Yesterday I dug in 8 plants (I usually average a dozen, but I'm out of plants thank goodness): isanti red twig dogwood, butterfly bush, crepemyrtle, anemone, solomon's seal.... I am glad to be done for a while, plus it was quite hot. I dug before I taught, then came home and dug again after putting dinner in the oven.
But soon I'll have more plants. In a few days I'll visit one of the most unique and large nurseries in the upper midwest, located in a somewhat well-to-do suburb of a large metropolitan area. It is strange that this "nursery" is where it is: you wind your way through subdivisions of larger homes, sure that around the next corner is a soccer field with soccer moms and mini vans and dads fist fighting with refs, but suddenly a natural area appears off to the side. It looks like land that needs some good ole fashioned developin'.
A washed out dirt road winds off the main road, through "wild prairie," snakes into a dense wash of trees (god forbid you meet another car because this is barely a one-lane dirt road). Finally, you arrive at a very large roundabout with enough parking for five cars off to the side. The roundabout is not meant for cars, but for strolling individuals drooling at plants no other nursery carries, and in such vitality and number. The strange thing? Every plant--individually potted by a few folks (how do they do it) in some field behind the thick trees and perhaps behind the dry creek (it's a mystery to me people, where do they grow these things?)--every plant's pot is filled to the brim with weeds blown in and taken seed over the summer. When you get to the "checkout" (a makeshift tent) they yank the weeds out, comment on the wonderful selection you've made, and send you on your merry way.
I imagine I'll buy a few things. A few. I'm pretty much good for next year, see what comes back, see how what grows and when. But this place is such a horticultural jem--fresh, alive, dirty, independent--among the kempt green lawns. It's odd. It's like finding eden among a war zone. Or like that Star Trek episode where the Enterprise visits a dead plant, except for this one tiny green square where some alien has holographically recreated his married life before the planet went dead (and who apparently destroyed the whole planet because of the grief of his dead wife--a powerful guy. See the metaphor? Gardening is POWER). I've said too much.