My sister and I drove to Spring Ledge in New London yesterday. She was searching for two shrubs to plant in her front border. I did not know what I was searching for, though I always know what it is when I see it.
There was an incomparable pale pink scaevola in some of the pre-planted containers, but there were none for sale in solo pots. I knew we should have visited earlier in June-
Then, in one small pot in the greenhouse I found the Chocolate Cosmos, a tuberous Mexican perennial I first read about in the 90s in Alan Lacy’s “The Garden in Autumn”, one of the books that has influenced my gardening the most.
I have planted it in a pot alongside another Mexican plant, the Chiapas Sage, and it sits on my front doorstep. Its name is no misnomer. It smells strongly of chocolate. Never before have I seen this plant for sale, even in the Nashville garden centers.
We would have lingered longer in New London, for it is a town of gardens worth seeing, but there were low clouds hiding Mt Kearsarge, and wandering about would be for another day. We went home early to escape a cold persistent rain. The weather in the past week has been abnormally chill, and two nights gave me a fear of frost. though I live in the tropical part of New Hampshire and not in Labrador like Berlin and Colebrook where nights did go to 32 degrees.
We did see this colorful bit of bedding out in front of a business on the main street in New London where we ran into a coffee shop to fortify ourselves.
My sister did find her shrubs. Here is one- an amber leaved Winebark.
90 degrees is coming this weekend, and I am happy for all the cosmos, marigolds, and zinnias I have planted that have been shivering. I am also glad for the lantanas, which also want heat. Prior to this season, the sprawling, climbing, spreading lantana “Miss Huff”, a soft orange, was my favorite, but now there is this one- Lantana “Rose Sunrise”, which I bought from White Flower Farm”.
And here is another new bloomer at the Historical Society garden- rose “Pretty Polly Pink”. Quarter sized blossoms on a miniature plant with lustrous green leaves.