Gardeners Share the Wealth

I just got an e-mail from Derry Watkins at Special Plants Nursery in Wiltshire with her seed list as of this month — she put me on this list, because we’re going to visit her next May.  As much as I’d love to order some, such as the mousie-cute Cuphea viscossisima (with the annoying common name of “clammy cuphea”) or the gorgeous Tropaeolum speciosum, the scarlet nasturtium vine, which I dearly love, I’ll not bother with the problems of international seed and plant exchange.

            The Royal Horticultural Society sends its seed list out, too, but I think they are big enough to get most of the phyto certificates for you.  At least I think they still send the seed list out — I’m a member, but haven’t noticed any mention of seeds in the latest journal The Garden.

            Selling seeds for such minimal costs is one way gardeners share.  Exchanging plants and cuttings is another way.  This, of course, is done with permission, and not just when you’re walking down the road and see a plant you like.  Visiting a garden and coming home with your pockets full of bits of plants surreptitiously nabbed is NOT a good thing.

            That being said, it always reminds me of dear Mrs. Rosemary Brown at Graigeconna near Bray (just south of Dublin).  She told us great stories as she led us around her garden, which had been planted by her grandfather (and Mrs. Brown as in her 90s when we were there).

            We came up to a large Podocarpus macrophyllus, and as we were admiring it, she turned to us, Podocarpus to her back, and said “You know you should never take a cutting from someone’s garden without permission.”  We sensed a “but …” coming.

            Come to find out Mrs. Brown had nipped a bit of this Podocarpus from the Queen’s garden somewhere (or was it the Queen Mum’s garden?).  Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.


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