I had way too much fun at Central Mass Gardens in Lunenburg this weekend.
This happy-place of a local nursery has lots of dreamy plants, trees and bushes – in such better condition than those at a few nearby box stores I won’t name – but the staff really make ogling blooms here worthwhile. Yesterday, I was helped thoroughly by the very friendly and knowledgeable JP, Deanna and Ann… and left with much good advice and a trunk full of blossoming goodies. (And on the way out, I saw Ben, the manager, who came out to our house last year and identified all our trees for me, and also kindly advised me on what to plant where and how to kill Poison Ivy… more on that later.)
As often happens at this nursery, I went in thinking about a few specific areas that needed some love (or lots of love) and then I started getting all “shiny objects…” thinking about EVERYTHING and EVERY LITTLE SPOT that needs something. Danger!
I did manage to reel myself back, though, to address a few pressing projects: 1) My Happy Bed, which still looks a little bare in spots and unbalanced, with wild lilies spilling over one side and the other side looking overworked and under-lush and 2) the walkway to my front door. Good God, those beds are UGLY. Hadn’t even touched them until this weekend, as I was still…contemplating. Lots of stuff died there last year, giving me pause. Stuff that apparently got too much sun, even though I would have characterized the area as “partial sun” or dappled. It had perplexed and frustrated me, like an unsolved riddle. What wants to live there? The only thing that flourished there last summer was Sedum, which was now back in full glory, despite my recent inattention. God bless it.
So all last week, I watched the sunlight outside my front door carefully, taking nerdy little notes. Thus, I went to the nursery armed with the knowledge that it’s shady in the morning, really sunny around 1 to 2, and then dapply the rest of the day. But the afternoon sun, when it lasers through, burns HOT. (Hot enough to deep-fry Begonias and Coleus, that’s for sure.) I figured the Sedum was my Rosetta Stone. If I could just read it… what lives well with Sedum?
JP helped me find some shade color and also gave me the disturbing suggestion that the beds in front of the house may have been poisoned over the winter by too much shoveled rock salted-snow. (I did NOT want to hear this. La la la la. [Picture me covering my ears.])
Deanna and Ann were most helpful (and really, really fun). Deanna and I were singing by the time I left with too many plants for one pull cart.
— A couple of fiery red-yellow Daylilies, a spiky Red Star and a six-pack of purple “Bravo” cabbage* to lush out my Happy Bed. (It didn’t work, unfortunately, I still see dirt… I need more leafy-bottomed plants with tall blooms. Or maybe some more awesome Bee Balm?)
— Two amazingly cool “Dragon’s Blood” Sedum spurium,** a few Coral Bells Heuchera (that will supposedly tolerate sun or shade), some wee Carita Raspberry Angelonia that are supposed to grow into tall, purple-belled spikes and some purple and green sweet potato vine for ground cover.
— A bunch of white Lobelia and some purple Imaptiens for these fantastical metal Victorian sun porch planters I got at the flea market. (Needed something shade-happy.)
— And finally, a few Variegated Liriope to try in some of my very, boring shady spots that have ZERO color.
Today, I must confess, I continued my splurging at the Rietta Flea Market (where we like to go every sunny Sunday) by picking up a whole mess of pink-speckled Coleus and some more purple Lobelia to brighten up the white planter.
Whew! I am giddy with new plants. And I don’t feel too guilty, as this was my first real haul this summer. I have actually decided if I want to look lush, I simply need to BUY MORE PLANTS MORE OFTEN. Especially when they’re on sale, or a buck a-piece, like at the flea market.
I am cognizant that I am replacing a lot of things I killed last year, which worries me… though I stayed far away from both the Hibiscus and Mandevilla at the nursery. Sigh.
I spent a lot of time in the front yard this weekend, sweating it out under sunny, 80-some-degree skies while the toddler napped. Got quite a few new friends in the ground – even messed around with transplanting a few wild Lilies and Hostas, with limited success – and got a nice blister on my right palm too.
Sometimes, love hurts.
*On the purchase of the wee cabbage… yes, here we go again. I couldn’t resist. They were so cheap and they could grow to be so big and beautiful. Deer, squirrels, flower jackers and evil-doers… get back!
** Sounds like a Harry Potter spell.