An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

May 22, 2008

An Alcoholic Working at the Liquor Store

I am a big fan of the television show, Intervention on A&E. It is yet another reality TV show, which follows the lives of people who have various addictions, how these affect their lives and families, and concludes with family and friends holding a facilitated intervention that usually leads to treatment. One episode featured an addict who happened to work at a liquor store, which was probably not the best job match. I kind of feel like the guy in that episode because I am surrounded by all kinds of plant material when I am at work, not just pots of stuff for sale, but we have about 11 display gardens as well. Hopefully, I manage my addiction well enough that my family doesn't have to hold an intervention.

The following shots were all taken at work in the display gardens and from what we have for sale. We have slowed down some after Mother's Day as is typical for us, so I had time to take a few pictures this week. However, the first shots were taken about a month ago, and it is one of our favorite spring plant combinations. It is Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon' paired with an unknown Siberian Iris. The Spirea is sometimes sold under the name Mellow Yellow.

When I came to work here 12 years ago, this Agave was only 2' tall, it is now every bit of 6' by 6'. The original label has it as Agave parryi, but its size and leaf shape lead me to believe it may be something else. These are not exactly common here, so does anyone know which one it may be?
Verbena bonariensis could be considered a weed, but it does allow you to see what is planted behind and around it. I have heard people refer to it as Verbena on a stick.
Amelanchier has many common names - Serviceberry, Juneberry, Shadbush, Servicetree or Sarvis-tree. Maybe with global warming we will have to call it Mayberry. This is Amelanchier x 'Autumn Brilliance', and the mocking birds and I love to eat the fruit.
Rosa 'The Fairy'
This is a cute little native, Spigelia marlandica.
One of my favorite groups of plants are starting to come into bloom now, the Hydrangeas. I have a tendency to buy too many for work, and I am running out of room at home. I did manage to get one of these for my own self. This is Hydrangea x 'Big Smile' aka 'Sweet Chris'.
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Gentian Dome' aka 'Enziandom'.
We started carrying Hydrangea macrophylla 'Queen of Pearls' last year. We got ours from Monrovia, but I don't know if anyone else offers it. I love the green flowers it has now, but they will turn white with age.
I have this one at home, it is Hydrangea macrophylla 'Sun Goddess' and I love the foliage color, but I sure hope my flowers finally turn blue or purple this year. When they are pink I just want to get my Felco's out and cut the flowers off.
One added benefit to working around so many potted plants is that their portability makes it easy to try different things together to see how they pair. Sometimes the pairings are accidental, like the Fagus sylvatica 'Riversii' and the Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia'.
This was a deliberate pairing done by Dawn, who does a lot of our displays at work. I have carried the Weigela subsessillis 'Canary' for several seasons and it was not a good seller. Last year I had them stepped up to a larger size and they grew well and flowered spectacularly earlier this spring. By themselves the color gets lost, but when put with this Aromi hybrid Azalea (Rhododendron x 'Spring Sensation'), it looked great, and consequently I have no more to sell.Well I have to go, someone is trying to talk to me about some sort of 12 stairs or steps or something.

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