Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lavender for Sweet Perry

My friend and neighbor just lost her 18-year old kitty, Perry. I know how hard it is when you lose a pet. A friend once sent me a bouquet of lovely orange roses when I lost our cat Ozzy; he was an orange tabby. It touched me so that I thought I would carry on the tradition. But, have you ever tried to find a potted lavender plant in January?? I should have known better than to get my hopes set on such a perennial in the middle of winter! But, lavender it has to be.

When I lived in Virginia, we had a wonderful herber (can't find the right word--a person who grows herbs--grin) right in Arlington. Mr. DeBaggio had an abundance of potted herbs he sold right from his back yard. He was quite the writer also, and I enjoyed his seasonal newsletter that was so fascinating to read. I would go and get all my cooking herbs there; but I especially enjoyed their topiaries at Christmas time. They had a whole nursery chock full of rosemary and lavender topiaries that had been trained all summer. These made such wonderful gifts for dear friends every year.

After we moved to Leesburg, VA, it was a little more of a haul to visit Mr. DeBaggio's. I was thrilled when they bought a farm in Chantilly, VA, and set up shop there. Unfortunately, Mr. DeBaggio developed Alzheimer's, God bless him. His son took over shortly thereafter and expanded the "garden" with Mr. DeBaggio's still-keen eye. It was a joy to visit and just walk into the now huge nursery and take a big deep breath of the wet dirt and fresh herbs growing there.

Well, of course, we moved again, a little further away this time, to Nashville. So, on one of my trips back North, I purchased 7 of their French lavender plants and brought them home to plant. The younger DeBaggio wasn't sure if they would survive down here in Middle Tennessee. I was out to prove to him they would, of course. I had to have a little memory of my past in my new garden. I planted them all around a big cherry tree in the back. They had lots of sun and lots of drainage on a hill. Well folks, they are thriving! By summer, they are full of beautiful flowers. I don't know who enjoys them more, the bumble bees or me. I always have fresh lavender available whenever the mood hits. The plants have just flourished here, as you can see. (Yes, I do need to prune them as soon as early spring hits!)

Well, back to my quest for lavender, right NOW! Of course, I called White Flower Farm first. They have the best-quality plants via post. I was so proud of myself when they did indeed have a potted lavender. When I received my confirmation, it said that the plant won't actually be shipped out until March. Yikes. Well, that's fine and dandy for those of us looking for something to plant right away, but this was a gift that needed delivery ASAP. So, on to my source No. 2, Gardener's Eden. Ok, so WHEN did Gardener's Eden go out of business? Gee, was I sleeping or something? Perhaps I was so tied up with my sick friend last summer, I missed that whole out-of-business thing. Gee, what a loss. Now what? Google search, of course. Amazingly, Amazon had a place that could ship one out within a day or two. I am keeping my finger's crossed that it gets here by this weekend. I'll keep you posted on the quality. You just never know. I do hope this one works out and Miss E can get it out in her garden in memory of Perry this spring. What better way to remember a loved one than by planting in their honor. In the meantime, she will have a beautiful lavender plant to enjoy.

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