Saturday, May 10, 2008

Plantaholica incurablis

Today I succumbed to one of the seven deadly sins. I'm afraid that I was guilty of gluttony this afternoon... specifically, plant gluttony.

It was the weekend of the Dyck Arboretum's spring native plant sale, and Prairiewolf and I went up to check it out this morning. My primary object was a Kentucky coffeetree, listed on their on-line inventory. They are very hard to find, and for some reason I find them irresistible - maybe their "milk dud" seeds or their huge, doubly compound leaves. That was my main objective for going...or so I told myself and Prairiewolf.

On the way there, I read through the inventory listed in their recent newsletter to see if there was anything else I wanted to look for. Frustratingly, Kentucky coffeetree was not listed there, but I noticed enough other plants I hadn't seen on-line to occupy me from Clearwater to Hesston.

Once at the sale, I quickly quit worrying about what was on which inventory list and just enjoyed rooting through the available plants. (Yeah, I'm sorry, that pun was intentional.)

"Okay. Two spice bushes. (Maybe with neutral to slightly alkaline soil, I'll get them to actually survive, even thrive, here. Unlike in Mobile.)"

"Hmmm. Oooh. Wow, those native gingers look great! I wasn't sure I wanted any, but I've got to try at least 3 of those beauties. Six, if I try a few on the north side of the house."

"Liverleaf. I didn't recognize that name on the inventory, but those little plants are sure cute. It's Hepatica americana, so it 'must' be native somewhere on this continent. I know it's a stretch, but...those are just so cute. I've got to try those. I'll take 3, so that I can trial them in a couple different places in the courtyard."

"Clematis fremontii. Fremont's Clematis. I wasn't going to get one of those since they are native to north central Kansas and northward...but I just saw several growing and blooming in front of the Visitors' Center and they are spectacular. If they do so well here, there's a reasonable chance I can grow them at home. I've got to try at least one of them."

And so it went. One box of perennials. Two boxes of perennials. Three boxes of perennials. Four boxes of perennials. Five and one half boxes of perennials. And a half box of herbs.

Hanky Panky hosta, Eco Happy Traveller prairie phlox, War Axe penstemon, Screaming Yellow wild indigo (my "Barbie" plant!), pink shooting star, mayapple, Lavendar Towers Culver's root... I don't think that I need to go on. You get the picture.

Barbie gave me a little sign for my new garden when I left Mobile. It says "Plantaholica incurablis." It took me a little over a year to begin to live up to it, but after today, I'd say I'm well on my way.

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