Shop therapy

A trunk full of new babiesThere’s nothing in the world that beats a car trunk full of new plants. Gail and I went off today to try and find a couple of things to fill a couple of holes in the Rose Garden – where three of our new(ish) daphnes bit the dust. – They do that, don’tcha-know. It’s a heart-breaker but we still love them. Dying Daphne x burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie' in the Rose GardenAnyway, we came back with some things that probably won’t be permanent solutions for that bed but that we couldn’t possibly live without – even though, at least in one instance, we didn’t even know such plants existed. But isn’t that all the fun of going plant shopping?

Along with a thing or two that we couldn’t resist for our own gardens at home (what is it with me and aggressive plants? Don’t even ask about the wisteria peeking out from the truck – at least it’s the native one), we noticed a delicate shrub with a tag that read “Wikstroemia (very rare)”. Well, call it rare and we call it ours: We bought the last two. Wikstroemia trichotoma, I just found out, is closely related to Daphne (hmmmm…) and will grow to a 3′ or so mound and blooms from mid to late summer. The blooms are just visible in the photo – on the branch tips. Use your magnifier because they’re the cutest, tiniest things.

Wikstroemia trichotoma (very rare)

Now is such a great time for renewing a diminished interest in the garden with a little shop therapy. Not only are many nurseries and garden centers slashing prices in hopes of reducing stock before winter but heading into the cool, rainy season just happens to be the most perfect time to plant.

Speaking of perfect timing, we came back to the potting shed to find William Cullina‘s latest tome on our desk. In Understanding Perennials – A New Look at an Old Favorite, he goes into the science of herbaceous perennials from roots to stems to leaves to flowers and he answers questions I’ve had like, “why are some leaves fuzzy?” and “why does the pitcher plant have spots?” Not only that but because his chapter called “Cultivation With an Ecological Eye” has the subheadings “They Are My Babies!” and Why Do the Most Expensive Plants Die the Fastest?” I just know from that that he is my kind – our kind – of people. And how happy am I that Bill is coming to Blithewold to speak at our Garden Design Luncheon? – So happy! Save the date (Thursday, November 12th) or better yet, register right now.

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