Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Rare For You, Not For Me

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you'd hear a fellow plant lover remark that a plant is so rare and elusive to him, and yet you actually know where to find it,  not just from one place but several??

Podophyllum delavayi A Sunny Day at Hardy Exotics
For anyone who has followed our blog for quite some time would have noticed by now that we do love plant shopping and visiting nurseries. In fact we thrive on this activity as much as developing our own garden! Well one can surmise that part of developing ones garden is going out there looking for new plants. And this activity is even more appealing if you love plants, love collecting them, and find the prospect of seeing new plants very exciting...just like we do!

Prostanthera monticola Higher at Lower Kenneggy Nurseries
There are loads of plant lovers out there who behave almost exactly like us (with a little variance here and there of course) and happily share their plant buying adventures and haul to others on a regular basis (just look on our blog roll!). And through them we discover more plants to look out for and beef up our wish list even more. Vice versa, I'm sure we do the same to others.

Encephalartos lehmannii - Palm Crazy at The Palm Centre
Not all of our plant shopping trips and nursery visits result in purchases, even if the intention was to purchase but seeing a place in person still results in a mental impression that we can refer to from time to time. Not everything happens of the moment, at a later time we may think of buying a plant and then we remember where we've seen or possibly seen them before which results in visiting that nursery again. And we do the same to others who ask us for help in sourcing plants, if we have an idea where to get them we tell them even if we don't have that particular plant ourselves.

Liriodendron tulipifera 'Aureomarginatum' - Pass the Duchy
And because we have and continue to visit so many plant nurseries on a regular basis we are more aware of the stocking levels and what type of plants each nursery we visited have. Of which of the nurseries stock particular groups of plants better than the others, and more importantly what they actually have and what's likely still to come in that's not (or not yet) listed on their catalogue/website. Then there are the rarities too that are in small quantities and unlikely to ever make it to their catalogue/website but will happily be sold if spotted in person at the nursery. 

Meconopsis paniculata Grab Your Raincoat and Head for the Beeches!
Just recently we heard someone say that a particular plant is so rare and elusive that he's given up hope after looking for it for years. We said not to give up hope as we can name at least six nurseries who sell it!

Yucca aloifolia A Trip to Todds Botanics
Or someone (not a plant newbie) get so excited at spotting a plant in our garden and asking us where in the world we bought it from and how did we manage to get hold of it, only to tell them we bought it from a nearby garden centre.

Or someone declare that a plant is so rare that only a select few have it and that it's impossible to get it anywhere else. That is until you visit a nursery or two that we know of that sell it, often they have multiple quantities of it too!

Or even if we haven't visited a nursery in person how come we know that place stocks such a 'rare' plant? Google it baby!

Aeonium 'Sunburst' - Pining for Plants
Moments like that make us appreciate our activities even more and I personally feel privileged that the two of us thoroughly enjoy nursery hopping so the boundaries of nursery visits is almost limitless. If one of us did not enjoy plant shopping trips as much as the other then that would have been a serious limitation.

Sharing our nursery visit is something we both enjoy too. It helps others be aware and track down certain plants and our own way of helping the nursery industry as well.

Cannomois grandis - Technicolour Trewidden
Of the sort of moments I've mentioned above, the most unforgettable one was when a gentleman in Cornwall once told us excitedly on how he has managed to track down a very rare plant after years of searching, in a nursery in Essex (think opposite ends of the country). And that he has asked a friend who lives there to pick one up for him and that his friend will personally deliver it to him which will entail an eight hour drive (the nursery didn't do mail order then). He has paid for it and everything has been arranged...

I didn't have the heart to tell him that a nursery only a mile from where he lives sells that plant.

Chamaedorea radicalis - A Stopover at The Palm House
If you like plants and gardening, take the time to visit as many nurseries and even plant fairs as much as you possibly can. It's amazing what's out there. And there are so many rare and unusual plants that are not that rare at all (but unusual still). Sometimes all you need to do is visit then look...

Mark :-)

28 comments:

  1. Ah, but we don't need to visit ourselves, we have you two to do the legwork, and then we fall in love with something on your blog and ask you where to go for it and lo, you help us spend our money, and make a lot of nursery owners very happy too! It is a noble thing you do... Certainly you are responsible for a fair few plants on my wishlist and I know exactly where to go for advice on where to get a good specimen!!

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    1. Thanks Janet, glad to hear :) all too happy to share our plant exploits as there are so many fab nurseries out with fab plants and it's nice to get the word out.

