The long weekend in May, better known in Canada as “Victoria Day Weekend” traditionally marks the date prairie dwellers venture to the greenhouse to select and purchase this year’s annuals and herbs.
Green house operators prepare for this weekend with increased staff and seemingly never ending supplies of bedding out plants. Customers ensure they have their long lists in hand, a full wallet and bank account to support the purchase of their planned and impulse choices.
Late Thursday evening I completed the last art piece for my June solo-exhibition and felt ready for a day with girlfriends getting an early start checking out a couple of greenhouses on Friday. I felt completely firm in my resolution not to succumb to the temptation of color, texture and impulse purchases. Long trips and time away for most of the summer ensured that I would not go overboard and blow my non-existing budget on plants.
I did well in greenhouse #1 and stuck to my resolution! The greenhouse complex is operated by a family and the owner’s enthusiasm and love for plants was apparent as soon as we stepped into the boutique and garden accessories area. We were immediately drawn into the greenhouse space by sweet scents of blooming flowers and the warm air guiding us from the grey, rainy day outside to a feast for the eyes, dry yet perfectly acclimated for the variety of plants offered for sale.
Imagine my disappointment when I realized that I had neglected to pack my point-and-shoot camera. Fortunately my iPhone will do in most situations. While my friends each reached for a tray I pulled out my phone. As they were moving from elevated display table to display table I separated soon and was fully immersed in the textures and colors of the utopian environment. Every once in a while we bumped into each other in the narrow aisles and jointly admired what revealed itself right there and then. Our time was spent wisely – my girlfriends discovered some plants that they had not expected but could not leave behind. Once the sales transactions were completed, I switched off my camera and helped carry out a gorgeous fuchsia hanging basket. At the same time I was pleased to have captured such wonderful images without avoiding large shopping crowds sure to take over the quiet space Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
A second greenhouse in Regina was on the agenda. This temporary greenhouse is attached to a home and garden decor retail space in a strip mall. I have lived in Saskatchewan for nearly five years but this treasure trove of decor accessories had escaped my radar – till now! We spent much time exploring amazing plants from glowing double Begonias to Elephant ear plants with pre-historic sized leaves all arranged artistically over a relatively small footprint.
I lost my focus briefly… when I found a Passionfruit Vine (which I have over-wintered successfully when I lived in Calgary), a Boxwood Basil – the most amazing Bonsai reminiscent herb I have ever seen, and a Stevia plant.
Greenhouse operators love this weekend, hard work and long hours are finally paying off. They also love what sometimes happens the following week (on the prairies), snow and the possibility of the tender annuals and herbs freezing beyond recovery. It ensures a second surge of gardeners descending upon the greenhouse over following weeks ensuring high sales and a healthy bank account…
The weather this year is gorgeous and there is no danger of frost or snow in the forecast. With a mild, early spring the soil is warm and ready to receive annuals that will soon yield sensuous textures and rich colors.
Enjoy your weekend! Soak up the sun, read a good book, get your plants into the garden and invite your friends over for some lemonade!