Carolee and I had a discussion about whether it was truly 'Samurai' or possibly 'Gilt Edge' (which was also available). We decided it was 'Gilt Edge' by the time Marsha and I left, but after coming home and reading up on and comparing photos of each variety, I'm now thinking that its tag was correct after all. Both have nearly identical blooms and foliage, so it can be hard to distinguish between the two. When I planted it, the roots were circling the pot in their effort to spread out. They've now got plenty of room for that and I hope they do!
My good friend Marsha and I were supposed to teach a class on geocaching for a local Women in the Outdoors event scheduled for October 3rd. We taught it last year and had fun both introducing this activity to several women as well as partaking of other classes held that day. I got to ride a zip line for the first time in my life!
Unfortunately, the whole event was canceled due to lack of enough women registering, which really surprised both Marsha and me. Last year was well attended, so we wondered why this year had experienced such a lack of response. In any case, Marsha and I had planned to finalize our preparations for the class on Thursday, but now had the day free for other things.
I'd wanted to visit Carolee's Herb Farm just outside of Hartford City, Indiana, back in the spring when Susan Wittig Albert was there for a day of book signing. Not only did I want to see the herb farm, but looked forward to meeting Susan, a fellow garden blogger and author of the China Bayles series of books. Other family events prevented that visit, so Marsha and I decided to go yesterday.
It's late in the season, so when we arrived at Carolee's, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Carolee greeted us right away and apologized for the gardens, but I assured her that as a gardener, I totally understood as my own gardens were on the down side of the season.
Marsha and I spent quite a bit of time in the large gift shop, where the delightful scent of lavender accompanied us as we looked at the varied items Carolee offers for purchase in several rooms. We both chose lovely embroidered linen refillable sachets and scoops of lavender for in them. There were other matching linen accessories that tempted me, if I only had a room where they'd be appropriate. They were the nicest of their type that I'd ever seen and very reasonably priced.
After we'd checked out all the lovely gift items, Marsha and I walked through the gardens, where we spotted many unusual plants. Centaurea cineraria 'Colchester White' was a real eye catcher with its whitish-gray foliage, but Carolee informed us that it's not hardy for us (only in zones 7-11). It greatly resembles Artemisia ludoviciana, that Dusty Miller that's so common, yet it has something about its appearance that makes it different.
Another silvery plant whose foliage caught my attention was one commonly known as Horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum 'Extra'). It's not a true poppy, but its yellow bloom resembles an Icelandic Poppy in the spring. This one is hardy in zones 4-11, so I took one up to the counter for purchase.
Our final stop in our meanderings through the various gardens was the lavender field. It stretched out a long way, with more kinds of lavender growing than I knew even existed. Only a few varieties were blooming, but I can imagine how beautiful the field must be when in full bloom. A photo of that can be found on Carolee's website here.
Marsha and I then looked through the many plants for sale and I found a nice Toad Lily (Tricyrtis formosana 'Samurai'). Though I've already got four different kinds of Toad Lilies in the Trellis Garden, I have a soft spot for them, so I picked this one up for purchase. I especially like the white edging to the leaves and the deep plum color on the blooms.
Several species of butterflies could be found flitting about, which isn't surprising, given the wide variety of plants growing here, many of them expressly for the butterflies' pleasure. While we were perusing the large assortment of plants for sale in the perennial area, I saw a Buckeye for the first time in my life. Unfortunately, it flew away before I could get a photo of it. A Painted Lady sat still for a little bit though.
As I was to speak to the Evergreen Garden Club in Van Wert that evening (about garden blogging!), we needed to start home. Carolee began ringing up my purchases and surprised me by not charging me for the Horned Poppy because she "wanted me to try it." It was a nice gesture and much appreciated. Thanks again, Carolee!
We had a delightful visit to the farm and with Carolee. She was quite personable and several times during our visit, we engaged in lengthy conversations about gardening and blogging. She'd just returned from the GWA (Garden Writers Association) Symposium in Raleigh, NC, and we discovered we knew some of the same people. She told how Carol of May Dreams Gardens tried to convert her to a user of technology (you GO, Carol!), which Carolee admits is not her strong point. But it doesn't take long before you realize that plants are.
If you're ever in the Hartford City area - it's not far off Interstate 69 - you should take the time to see Carolee's Herb Farm. It's unique and you'll enjoy your time there. We did!