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Country Gardens on the outskirts of Oconomowoc opened today. Since the weather was more reasonable, I went to check things out. Their plants are behind a bit because of the weather, but gardeners who know what they're looking for and have a good idea of what the mature plants look like will find some great perennials at good prices. Plus it's a nice drive out in the country!
The next bit is probably only of interest to hostaholics, so feel free to skip it. ;)
I have been looking for a fairly new hosta called 'Lakeside Paisley Print.' I've only seen it available by mail order so far, retailing for around $25 or better. Normally I try to wait out the newest varieties to see if they're reputed to be good growers, but photos of this one as a mature plant called to me. I was thinking of shelling out the cash for a mail order plant when I notice that Country Gardens had it in their catalog--a nice surprise! And it was also going for only $15.99. Not a bad price, all things considered. So I saddled up the ol' Toyota Sienna and headed out there today.
When I got there, a staff person asked if I was looking for anything in particular. I told her I wanted 'Lakeside Paisley Print.' She said they had them, but they were plugs and hadn't even been potted up yet. I said that didn't matter; I would gladly pot it up myself. She showed me a nice flat of plants, all well-rooted and single-eye, and said she'd check with her boss as to whether it was okay to sell one to me. I would've paid full price, but she came back and offered me a plant at 30% off. I paid about $11.50...and I'm a happy hosta lover!
Here's a photo of my plant after I potted it. Doesn't look much like the mature plant should, but I'm willing to wait. I would've had to anyhow. :)
While I was there, I also picked up Hosta 'Clovelly,' a nice plant with rippled leaves. None of the hostas that they had were unfurled yet, but I know what this plant looks like, so I bought it. Look at all those eyes!
Indeed! You could stop at Ebert's and, if you were feeling ambitious, drive another hour down to The Flower Factory. The Flower Factory is the perennial gardener's Mecca, and Country Gardens doesn't come close to it in size, but she does have some very nice plants and the prices are decent. :)