It takes place most years in an old but recently refurbished airplane hangar at Magnuson Park in Seattle, and the vendors fill the hangar. I arrived at about 10 a.m. (the sale opened at 9), and planned to first simply photograph whatever caught my eye, but quickly succumbed to the desire to shop.
|Can you hear it? The siren call of plants waiting to be adopted|
|Hard to tell from this photo, but that hangar goes back a loooooong way|
|Almost all the vendors at the sale have excellent signage, like these from MsK Nursery (associated with the Kruckeberg Botanical Garden)|
|Veratrum viridis (False Hellebore)|
|White Primula japonica|
|Maianthemum stellata (starry false Solomon's seal)|
|Acer shirasawanum 'Moonrise'|
|Red Russian kale|
|Forget eating it -- that color makes it a fabulous ornamental!|
|More Rodgersia peeking out from under one of the tables|
|Eucomis 'Dark Star,' I wish I'd bought one|
|Schefflera gracilis -- so dainty|
|Maianthemum sp. at the Far Reaches table|
|And there's one of the owners of Far Reaches, the ever-popular and fun to eavesdrop on Kelly Dodson (on the right)|
|A flat of Echium pininana seedlings|
|Protea cynaroides (King Protea)|
|There's always Agaves if you look hard enough|
|Euphorbia griffithii 'Dixter' (kicking myself now for not getting one -- or two -- or all of them)|
So, what did I buy?
|In front, l-r: Maianthemum stellata, white Primula japonica, Echium pininana; in back, l-r: Tomato 'Cherokee Purple,' Maianthemum sp., Veratrum californicum, Cypripedium formosanum (my first lady's slipper), Euonymus hamiltoniana ssp. sieboldianus|
I've been on a bit of a Maianthemum collecting kick lately. I bought two M. fusca at Hortlandia, and went to the Florabundance sale in search of Maianthemum racemosum (our native false Solomon's seal). I didn't find it but I found the starry false Solomon's seal, and the one from Far Reaches, about which the website says:
"Guatemalan False Solomon Seal. A collection from Guatemala at 8000'-9000' on Volcan Azul by Josh McCullough where he found this growing both epiphytically on Oak trees and terrestrially. Cool New World False Solomon's Seal that is best brought in during the winter unless you are Zone 9. This makes an interesting lignotuber of sorts at the soil surface which is a big swollen storage organ that is often found in epiphytes (tree dwellers) to help them weather periods of dry as well as uncommon cold snaps. Ahh, the adaptations of plants! We haven't flowered it but this has long 10" pedicels according to Josh's notes."
I was surprised to discover this spring that the Veratrum californicum, that I bought last spring and planted in the back garden right before our dry summer began, had survived and come back looking healthier than I expected. So I bought a second one.
According to its description, the Euonymus hamiltoniana has the same orange berries within bright pink calyxes that E. europaeus has, a plant that my friend Peter The Outlaw Gardener grows that I've coveted. It's going in the front bed along the street, where pink and orange (with a touch of blue) are the signature colors.
And, I've long wanted to try growing a Cypripedium. C. formosanum has the reputation of being one of the easiest to grow. It's going into the new shade bed under the pin oak tree that I recently redid and wrote about here.
|Other than its cool flowers, which I probably won't see till next year or even the year after, the Cypripedium has interesting pleated leaves.|
This sale pretty much signals the end of the most intense part of spring plant shopping. I've been making lots of changes to the garden lately, but I'm definitely going to slow down on the plant buying from now on. Some day, hopefully, I'll actually plug the last plant in my pot ghetto into the ground.
Then I'll celebrate!