I do enjoy a good plant fair, I do enjoy a good plant fair attached to a good garden and when the two come together it is always a joy. Add into this the company of a good friend and there is not much else that could be wanted from a day (other than cake, obviously).
Last year I went to the plant fair at Felley Priory with gardening chum and we wandered around the garden oohing and aaahing at the various plants. One plant that caught our eye was Pulmonaria rubra 'Rachel Vernie'. It has this wonderfully bright fresh green leaves with a narrow margin of cream/white around the edges. The variegation is nicely subtle and it adds to the feeling of light.
The flowers are a good clear red, I would call them scarlet. This is a seriously good looking plant. We stood and admired this plant and both made a note of the name. At this point I confess I did pretty much forget about it. I would have remembered had I been pulmonaria shopping at some point, but it drifted into that cupboard at the back of the brain, under the stairs to the left of the scullery.
Fast forward to a week ago, I get a message 'remember that pulmonaria we both loved at that plant fair? I have found a nursery that sells it, do you want one?' Out from the cupboard runs the memory of the plant and I reply immediately 'Yes please!'. The purchase is made, the plant is delivered and we meet up to make the exchange. I hand over my £5 for the plant (a bargain n'est pas?) and home I go clutching the precious plant.
I planted it into the Spring Border as it has the right conditions for this plant. But this is not a post really about the plant, lovely as it is, it is a post about memory and friendship. In future every time I look at this plant I will remember a happy day at a plant fair and what a good friend I have and I will smile. I have many plants in my garden that are either gifts from friends, bought from friends or came via a recommendation. There is more to a garden than just the plants within it, there are the memories and associations, the plants we grow to remind us of particular people, of happy times and the plants we bought on a particular day.
With special mention to Cynical Gardener.