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.