It could be worse… hee hee


Yesterday I had a day off. Yesterday I went to a garden centre. I was just going for the craic, some 6-inch terracotta pots, and some coloured plant labels. I didn’t get the latter, had plenty of the former (many thanks to Janet – Plantaliscious – and Karen – Artist’s Garden – for that) and did indeed buy some 6-inch terracotta pots.

Somehow I bought a few other things:


See those pots? They’re mine. Some of that greenery is Karen’s. And – cough – some of it is mine.

Not much, natch:


Well, I had this voucher – £4 off if you spend over £40. It would have been rude not to have used it, wouldn’t it? I wouldn’t want Fron Goch, the best garden centre for miles even if it does mean an hour’s drive, to go out of business, would I?

So what did I get? The first thing I fell for was a Physocarpus, Little Devil. I love the colour of Physocarpus leaves, and this one immediately attracted me because the leaves are small and delicate. A bit unusual – as was the stunning Rudbeckia lacinata ‘Goldquelle’:

oh yes

Sedum ‘Dark Knight’ found its way into my trolley (that’s going to be split with Karen), followed by another Actaea (you can never have enough Actaeas), this time one called ‘Black Negligée’. Where on earth that name came from I have no idea – it’s rather substantial for a plant called black negligée, but I don’t suppose a name like ‘big black elasticated pants’ would have much consumer appeal. Anyway, it will contrast nicely with the much more feathery and negilgée-like Actaea that I’ve already got.

By this stage my trolley was looking rather black – but as I had said when arranging to meet, I would undoubtedly be wearing black myself on the ‘once a Goth, always a Goth’ principle. Extending this to my plant choice was completely unintentional, and more than a little surprising (to me, though possibly not to anybody else). Time for a change, and I turned round and immediately fell in love:


It’s a small pine, Pinus strobus, and will grow to about 60cm in ten years, so it’s heading for a container. But it wasn’t just that, or the fact that it was soooo tactile that appealed: it’s called ‘sea urchin’, and this time the name was apposite; it does look like one (a living one, that is, not the rather sad bleached shells). Silly really; I don’t need a pine, I had no thoughts of a pine, but I couldn’t leave it there. It lives here now.

Of course, there were other things on my route to reaching voucherisation, as it were: a Gillenia trifoliata, which was actually in my plant list, and a Persicaria vaccinifolia

sweet x 2

which was not on my plant list but should have been.

And I bought some tree stakes (always useful; reduced price), and cake and coffee. And on the way home we stopped at a newly revamped small garden centre, just to see what it was like, you understand, and I bought a rather nice Festuca glauca…


which looks just right with the sedum. Must remember that. Hey, it was only £2.99…and let’s just say that I reached my voucher target. Um. Plus.

On balance, I think it’s just as well that garden centres are somewhat scattered in Snowdonia. But it was a great day… and thanks to Janet and Karen for being delightful company. Otherwise known as ‘enablers’. (Mutual enablers all round, really.)


26 Comments Add yours

  1. VP says:

    Mutual ‘eggers on’ more like Kate 😉 That’s a fab haul – I must get around to replacing my Actaea ‘Black negligee’ – I managed to kill it 😦 Our local massive wholesale nursery is having its September public sale in a couple of weeks – Persicaria is also on my list, alongside a few other goodies. The owners thoughtfully place wheelbarrows at the entrance so you can gleefully carry everything off to the car afterwards 🙂

    1. kate says:

      Oh no, how did you murder your Actaea? Mine is still looking happy, though it does want to go in – but it will have to wait a couple of days (boo, hiss) as I’m working. And the thought of your wholesale nursery sale is giving me the habdabs… how could you resist blowing an enormous budget? Or maybe you have that willpower thing. Personally, I think it’s imaginary.

  2. lizard100 says:

    Glad I’m not the only one who goes to the garden centre for a couple of things and gets loads more.

    1. kate says:

      Oh no – but now I have to go back for my coloured plant labels… sigh

      1. lizard100 says:

        You could make some. Plant labels alway disappear in my garden.

        1. kate says:

          I think it’s corvids – I find them scattered about sometimes and have spotted the jackdaws flinging them about. Why, who knows? You’re right, but I’ll have to eat a lot more lollipops… just for the sticks, of course (great markers).

  3. Pauline says:

    What a fantastic selection you came home with! It sounds as if you had a good time, it is so easy to be led astray, but so worth it!

    1. kate says:

      Really worth it – and I’m so looking forward to the planting on Monday (two days’ work to go towards the cost, ho ho, and the rest)…

  4. I understand exactly how that happens; I am no longer allowed to go to the nursery without adult supervision or two family members. I have to leave all credit cards at home and the cash in my pockets has to be counted out by the children who are required to council me on the scourge of addiction. I do so love sitting in a lush garden.

