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.

January 29, 2014

January 24, 2014


     This winter's about to kill me, but I'm not longing for spring. I've moved on to summer.


Lang Farm Road (2)

Two on the Beach

July Meadow (4)

Jobe's Island (6)

Heirloom Tomatoes (4)

Marlin Mania


Behind the Store

Red Lincoln

January 15, 2014

Bloom Day - Winter Sun

     After last week's low temperatures, I did not think there would be anything to show for this month's Bloom Day. We got down to 14, which I know is nothing compared to other places, and besides, temps that low should actually be expected once in a while in zone 8. Though I don't think it killed any plants, I won't know for sure until spring. I do hope it killed a few fleas, some mites and maybe some scale. I walked the garden this weekend not thinking I would see any blooms, but was surprised that the quince was blooming and my Edgeworthia was starting to show color, though I will show these some other day. What caught my eye instead was the activity going on around my Mahonia x 'Winter Sun', where half a dozen honeybees were gathering scarce winter pollen. It is always a surprise for me see honeybees here in the city, but it is especially so in January. It gave me hope.

     If you would like to see what might be giving other gardeners hope, visit Carol at May Dreams Garden who hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the fifteenth of each month, even January.

January 5, 2014

Old Habits

      Even though I have not worked retail for nearly a year and a half (and glad of it), I still like to visit garden centers. I have also not entirely made the the transition to Joe customer from someone who is comparing prices, making notes of display ideas to "borrow", looking at labels for sources, gauging customer/employee interaction or wondering about gross profit margins. This summer on the way back from Longwood I stopped at Terrain in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. I have read about this place in trade magazines and have seen some posts from other bloggers, so I knew not to expect anything ordinary. From the front entrance to the cashier's counter, every square foot of this place is über designed with a careful eye. Given that Terrain stores are one part of the Urban Outfitters empire, this attention to style should not be a surprise.

     Pulling in, this was the view from my parking spot. The tall red plant (giving me the finger or saying the customer was #1) was probably some type of Amaranthus (possibly 'Tower Red') and I think the blue plant was Agastache (possibly 'Blue Fortune').
Front Entrance - Amaranth and Agastache

     Still in the parking lot there was a living, or green wall on display. This one had some unusual choices in it, including some species of sumac. It was the first of many unusually displayed plants at Terrain.
Living Walls (1)

Living Walls (3)

Hanging Display

Display Shelf

     As you entered the outdoor area there was a display of Echinacea. I thought it was great marketing to have a handy chart right by all the plants showing the different cultivars, as it seems there are 2 or 3 new coneflowers coming out every week, and it is hard to keep them all straight.  
Echinacea Display (2)

Echinacea Display (1)

     I coveted this log planter...
Log Planter

    ... and this table planter.
Table with Succulent Planter

     In need of a private dinning spot for you and a select group of your friends? There were several spaces at Terrain that could be rented, and their café is a destination in itself, unfortunately I had already eaten.
Barn (1)

Barn (2)

Water Tank

     Inside, there were many very nice things for sale, most of which I was able live without. However, I did gravitate towards a display of martini shakers made from Mason jars (for the classy redneck in me), but when I saw the $48 price tag I backed away quickly so as not to break one.

     Medinilla magnifica is one of the lucky plants to have its own web site and had a place of honor near the cash register.
Medinilla magnifica (1)

Medinilla magnifica (2)

     Even the area where bags of soils and mulches were kept was classed up by some well done hanging planters.
Hanging Planters

     Looking down from the planters above, I nearly had apoplexy when I saw they were charging $18 for a bale of pine straw. Previously, I thought $8 was criminal, especially when there are people in my neighborhood who are kind enough to put in on the street for me in clear plastic bags. Perhaps it was some sort of rare artisanal pine straw, sustainably harvested and sold at fair trade prices.
The Price of Pine Straw

     I am not sure what I think of Terrain. It is certainly a beautiful place to wander, and I was awed by much of what I saw, and though it is true that plants are sold, to call Terrain a garden center would be somewhat misleading. It appears to be more of a lifestyle center where the restaurant and event rentals bring in as much money, if not more, than traditional garden related items. I would definitively recommend a stop, but personally, when I shop for plants I prefer a garden center run by people with Felcos strapped to their waists and worn, muddy boots on their feet.