It’s that time of year again - a season when beautiful flowers light up the eyes of previously thrifty shoppers and the pocketbook takes a beating as new cultivars and colours are plunked into place.
A wonderful assortment of garden art and statues made by Ivan Higgins can be found at his nursery in Liverpool: Cosby’s Garden Centre. Carla Allen photo
As always, my response to the query, “where is the best place to buy plants?” is: “All over”.
Last weekend I had the chance to put this philosophy into play on the South Shore, visiting a nursery I’d always wanted to see along with two old favorites.
The Village Nursery in Pleasantville can be reached by driving eight kilometres along the “river road”, the Main Street of Bridgewater, towards LaHave.
Starting with one small backyard greenhouse in 1978, this business has grown to eight greenhouses and a Dazee Dome, as well as a shop that could nearly house the original greenhouse.
I browsed to my heart’s content here, delighted to find some unusual herbs like Lemon Verbena and several different types of basil. They also had a Mother’s Day sale on seed geraniums for $1 each so I packed a tray full for my windowboxes.
Back towards Bridgewater I couldn’t pass by Pine View Farm - a large operation that I used to depend on for plugs when I was in the growing business. Here they had a selection of trailers on sale for stuffing planters, and some unusual vines. Cardinal vine, also known as the hummingbird vine, and a black-eyed susan vine with amazing russet-shaded blooms somehow made it into my car.
The day before, I stopped at Cosby’s Garden Centre in Liverpool. This place is worth a visit if only to take in owner Ivan Higgin’s fantastical artwork. His collection of cement and hypertufa statues keeps getting better and better. He also stocks unusual plants, including the Monkey Puzzle tree. I’ve overwintered one twice on my property that I picked up from him. This year I left with a ‘Fantastica’ rhodo that has spectacular red-rimmed blooms, abruptly fading to white in the center.
Support your local garden centres and nurseries this spring but don’t feel guilty about spreading your spending dollar around. You never know what gems you’ll find at other places.
From April to October it’s not unusual for me to visit more than a dozen operations searching for particular cultivars or colours and discovering unexpected bargains along the way.