a great story. It sounds like such a fun day! I love the primrose! I also loved the Anemone. Are they easy to grow? Oh I shouldn't have read this blog. I think I need to go to Jolly Lane again. Have fun planting!

  6. Alison how exciting to meet a blogger you talk to all the time. A face to a name, so wonderful. I would love that. Go to the Garden Bloggers Fling, imagine all the fun. I love all your additions for the garden. Take care, Jen.

  7. What a great time you must have had - I hope you go to the Garden Bloggers Fling and have just as much fun all over again.
    The Lavender spray is from the Saltspring Island Lavender company, but I've bought it from other places, and there is a good one through Bath and Body Works. I love it for sleepy time!

  8. It is so cute that you two met! You've both been an inspiration to me! I hope you go to the Garden Bloggers Fling..I'm thinking of going too! Both you and Catherine are going to inspire me to quit using only common names for plants and learn their Latin names. I'll be waiting to see how your new finds grow in your garden! Cheers, Jenni

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  10. Alison how exciting that you and Catherine got to meet at a plant sale. Isn't she just the greatest and sweetest person? I loved meeting her and she has now mentioned we meet again in the next month. Oh boy something to get excited about. Hey maybe you can join us and make it a threesome? Looks like you got some great plants. Can't wait to see them planted and growing!

  11. Hi Alison!

    Deleted my earlier comment, as I felt it was too wordy for this 'forum' ;)

    Hope you're having fun getting all your new plant babies into the ground! I'm looking forward to photo updates as they develop!

  12. Hi and thanks for stopping by my garden blog today.
    I met a garden blog friend this past week and it was so much fun to compare notes and have a tour.
    That cyclamen has some of the most beautiful leaves I've ever seen.
    Happy Spring!
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

  13. What a fun time that sound like! I seem to prefer being around plants or my computer over being with real people sometimes. I am with people all day at work, though, so maybe that has something to do with it. The cool thing about blogging is, you can visit with others on your own terms. You can listen (read their blogs) when you want, talk (write a post or comment) when you want, and when you are ready, you can leave. You don't have to wait for others to leave so you can do something else.

    Oh, and I tend to be a plant collector, too. I will stick a single plant in a spot if I like it.


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.