Hubbard Hall Plant Sale April 26
Is this just a northern gardener’s problem? Where we’re constantly trying to fit a full-sized gardening experience into a half-sized growing season?
Or do those wonderful Texas gardeners, too, wind up stomping on their half-emerged perennials?
Here, stuff is not always identifiably up until early May. But I’m inevitably forced to step into the bed and plant earlier than that. The catalogs always ship things in April, and Hubbard Hall, the amazing Cambridge, NY arts center, always holds its plant sale fundraiser before the hostas have even shown their noses.
The plant sale is a particular problem. First, I’m out there tromping over everything, trying to dig up stuff to contribute. (Pretty clever–you get to shop an hour early and snag the unusual stuff if you contribute plants. Of course, this year I put my tray down for an instant, and when I returned, somebody had swiped the uvularia right off it. Next year, I’m hiring a caddy.)
Then I wind up tromping over more perennials, trying to get the dozen things I’ve bought into the ground. Last night, I turned around and realized I’d decimated a Sarah Bernhardt peony. I’m ambivalent about peonies in general, but not Sarah Bernhardt, who is very tall, very double, and a very interesting silvery pink.
Of course, some gardening books actually tell you not to make perennial beds deeper than three feet, so you can reach in without stepping in. Ridiculous. There’s no such thing as beauty, proportion, or wretched excess without risk.