When my blog buddy Melanthia of Garden Muse asked via a comment last night if I was going to the University of Washington Arboretum plant sale today, at first I blew it off. Plant sales in February? I haven’t done anything to prepare any ground yet, nor have I got a clue about the ways I hope to solve some really persistent issues in my garden. Eh, I thought, there will be others, no hurry.
Then, late this morning, I got curious and looked at the Arboretum Foundation’s web site. I almost shrieked when I saw what the sale was for – to get rid of all the amazing plants showcased in “Entry to Cascadia,” my #1 favorite show garden from the recent NW Flower & Garden Show! Ack!
The sale was supposed to last from 10am to 2pm, and I only figured out at 12:30 that I wanted to go. Since we were doing a little tag-team parenting today and it was about to be my shift, I grabbed some leftover pizza and hustled my daughter into the car, along with her trusty Radio Flyer red wagon (used more more frequently by me at plant sales than by her for riding in these days).
When we got there at around 1pm, a single tired and rather frazzled leftover volunteer announced that the sale was over, there was nothing left. Boo! Then she recanted and said that there might be a few things still out there, but that the person collecting the money had gone home so I wouldn’t be able to buy anything today. Double boo! I guess the early bird got the plants, in this case. Oh, if only I’d paid more attention! I might have had to throw some elbows, but it would have been worth it to come home with even one of my favorites from this garden, Thuja plicata ‘Whipcord’
or an ‘Icicle’ white Ribes sanguineum. Dang. Wonder if they were selling those amazing cobra lilies? If Melanthia got some, I’m going to be seriously jealous (and impressed).
As it was, pretty much all that was left were a couple of spindly ceanothus, one giant Ribes sanguineum sans pot (a good deal though at $30, I almost bit, but was told it was forced and will eventually turn pink – I had my heart set on the white ones)
a whole lotta kinnikinnik
and various mahonia, of which I bought two (Mahonia aquifolium) and then regretted it about an hour later when I came home and called my mom, and she told me that they are terrible root spreaders and that I’d regret it forever if I put them in my garden. Oops – they were supposed to be part of my pathetically belated effort to get a little more winter interest into my parking strip garden.
Here’s what I need to do right now – get out my calendar, do some majorly exhaustive web searches, and figure out which sales I am not going to miss for the rest of the year. I haven’t yet found a central listing spot for every Seattle-area sale. It seems like each organization just has their own calendar, then the newspapers occasionally do a round-up of the more major ones. But I want to know about, if not actually attend, them all, so that I don’t miss out on any more chances at snagging my new must-have plants. Hm, another project for the ever-lengthening list.
Oh well, we had fun in the Arboretum anyway, and I got to explain the concept of a “fool’s errand” to my daughter (making sure she knew the fool in question was not her, but me!). We saw our first Rhododendron blooms of the season
some winter beds that still looked interesting, plus I liked the pavers edging it
a little elf-beard of lichen
and this really really shiny variegated holly (? I think)
How about you? Do you organize your plant shopping like a society wedding, or just tend to just go when the urge to plant something hits you?