A long time ago when I was three years old I was playing with Martha Callahan, the girl next door. Like most adult issues, everything usually extends from a childhood experiences that creates a permanent imprint in our mind connected to a physical or emotional response as we get older.

One day, while playing in a mustard field nearby, Martha commented how beautiful the mustard flowers were and how pretty they smelled.

To which I replied, “That flower right there, Martha?”

Just as these words, left Martha’s mouth. “Yes, Scott. That flower”, I picked up a stick and I whacked it and stomped it on the ground. “Gotcha!”, I said, as I went running through the mustard field swinging my stick like a machete at the flowers.

Thus, the start of my issue with flowers. There are two things a flower has against it with me. Number 1, I’m a boy. A girl wants to smell the flower and admire its beauty. A boy wants to pick up and stick and whack it like a baseball teed up. The second, I’m a boy. I would say the boy/girl ratio in the flower business tips to the girls.

So, as karma would have it after years of whacking mustard plants in the field I was rewarded a career as a boy in the flower business. I still don’t like them though. Ssssh! Don’t tell anybody.

I’ve always looked at flowers as a byproduct of a plant, not the main reason to plant it. Flowers come and go and the plant remains. Foliage color and texture are the elements I design with. Not the flower.

I was walking through the nursery with a customer one day. I walked by a plant and I asked, “What do you think of that one?”

The plant I was referring to grows close to the ground, needs very little water, stays green all year round and, just like the tarantula, no real need to touch it.

She said, “That’s wonderful.”

As we concluded our tour selecting plants for an upcoming project, she asked, “What was that plant? It was wonderful.”

“Juniper”, I said. “It’s a juniper.”

With her face scrunched up, her eyes were like a movie screen flashing back to the ’70’s when red lava rock, fruitless Mulberries and junipers and a wagon wheel adornment was landscaping norm.

I showed her a Barberry. She said, “Boring.”

I showed her a Pittosporum. She said, “Boring.”

I was trying to tell her why these boring plants were wonderful and all the things you can do with them. She wanted nothing to do with that.

She said, “I want a garden with unusual, really beautiful plants I don’t have to touch very often.”

The Juniper, the Pittosporum and the Barberry. Boring.

Be careful what you dismiss as a useless, boring plant. At High-Hand Nursery, nothing is useless. Nothing is boring. We’re a small nursery in the big nursery marketplace. Among the plants, we pick our battles. We can take an ordinary plant and turn it into an extraordinary plant.

Here you go. A Juniper, Pittosporum and a Barberry. I touch these plants once a year and then I forget about them.

The juniper. Calgary Carpet. Low growing, evergreen, drought tolerant, deer resistant and idiot proof.

The pittosporum. This one’s called Creme de Menthe. Never needs trimming, drought tolerant, slow growing, 3′ wide and 2′ tall, deer resistant, and idiot proof.

The barberry. Two varieties here in the picture. Admiration, the lighter, Bagatelle the darker. Drought resistant, presents wonderful fall color, slow growing, 2-1/2′ wide and 1-1/2′ tall, deer resistant and idiot proof.

Three boring plants that aren’t so boring after all, are they? And not a single flower. Hah! I win. Beautiful color without a single flower. You see. It can be done.

A rock and Hakonechloa grass. What else do you need? Not so boring.

A couple years ago I was walking by a rock wall at Maple Rock Gardens. As I was walking by, I noticed a little single green leaf and a little white flower. “Hello, little fella”, I said. “What are you doing here on the side of a rock?” I almost pulled it out of the rock, but thought, “Why not leave you? You’re not hurting anything.”

A few days ago I was walking by that same wall. I actually walked by it and stopped. Turning around I needed to verify the image that was stuck in my head. That little white flower and leaf had turned into something amazing on the side of a rock wall.

Hah! I win again. Beautiful foliage. Contrasting textures in shades of green. A splash of burgundy and not a single flower. The case is closed on this one. While karma put me in the flower business, I’ve still managed to avoid flowers.

Peonies in My Garden

Okay. Father, I have sinned. I have told a lie. I actually like flowers. I’m a boy. I just didn’t want to admit it, but I can’t hold the secret too long.

Texture, foliage and shades of green with a splash of color to greet you in the Spring. Leaving simple, noiseless beauty behind.

An elegant rose backed up by power

These are all photos taken today in my garden. Would you like to see more? Maple Rock Gardens will be open on May 12th between 9am and 3pm.

Saturday, May 12th, join us at Maple Rock Gardens. Tour the gardens, listen to live music, enjoy a Mother’s Day mimosa and have lunch under the apple trees. Flowers will be blooming. Come enjoy the noiseless beauty of Maple Rock. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online by clicking here, at the nursery and also at Maple Rock the day of Bloomtastic.

See you at Maple Rock, May 12th, 9am to 3pm.

Sunset Magazine’s Guru of Succulents, Robin Stockwell, is coming back to High-Hand Nursery.

Succulent Extravaganza is coming to High-Hand June 16th. Registration is free for Robin’s lecture by clicking here. Robin’s completely awesome, beautiful written succulent book will be on sale and you can meet him in person. Join us at the succulent bar and peruse thousands of succulents. Don’t miss out on a great day at High-Hand Nursery.

Keep an eye out for Lavender Days. We’re waiting for Nature to tell us when. Lavender Days will most likely be a pop up event because Nature does set the date. Stay tuned.

Trains, planes and automobiles. Not really, just trains.

The trains are coming down the track. Unlike Amtrak, the trains will be on time. Arriving at the Maple Rock station September 15, 9am and departing Maple Rock station, 3pm sharp. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here, at the nursery or at Maple Rock on the day of the event. All aboard for Train Day.

Have you toured High-Hand Nursery’s greenhouse lately? Always something new. Always something fresh. Always something colorful.

Calibrachoa, or Million Bells, are not boring, but quite ordinary. Not the Million Bells at High-Hand Nursery. Not the ones we grow. As a boy I have to say I’m not a fan of pink and yellow flowers. However, this one stopped me in my tracks. The picture does not do it justice. Come see “Cabaret Pink Star” for yourself. It’s really cool.

That’s all I’ve got to say about boring plants that aren’t so boring and my journey into the flower world.

See you at Maple Rock Gardens, May 12th from 9am to 3pm.

See you at High-Hand Nursery.


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