After sending the boy to work on the bus, I set out this Friday on my trip across country to Cotswold Garden Flowers. The weather was bright and sunny, but the first obstacle was a closed bridge which entailed a long detour.
I loved walking perfectly alone through the numerous poly tunnels looking at the pots of growing plants. Even the outside beds in their winter garb were interesting. There was a friendly cat who kept jumping up and wanting attention, and several lovely plump chickens finding a corner to use as a dust bath.
Finally I found Mandy and we had a great chat about some of the plants. She had placed some gorgeous snowdrops that she had found, quite new and unique in her garden. I tried to buy them, but they were definitely not for sale at this time, so good luck to her and I hope they bulk up soon.
I had chosen to go to Cotswold Garden Flowers because the RHS plant finder had listed them as my closest supplier of Lachenalia. I had thought of growing these in the conservatory as they are winter flowering, with a full dormancy during the summer. I realise you can buy the bulbs but that the season for that is the Summer and I just could not wait.
I chose a couple of different ones: Lachenali Aloides Quadricolour and Lachenalia Romaud. If I 'fall in love' with these, then I shall see what bulbs I can acquire during the summer.
Then it was the case of a girl in a candy store, well me in a Plant Nursery. I bought a couple of hardy geraniums: Blue Sunrise which has golden foliage, and Rozanne which has been voted plant of the centenary. They are both dormant but I have Mandy's assurances that they are good sturdy plants.
Outside in their display of potted up plants, my eyes caught Mahonia Soft Caress. I love the form and the fact that there are no prickles, with the red stems and soft foliage a great combination, I am really looking forward to the sweet smelling yellow blooms.
I already have and love my clumps of dark purple Ophiopogum, so was delighted to find a green and white variegated form called Little Tabby.
Continuing the theme of winter greens, and also my love of sedges, when I saw a lovely large specimen of 'Carex Oshimensis Everest' growing in a stone urn swaying in the wind, catching the low winter sunshine, a nice specimen just had to come home with me. It is already potted up in a larger pot, and lightning up these dull winter days.
A large oriental poppy Patty's Plum will be in the summer border, and lastly a little beauty to join my aeoniums in the conservatory: meet Cristata Sunburst. What a great name, it also looks fabulous against my deep maroon and plain green aeoniums.
If there were any vestiges of January Blues, they were blown away, and I had a nice Sunday afternoon pottering around the garden, planting and repotting, and dreaming of what beauties will soon start sprouting in the garden.