    1. kate says:

      Oh dear, you disappeared into my spam filter (sounds as though your children might have been involved). How handy to have the pocket-cash police available – that would be very good for me…

      (We had adult supervision, though – um, each other. I don’t think that counts.)

  5. croftgarden says:

    A little retail therapy was exactly what you needed and if you are going to be indulgent you know the advertising men keep telling us “you’re worth it”!
    You would think that as I’m a ferry ride and several hours driving away from the nearest garden center that I’d been immune to the temptations of plant buying. You’d be surprised what you can buy in the way of bulbs, seeds and even plants (cheaper by the pallet I’m told)!

    1. kate says:

      PALLETS!!! Oh dear, oh dear!

      Ad men – I agree. Bank manager – meh…

  6. Cathy says:

    Tee hee indeed 😉 – but seeing as you didn’t give us a comparative breakdown am I right in guessing that you had by far and away the largest haul….? But with that voucher…..rude not to, of course!!

    1. kate says:

      Actually, no I didn’t… I’m naming no names here, but you know who you are (made me feel better, anyway). Still trying to work out where some of mine are going; just as well I’m planning a new bed next year. Have to move everything.

      (Or maybe not.)

  7. Anna says:

    Nothing quite like a garden centre/nursery trip with feIlow plant addicts who encourage you to buy 🙂 I speak from recent experience of a visit to the Southport Flower Show where friend and I both came home with longer arms and much slimmer purses. We’re already saving for next year. Hope that you enjoy your new purchases Kate. I’ve got the same actaea and have had similar evil thoughts about the name.

    1. kate says:

      Hee he hee… I’ve experienced something similar at the Crug Farm plant fair, but I missed it this year. I must remember my trick, which is to take a set sum of money and enough of a float to buy tea/cake, no cards, no cheque book. Then going over plant budget means using cake budget, and greed generally wins. Plus cake isn’t that expensive, so if plants do win I can only buy something cheap. Sigh…

  8. wellywoman says:

    Sounds like a great day out. And the plants – well it’s a selfless act to boost the local economy. 😉 ‘Black Negligee’!!! Where do they come up with these names? Maybe it’s the same place where the army come up with the names for exercises. I used to work for NATO and there was an exercise called ‘Ample Support’!!!

    1. kate says:

      Cackling at NATO exercise! hee hee hee… it’s only a matter of time before that’s a plant name, mind…

      It was a fab day – and I’ve even got some of them in already. they’ll probably get moved, but they’re in.

  9. hoehoegrow says:

    Oh good choices, but if there was one called ‘Big elasticated pants’ , I’d buy it in a heartbeat! Love the Rudbeckia which doesn’t look much like a rudbeckia. Best to spend all your money on useful things like plants, instead of wasting it on frivolities like food. That’s my theory anyway …

    1. kate says:

      We need to start a campaign for Big Elasticated Pants, then. I’m sure we wouldn’t be the only ones!

      Yeah, who needs food? And anyway I’m drowning in beans. Again. Must not plant so many next year….

  10. hillwards says:

    A fine haul indeed! I’d like a dark leaved physocarpus here, if I can just work out quite where it would go…Sounds like a fun day was had by all – nothing wrong with a little mutual enabling!!

    1. kate says:

      Indeed… we must do it again…

      The physocarpus is in position, and looks good. Unfortunately the Rudbeckia Goldthingy is also in position but looks dreadful. It’s either sulking or dying, and my bet is on the latter. Rats.

  11. Love the thought of calling a plant “Big Elastic Pants” It was a good day wasn’t it, and I really like the physocarpus that you got, very unusual. I didn’t buy more that you … did I? Did I??? Anyway if I did I was getting some things for other people 😉

    1. kate says:

      Cough, cough. No of course you didn’t buy more than I did. Certainly not.

      1. I’m pretty sure I bought more than both of you, and today we came home via Bluebell Cottage Garden and Nursery. And they had Trollies. And I may have bought a plant called “black stockings” which c!early is going to have to be planted near black negligée… Now I need to get working so that I can break the journey there again in October. Its almost exactly half way home from SIL and bil’s house… But sadly no persicaria with lime green leaves and red flowers…

        1. kate says:

          Hee hee hee hee, can only come to the conclusion that the people who name plants have ‘drink taken’. That is just demented – my big elasticated knickers thing doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all… oh my goodness…

          Not entirely sure who won the maggot-willopwer competition, but I’m fairly certain it was me. Especially as we stopped somewhere else on the way home!

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