Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Stairway to heaven

Yesterday I drove practically all the way round the M25. Perhaps not quite my idea of great day out but it had to be done. Another early start saw me queueing (or joining a 'Q' as the motorway signs like to call it) on the Dartford Crossing then off down the M20 to visit a nursery near Ashford to pick up some lean and long Sanguisorba tenuifolia 'Pink Elephant'. I saw these last year at Hampton Show: people kept walking past my show garden with these enormous tall plants stuffed into little carrier bags and I just had to find out what they were. I traced the trail back to Madrona Nursery's stand. These plants really do grow tall but exude a favourable see-through disposure. I spoke to Liam at the nursery a couple of weeks back and he said the plants were about 4ft high; yesterday they were 6ft, taller than me, and it was like standing in an airy jungle as I selected the best of the batch. I didn't take a photo of me stuffing them into my car (it's more like a van with a back seat as I have teenage taxi duties when not plant hunting), but it was probably an amusing sight!

Afterward, onto Crocus for the final plant selection there with Mark Straver. I felt like a judge at a beauty parade: 'not tall enough', 'don't like the colour', 'a bit thin, not meaty enough'. Mark and I de-selected then re-selected only the promising hopefuls for the 'big day' and over lunch Mark made a short list of people to call that afternoon for more plants. After all, only the best plants make it onto the Homebase garden.

Arriving on site late afternoon and wow, the stairs are teetering into position at the side of the building! Phew, at least I won't have to climb that ladder again (I hate heights). Sam is happy as ever and he and the other guys are looking quite sun-tanned. I made a few frantic phone calls about my hedge. It's a long story, with many a sleepless night to accompany it. I haven't actually seen my hedge (have rejected one along the way) but have been assured that I will love it, and it will be perfect. Friday is supposed to be the day when it arrives on the nursery. Watch this space!

As I un-coiled my Sanguisorba from out of the car, someone from an opposite stand came up to me: 'What are those plants?'

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