“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Plant Trip

Gardeners usually start with inspiration from other gardeners, and then consider the sun and ground conditions they end up with, wherever they are. My first inspirations were my parents and their vegetable and herb gardens, with a few temperamental fruit trees included. Recently, I went from 17 years of a shade garden, to the last six years in mostly full sun, and a slightly warmer climate. Its been a bit of a shift in growing habits.

My best friend from high school, Terry, has created this wonderful cottage garden in her back yard. She and I started with cuttings and divisions from my mothers herbs and flowers. Then we bought more, shared with more friends and planted more than a few seeds. We've passed new divisions and seedlings back and forth when one of our gardens failed a crop, or we grew a new addition.
This is a gorgeous Fountain Butterfly Bush that I struggled to get a root cutting off with some shoots. The roots close to the main plant were as thick as my wrist (the only thin part of my body I will say!). I do hope it makes it. We have both accumulated new plants along the way and through the years. Mostly perennials and herbs. Somewhere I read something that perennial gardeners learn eventually. Perennial doesn't mean perpetual. That's why its great to have gardening friends to share with.

But we always need to find new plants, just like quilters need to find new fabric for their stash. Don't need it. Just have to have it.

Ken's Gardens in Smoketown and Intercourse, PA is where I have stopped for at least 25 - 30 years of gardening. They have everything from veggie plants to fruit trees and are very orderly, so that you can find what you are looking for. The herbs are all alphabetized and segregated by annuals and perennials.
The flowers are ordered the same, and then shade and dryness, and the length of their blooms.
I know a lot of places do this, but Ken's seems to do this so well, and they are "tradition" at this point for me. My friends have led me to some places like Roots Country Market in Manheim, and the Flower Wagon in Lititz, where I have found great buys and variety in plants, but old habits die hard.

Whatever it is about Lancaster, it has kept me coming back year after year. I think the plants and quilts and the farmland where I grew up is a big pull, but its the time to see friends and refresh in a place I still consider my hometown.

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