Last Sunday was most wonderful. The day sparkled in September sunlight with comfortable temperatures and a promise of fun to come. I was scheduled to attend the plant sale at Hollister House in Washington. CT. Following a gap of almost two years, the anticipatory thrill felt new and yet, oh, so familiar!
This was no ordinary plant sale. You were not going to find the most trendy or popular plants. Small growers in the Northeast who specialize in the less common, the special, some rare and others just less known. Many native plants. Most importantly to me, for the most part, they’re grown in the open so they are proven to be hardy in this region. I had missed these plant sales and chatting with the growers themselves. Nothing like firsthand knowledge. For those who’re familiar with these purchasing opportunities know exactly how wonderful they are. So friendly, helpful and modest about their valuable work.
I went with no list or plan about buying anything. Honestly, I simply needed to be in the midst of such an event once again. However, knowing myself and certain that I’d come upon irresistible plants, I went armed with cash, checkbook and credit card. Sensible shoes too. I was not disappointed.
Note: not all vendors accept credit cards.
The sheer joy of being in a spectacular garden, seeing familiar faces and confronting the myriad plant possibilities made me giddy. Having a glass of wine in hand elevated the experience to sublime.
Chat and purchase I did. I bought some must-haves and some cannot-live-withouts. Heaven!
To get really serious for a moment, it is of the highest importance to champion our regional growers. Locally grown plants do better. Supporting these nurseries also means supporting the economy of where we live. Often, they grow plants that could be at risk of being lost or forgotten but are valuable to the preservation of native fauna and flora. I purchased two yellow Slipper orchids – they are hard to source so I was very pleased to find them here.
Many growers also offer interesting, special non-native treasures. Bear in mind, as long as about 70% of the plants in your garden are native/eco-beneficial, it is perfectly fine to have some non-native, non-invasive treasures. Case in point, I bought a new-to-me peony – P. obovata Japanese Pink. Take a look at their bright seedpods in the image below.
Simply put, these folk are vital to how and why we create gardens. Support them – they’re heroes. Look for similar plant sales or visit them directly. You will not regret it.
A word about Hollister House. It is a most wonderful garden that appeals to all the senses. The painterly color combinations, textures, fragrance, shapes, sounds of water and pollinators and, designs of the many rooms cannot fail to delight and instruct. My daughter who grew up being taken ( dragged she says) to many, many famous, fabulous, unique and also not so well-known gardens, declares Hollister House as the best garden she’s ever visited. Do check out their website and plan a visit.
Now, I must get into the garden to install my cache of new plants.
Some nurseries to check out:
McCueGardens – 47, Hartford Avenue, Weathersfield, CT 06109
Broken Arrow Nursery – www.brokenarrownursery.com
Cricket Hill Garden – www.crickethillgarden.com
Falls Village Flower Farm – www.fallsvillageflowerfarm.com
Note: Some images of the gardens at Hollister House and plant growers –
(c) 2021 Shobha Vanchiswar
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