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A gardener’s dream shopping spree


Thanks for your patience with the minimal amount of posts last week. When I’m writing at work I’m so engrossed in it that I have a really hard time writing about anything else simultaneously.

So I need to bring you up to date on what was maybe the best shopping trip ever. I’ve mentioned Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery before as one of my favorite go-to mail order nurseries. It turns out that once a year they open up the nursery to garden clubs and groups for tours and, best of all, shopping.

My friend Linda over at Each Little World went a couple years ago and I’ve been envious of that trip ever since, so when the opportunity arose this year I knew I wouldn’t miss it. We had a pretty large group from the local garden club amassed for the trip but it quickly dwindled to just three people after the rest of the group found out it was a two-hour drive each way and the forecast was for a beautiful day to be working in the garden. So in the end, just my mom, my sister-in-law and I went.

Before I go on, I should tell you that you really should read Linda’s post about their trip to Klehm’s because she was smart and had her talented husband Mark take pictures while she shopped. I had every intention to take lots of pictures but I was having way too much fun picking through the hoop houses and forgot to take many pictures.

It was so much fun digging through the hoop houses. We had all brought our list of things we wanted to pick up but as we suspected we would, we also all went off the list a bit too. They had such a nice set-up where they had big boxes in between the hoop houses that you put your plants in after writing your name on the box. Then when you were done they took the boxes up to the main building to check out.

A very nice Klehm’s employee carting some of our boxes to the building.

A gorgeous pagoda dogwood that was in another person’s box. That’s my mom’s hand fondling it. Now we know where my propensity for feeling up plants comes from.

I think we probably spent about two hours looking through everything and could have spent much more but I think we had all blown our budgets by that point.  It was amazing to peek in other people’s boxes to see what treasures they had found.

Klehm’s is known for its peonies and they had several hoop houses full of tree peonies that were absolutely huge. Much larger than the two I have been growing in my garden for the last three years or so. Alas, I wasn’t in the market for a tree peony so they had to stay put.

Klehm’s staff was stationed everywhere so they were always there to answer questions. It was funny to watch my mom ask a very helpful gentleman some questions about hostas. She had no idea she was talking to Roy Klehm, who is a well-known hosta breeder and certainly one of the country’s experts on hostas.

Roy Klehm checking out some of the boxes.

We had to ask another employee (whose name escapes me now which is too bad because she was so sweet) about a shrub we found in one hoop house that none of us were familiar with. Orixa Japonica had beautifully shiny green leaves that smelled like lime when you crushed them. My sister-in-law who has the unfortunate circumstance to be destined to a life of gardening in the shade, had a little plantgasm when the helpful employee (Melissa? Melinda?) told us it grew in shade. All three of us added one to our boxes.

We checked out and piled all our purchases in the back of my car, which was no small feat even though I have a relatively big mini-SUV type thing. As we were making one last bathroom stop before we pulled out, my sister-in-law thanked Roy Klehm in a way I’m pretty sure no one else did: she gave him a cigarette as he eyed hers with a look of envy. As we pulled out, we saw him sneaking around the building to enjoy his treat in peace. It’s OK, Roy, you earned it!

Here are a few of the things I picked up (I also grabbed two really cool geraniums that didn’t make the photo reel):

Chamaecyparis ‘Dainty Doll’ (OK, it’s itty bitty now, but it’s SO cute, I couldn’t resist.)
Acer palmatum ‘Mikawa Yatsubusa’ (Linda also has this Japanese maple so I must have been inspired by her.)

Acer palmatum ‘Mikawa Yatsubusa’


Cornus alternifolium ‘Golden Shadows’ (I love this dogwood … so much that this is my second one.)

Orixa japonica

Close-up of Orixa japonica

Cornus alternifolium ‘Golden Shadows’ (This is my second try on this one. I killed the first one when I tried to transplant it.)

One Response

  1. I have to plant in the shade too, I have plantgasms also when I find a pretty plant that will tolerate it! Thanks for the giggle! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina 🙂

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