We took a day trip to Ithaca yesterday and returned with a Jeep full of plant loot.
It was the kind of excursion where one person (moi) ends up straddling a shamrock dwarf inkberry the entire 2.5 hour drive home in the backseat. Kind of like every IKEA trip I’ve ever been on, but leafier.
Wait, let’s back this thing up for a second: Once upon a time (4 years ago), the parents of my first college roommate/still close friend bought an established nursery in Spencer, NY, a rural town just outside of Ithaca, NY. Plantasia Nursery had been in existance for 14 years at that time (this season marked it’s 18th year, whoop-whoop). They’re known in the area for phenom potted plant varieties, and have over the years provided for landscapers and other wholesalers, including local education centers like Cornell University – you’ve probably heard of it.
New owners (and first-time business owners), Kevin and Anne McKenna have emerged as horticulturist rock stars in their new field over the last four years, and along with their team of PLN-certified landscaping pros, have maintained a stunning, and expanding nursery.
I can’t say that I’ve met a nursery I didn’t like, but this one takes the cake.
Anchored in the rolling hillside of Finger Lakes region, the changing leaves are pretty spectacular this time of year too.
Because I know the family, more than once I’ve been shuttled via golf cart to tour the property and learn about plants. But this time, back with a budget and serious plan to purchase, I was amped to pick and choose what I wanted for my own yard. Since, as you saw on Monday, I now have lots of garden space to populate.
It didn’t hurt that Plantasia’s fall sale was in full swing (and is, through the end of the season, so stop by if you’re local). The discount associated wasn’t planned, which is probably why we felt A-OK jamming the Jeep full of new, luxurious foliage. At a total cost of just over $200 not including three Burning Bush plants for Pete’s parents home, we stayed below our loose budget of $300 too. Saaa-weet. Would have bought more, just couldn’t squeeze it in safely.
No big surprise, I snapped lots of pictures to remember some of the plants I liked best as we browsed the property (for three hours, no joke, and really, it was like every IKEA trip I’ve been on). You can see more detail on each of these pictures in the captions when you click to enlarge or hover your cursor over the image.
The variety was just remarkable. This, coming from someone who has spent an obscene amount of time in the Home Depot gardening department this season, local nurseries have umpteen million more species to choose from. Seeing it all in person made us appreciate all landscaping and established shrubbery on the drive home (“Hey, I hope our dogwood grows that tall!”).
When it came time to narrowing down the final pieces for our own yard, I snapped some iPhone photos for quick reference:
One Cardinal Dogwood Bush, please.
And how about three Mountain Laurel plants too? For good measure. Because they’re so bright and leafy. (Side note: Good shot of my birthday ring here.)
No surprise, I’ll be getting dirty again now that the plants are home. And again, three still-green Burning Bush plants shown along the left of the photo aren’t actually mine and will be delivered to Pete’s parent’s this week. Kind of makes me want to go find some Burning Bush for myself though. So leafy.
Let’s hope for good weather this weekend so that I can get these babies grounded. More to come on where they’ll be going, including rationale as to why, and probably some notes that I learned about plant breeding. Because not all plants are asexual.
(I totally need to go back to BIO101.)