[gardeners] day off

Margaret Lauterbach (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Tue, 16 Jun 1998 07:34:39 -0600

Well, I took a day off from hoeing, mulching, killing Colorado Potato
Beetles and turning compost, and visited some small country nurseries in
western Idaho yesterday.  My first mistake was not taking a jacket or
raincoat.  Second mistake was not insisting the owner get a shovel and sell
me some of the curly mint that's thriving in her bed.  She keeps bringing
home sheep manure from her parents' farm in Jordan Valley, Oregon, and
working it into that bed.  Her lovage is about ten feet tall and must be at
least three feet in diameter.  Catnip leaves are about two by four inches.
Guess she's improved the soil some.

I also should have bought some of the blue-flowering sweet woodruff she
had.  She's grown it in the sun, though, so it looks more like clevers than
sweet woodruff, tiny whorls of leaves, tall stems.  She took us on a tour
of their place (her husband has a full-time job, and she's busy raising a
5-year-old, trying to take care of her parents 50 miles distant, and get
her herb business started), and took us into the pasture to meet her pet
horses and goats.  The goats weren't very companionable, but the
horses...well, they backed me up against the gate, and I announced I was
leaving.  I admit to being afraid of horses after having been run away
with, bucked off, scraped off, bitten and stepped on by horses over my
lifetime.   How does a quarter horse get to be six years old and unbroken?
None of them have been broken.  Either they need a horse whisperer or an
ear biter.  P-tooey.  The owner does need to wean her grown goats, though.
Poor old doe's udder practically scrapes the ground, and one nozzle is all
that works.  

My friend bought a flat of different herbs, I bought a couple more sweet
basils.  We drove into Caldwell for lunch (where there was a fat guinea hen
pecking dead bugs from a car license plate and waiting for French fries),
then drove a few miles back north and west to another small nursery we've
patronized for years.  Got our  fernleaf Japanese peonies there for a
fraction of usual nursery costs.  I love columbines, and she grows them
larger and lusher than anyone I know.  Bought a yellow/red and a
yellow/yellow one, plus two Pacific Giant delphs in one container (for the
price of one), and a Casablanca delph too.  A lemon daylily with
wonderfully aromatic blossoms, Campanula groundcover with starry blue
blossoms, and a grey artemisia with finely cut leaves (and no variety
name).  My friend bought flats of flowers and herbs, and muttered something
about writing a check.  I told her, in front of the nursery owner, not to
write her a check because she'll launder the money.  She did laugh.  I once
wrote her a check, she tucked it in her pocket, and the check was blank by
the time she removed the laundry from the washing machine.  The next time
we went out there, she told me about it, so I wrote her another check.   

She had some yellow-blooming sedum covered in tiny bees.  She said they
were leaf cutter bees (her husband sells bee boards).  Some farmer had left
his bee boards with them, and the bees were hatching.  She said he might
not have any bees left if he didn't hurry to get his boards.  

Okay, so I didn't get any work done, but it was fun.  My friend had had a
lot of bad news over the weekend, and needed the outing.  Now I've got more
plants to plant, and frankly, it's too cold outside.  This isn't El Nino,
it's Gulf of Alaska.  Temp is 42.  Margaret