Have you ever perused the online stores of garden centres far outside of your own regional boundaries? I find it really interesting as, I think garden knowledge can be quite localized and trends, styles, products and ways of doing things can range widely in different regions even if their growing climates are similar. For example, I grew up in Denver, the daughter of a fierce gardener, and so was pretty in tune with the seasons, cold winters, and the drastic change gardens go through every year so New England would not seem so different (more humid yes, but otherwise similar) – but what I have never been able to explain is the New England fascination with mums in the fall. OK, beautiful, but no place else has such an obsession with mums in the fall like New England. Why is that? I have no idea.
Back to my point though, I am always curious about what I will discover about a place by visiting their garden centers. Like this morning Patrick Fitzgerald tweeted about some products at the Johnstown Garden Centre in Ireland and I followed along for a peruse. Happily, I discovered some fun things. I love these seed packets, and think they would be great travel gifts. I have a meadow planted with New England wildflowers, wouldn’t it be fun to plant the Irish one nearby to compare side by side?
Johnstown also has a special area of their website that features rare ‘plant hunter’ plants. I have seen the Blue Poppy (Meconopsis sheldonii) many times before. When I lived in the UK, there seemed to be somewhat of an obsession with the plant. Oddly, that obsession hasn’t quite translated to the US. Maybe it is like most fashion that I noticed living in two countries, things that were hot in London, would generally not become a trend in the US until much later (sometimes years). Maybe that means the blue poppy will take off soon?
Here are a few other interesting plants that I am now obsessed with.
The Handkerchief Tree (Davidia involucrata) is so beautiful. I can’t think of a garden where this wispy dreamy tree wouldn’t be a more interesting substitute for a more regular Dogwood.
The Wollemi Pine has been found in fossil remains dating from the Jurassic period. Forget deer, can you imagine — these trees survived dinosaur munching. The tree was recently discovered in Australia and is now available worldwide in an effort to save this rare specimen (only 100 trees exist in the wild). It’s shape and leaves are beautiful and I think it has proved it’s hardiness.
I am also loving two twists on old favorites. The double decker Echinacea is much more eye catching (a little like Bee Balm) than the original and this evergreen Clematis also blooms in the winter!
Unless otherwise noted, all images from Johnstown Garden Center.
And finally — I saw these excellent little resources on their website. Really, to me they are the clearest most easily read depictions of all that could ail you (or your plants) in the garden. I think they would make any novice feel like they could effectively, and with some authority, go to a pro and describe their plant issue and get the right help.
Anyone know of another great garden center worth cruising on the internet?