Saturday, April 29, 2006

The plant sales are here! The plant sales are here!

As any dedicated area gardener knows, there are two precious spring plant sales in Richmond that no gardener worth their salt would miss. And they usually fall on adjacent weekends. We wait with baited breath all year for these plant sales. And they are so worth it.

Today's sale was the always-fantastic Maymont Herbs Galore. Tons of vendors, many selling the same things (basil after basil after basil). But there's always some treasures to be had.

I do my best to not go crazy at the Maymont sale. Normally, Herbs Galore is the weekend after the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Spring Plant Sale. This year their schedules flip-flopped, for whatever reason and Maymont's was first. Anyway, I normally go hog-wild at the LGBG sale and get at least one, if not two carts full of plants, and then am more restrained the following weekend at Herbs Galore, and settle for just one flat of plants. It was harder to be restrained today, since it was the first sale of the season. But I stuck to my guns and only bought what I could carry. It was tough walking past the hydrangeas, though. All three of mine have died a horrible death due to last summer's drought. Heartbreaking, really. I may get their replacements at LGBG next weekend. (Actually I'll be going either Thursday or Friday, since I'll be out of town the rest of the weekend).

Lots of fun is to be had at the Maymont sale. They usually have a gourd orchestra up on the stage, which is so goofy you can't help but enjoy them. There's interesting food and drinks, classes to take and places for the kids to play. And lots of vendors selling plants of course, but lots of other stuff, too -- books, candles, soaps, lotions, gift items, jams & jellies, hats, bags, birdhouses, birdfeeders -- you name it. And for the past however-many years I've been going (almost ten now, I think), the weather has been perfect, and today was no exception -- pristine. A pleasure to be out among all those plants and trees on the lovely grounds of that beautiful estate.

I really need to go to Maymont more often than for the annual plant sale. They have wonderful wildlife & nature centers with some way-cool animals. Until recently Maymont was home to a couple of black bears -- you may have heard about that scandal. Supposedly a new bear cub could be on its way there as soon as next week -- here's hoping.

But, I digress. Where was I? Oh, yes - the plant sale. Without further ado, here's today's haul:

Counter-clockwise, front to back:

(1) two Morning Glory 'Heavenly Blue' vines

(2) three Lemon Verbena ( world's most mouth-wateringly-lemony herb)

(3) one Purple Hyacinth Bean vine

(4) one Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)

(5) two Russian Sage (Perovskia)

(6) one very tall Salvia guaranitica 'Costa Rica Blue'

(7) one Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

(8) one Stevia (supposedly nature's sugar substitute)

There's a predominance of sages in that list, I know. I have a soft spot for them. There's a funny little guy who comes to Herbs Galore every year and that's all he sells -- every kind of sage you can imagine. His prices are kinda high, but he's a one-man operation and I picture him working out of his basement, so I always buy at least one thing from him. This year it was the Costa Rica Blue sage.

There's also quite a few things in that list that I could have acquired more cheaply if I had the time and space to grow them from seed. I learned early on that I don't have the space for that, and since I travel fairly regularly, I don't have the time for it either, unfortunately. So, like everyone else, I gladly pay a premium for plants that someone else propagates by seed or cutting.

Here's hoping I'll have time to post again after next week's LGBG haul. No promises though....