Last night, I helped Romie put together some shelving to use in the back of the mini-van for transporting oodles of plants. Mom had asked if I could drive to Columbus so she could help her fellow Master Gardeners pick up several large orders they'd placed for selling at their yearly plant sale being held at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds tomorrow. They're selling mostly herbs, but there will be some perennials, too.
We all left from the County Extension Office at 8:00 and after about an hour and a half, we arrived at Baker's Village, on the northwest side of Columbus. Mom and I had been there last year for the first time. It's a nice garden center and just like last time, I found a couple of things I couldn't live without. I purchased an ornamental strawberry, which I'd been looking for, as well as a healthy Lewisia. My two at home had made it through the winter, but barely, and one of those looks like it's on its last gasping breath.
From there, we traveled a little further north to A Proper Garden. What a fun place! The plants, trees, and shrubs were tempting, but the whole place was a big collection of eye candy. The first thing that caught my eye and had me
drooling purring was the metal kitty bench. I need a bench for Max's Garden. We've got several cats. Why, it was as if the bench were made just for me!
No price was on the tag, but I've seen enough similar things to know that it was one of those things that "if you have to ask, you can't afford it." But that bench will live on for a very long time in my memory. Fabulous. Just fabulous.
There were bronze sculptures, home decorator items, garden tools, beautiful pottery, and gifts for gardeners. I found a deep purple Streptocarpus that I couldn't live without, as well as a Wolff orchid pot.
I could have spent much more time here, because there's just so much to see, but we still had to eat lunch and get to Millcreek Gardens to pick up the plants for tomorrow's sale. A Proper Garden will be on our list of stops the next time we travel to Columbus, though.
After lunch at Damon's, we drove a short distance to Millcreek Gardens, a wholesale nursery. Over the last several years, I've purchased plants from garden centers that were supplied by Millcreek. It was fun to see where some of my plant babies were born.
The first thing I noticed as we pulled into the parking lot were the rows of greenhouses and then the rows of young plants growing outside. Nothing fancy here, just the basic needs being provided for plants.
The orders were gone over, plant by plant, to make sure each plant was correct and accounted for. Some were not available at the time of the order, so substitutions were made with a similar item. The plants were of very nice size and quality and any that were smaller than their usual standard were pointed out and refusal to accept them was permitted.
We got the van loaded and the shelving system that Romie had rigged up worked beautifully, until about an hour later, when a car three cars ahead of us on US33 decided to stop suddenly for a left-hand turn. The cars behind him slammed on their brakes and I had to do the same. A loud noise and lots of potting soil in our laps later, we knew we had a huge problem.
We pulled off the road into a drive and assessed the damage. Coupled with the weight of all the plants and the quick stop, the pressed particle boards couldn't handle the stress and they broke on the corners where the legs were screwed in. That meant general collapse of the tiers of shelves, with the plants sandwiched in between. Oh dear.
Altha and Paula, two of the other Master Gardeners who had also made the trip down, saw us unloading plants as they drove by and stopped to help. We got everything out and rebuilt the shelving as best we could, although instead of having three levels, we now had two. Still, we were able to fit all the plants in and we were once again on our way.
In all that mess, can you believe that only ONE plant was ruined? A single Oriental lily 'Stargazer' had both flower stalks broken off, but it's a bulb and while it won't bloom this year, next year it will be business as usual. I wish I'd taken a picture of the mess, because it really did look like one of those car accidents that people walk away from and you wonder how.
We had to drive slower the rest of the way home, but we finally made it and got the plants unloaded and sorted. I got home around 7:00 and did a little planting before showering and relaxing for the night. All in all, it was a very good day, plant disasters aside.