Saturday, 21 April 2007

Buying Plants

On Saturday, April 21, I went to a nearby (well, forty minutes away which is no great distance in Australia) plant fair. There were about 25 different nurseries all selling their wares to a horde of enthusiastic gardeners. My first purchase was a large book on Australian native plants which I will consult at leisure before buying any. I'd very much like to get some kangaroo paws in mustard yellow and earthy red, but I'm not sure they'll survive the mountain frosts. Quite apart from liking their curious flowers, I can't wait to rattle off their wonderful botanical name: Anigozanthos.
In the meantime, my plant lust, tamped down for so many months now, was tempting me to buy, buy, buy. I successfully resisted. Almost. Three little pots of perennials hardly counts: Dianthus 'Mrs. Sinkins', Geranium 'Rosanne', Salvia 'Black and Blue'. All are drought-tolerant as is necessary in this parched country. All will go into my tiny front garden, and I'll put the native plants when I get around to them into the much larger area at the back.
I added three small sempervivums, as a gift for Michael, to start the rock garden he plans to make running down the lane on the west side of our property. The materials are already there including some beautiful red-brown ironstone rock , but the area will first have to be cleared of rampant ivy, crocosmia, osteospermum and bergenia. If it turns out at all like the rock garden he created at Killara Farm, a small part of which appears in the photo, it will be spectacular. What was really nice about the plants I bought for him was that they were all named varieties. In Vancouver, most sempervivums you come across at nurseries are merely labelled "Succulent" or at most "Sempervivum species". The ones I purchased are S. 'Greyola', S. 'More Honey' and S. 'Centennial'. Whose centennial, I wonder?

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