A day of garden centers and gentle thunder

They are two of my favorite things: Shopping for plants at two of my favorite garden centers with a friend, and listening to gentle thunder roll in from the southwest.  I don’t want violent storms, mind you.  Michigan does get tornadoes, and fierce straight-line winds.  But a gentle thunder storm is soothing. Today was a day of both shopping and thunder.

For many years on Memorial Day a good friend and I go to a garden center near Allendale–Motman’s.  It’s family owned and most of the plants they sell are started in their greenhouses. Years before I started teaching at the university, my friend and I would drive a little over an hour to visit Motman’s–home of beautiful hanging baskets.  And though we could have picked up flats of annuals at any old local garden center, getting them from Motman’s seemed to make them more exotic.  The tradition continued today.  A couple years ago we added Countryside Greenhouses to our “must shop” excursion.  So, I bought a flat of impatiens to plant in various shady spots, a few red petunias to fill in a couple of spots in the front, some cannas, a datura, four cannas,  some poppies, and a basket of purple petunias.    See the day’s haul here.

My friend picked up several baskets of ferns to hang on her front porch, a couple flats of annuals, and a datura–at my suggestion.  Love those moonflowers.  For some reason the seeds from my datura didn’t germinate this spring, but the roots of one plant seems to have survived and are sending up green leaves.  So, for $1.50 I got another one to fill in a spot in the Secret Garden.

Rain, however, has kept me from planting anything.  But I took this picture of a Lucy Vitols hosta that sits right outside my back door.  A friend divided one of his and gave this to me.

Lucy Vitols hosta

I love the texture of this hosta.

The Golden Celebration David Austin rose bloomed yesterday.  My non-hansa roses really struggled last year.  Black spot is a rel problem, but I also suspect they needed more nutrition than my gravely soil can give.  So, I fed them.  We’ll see if that’s enough.    But it’s nice to see these big blooms.

David Austin Golden Celebration

Still, this bloom doesn’t seem to be as “tight” as it should be.  For the first couple of years these blooms were almost like a ballerina’s tutus.  And there was almost a diamond shaped ruff of petals in the center, so thick I couldn’t see the stamens.  This flower just doesn’t have that look, though it still smells so very sweet.

Yesterday was very steamy and it was hard to work in the garden.  In the evening when the temperature dipped a bit, the bugs came out.  I am a mosquito magnet and finally gave up and went inside.  But not before I took this picture of the from entrance garden.

Entrance garden