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  2. Your post made me smile - the word 'rare' is used too readily sometimes along with others like 'new' and 'exclusive'. You are certainly so fortunate that you both enjoy nursery visiting :)

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    1. Thanks Anna, we feel lucky on that respect :) And agree with you with the word rare, used far too often than necessary...

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  3. One of the great things about blogging is plugging in to a whole community of people just like you two: intrepid, observant and generous to a fault. I don't know how many times I have expressed interest in a plant on my blog and someone (or several someones) pipes up with a nursery that carries it.

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    1. Thank for the kind words Ricki :) we both enjoy sharing our exploits to the plant community, to fellow bloggers and readers. And sometimes we get feedback too from others about a plant and from where else you can get them. The interaction that results can be very fruitful.

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  4. Plant shopping is fun and it does help to know the general stock of local nurseries. I enjoy watching you shop and your shopping adventures have given me a greater appreciation for our native plants which are not easy to find at local nurseries. Perhaps because they are all on offer at Todd's Botanicals....

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    1. Thanks Shirley! It must give you a smile whenever you see us talking about a plant that is endemic there and yet so exotic here. Todd's Botanics do stock a lot of your 'native' plants :)

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  5. You make me wonder if there's a market in the location and home delivery of "elusive" plants (outside of mail order channels of course). What a fun job that would be!

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    1. Now that sounds like a good business idea Kris!

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  6. Moments like the one you describe are a lot of fun. Just today at a big flower and garden show, a speaker was calling a plant rare, saying that it was just now becoming available in nurseries, and that it was the hot new plant discovery. Many in the blogger community have grown it for years and featured it as a favorite plant. Oh well, we all make plant discoveries in our own time and not everyone is as addicted as we who enjoy visiting nearby and far flung nurseries on a regular basis. Happy shopping!

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    1. That made me laugh Peter! The word 'rare' is used far too often than necessary. And you're right as well, everyone makes their plant discovery at their own time and fortunately the plant community is generally very helpful in that respect.

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  7. I'm with you on visiting nurseries to shop or just to look. We love finding a new one or new (to us) plants. My first date with John was lunch at the local botanic gardens, the second was at a nursery with a coffee shop.... My son said "OMG Mum, can he cook too?"

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    1. That's funny Missy! Glad to hear both you and John enjoy visiting nurseries. It's such a fun activity for plant lovers and even better if both enjoy the activity.

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  8. What a fun post and of course I echo your, ricki's and Peter's sentiments. I love it when I get an email from a reader asking about a plant and I can tell them exact where to find it. Or I'm introduced to a new plant through a blogger friend who also includes a couple of sources. It's a wonderful exciting world when you keep you eyes and ears open!

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    1. Absolutely Loree, and we expected already that you can totally relate :) We actually find your plant nursery exploits very inspiring and often find ourselves scrutinising some of your photos and spotting any new and unusual plants on the background (as well as the one you highlighted). The plant blogging community is fab!

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  9. Thank goodness for the plant evangelists! Or I guess, more accurately, the plant PIs. Can you help me find a Cannomois when you come out for the Fling?

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    1. Thanks Laura and we'll try our best :))

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  10. Any recommendations for finding Yucca aloifolia of a size similar to that picture? No longer seem to be available at Todd's (at least not on the website).

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    1. Give them a ring James. Those Yucca aloifolias from memory were never listed on their website and they do have a lot of other goodies too. They're also open to visitors by appointment and are very helpful. They may still have some of those tall Yuccas so well worth calling them :)

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  11. Lucky that both of you enjoy such nursery hopping. I love doing that but my other half doesn't have that much interest. So, my hopping is most of the time through online :-).

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    1. Online plant shopping and hoping is a satisfying activity too :)

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  12. I'm sure it's happened to me a time or two--i.e. me looking for a "rare" plant and claiming it was unavailable in our area when a nearby nursery had it in stock.

    Conversely, I have been able to connect gardeners with plants they were looking for. And I agree, it's a very gratifying feeling.

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    1. It is Gerhard, to be able to help fellow plant lovers :)

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  13. You guys are very dedicated to your nursery hopping. It pays off for you that you end up with beautiful plants to fill your gardens with, besides the fact that it's fun to check them out.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. It's fun to check out new nurseries and discover new plants Cher!

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  14. I enjoyed reading this post! It's amazing what we can find in nurseries these days! I always think about plantsmen who discover rare plants and bring them to our countries.

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    1. Indeed Tatyana, it's amazing what's actually out there and available already :)

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