A May Visit to the nursery of my dreams

I had the fantasy day of all fantasy gardening days on Friday: I played?hooky??with my hortbuddies Susan and Geoffrey. We drove for-bloody-ever to St. Thomas and found Plant Nirvana: Canadale Nurseries ? (www.canadale.com).?

This amazing, huge place belongs to Tom Intven and has been in his family since 1955.His mum, his sister, his brother, his kids were all working hard yesterday. It?s an astounding place to us because A. Tom took us around; and B. he has such profound knowledge of the plants he?s growing.

?He?s one whose repository of plant information that can only come from working with and observing plant behaviour closely. He could explain things down to the last scientific detail and make it interesting. He has an amazing agile mind and?an eye for the aesthetic. Well my kind of aesthetics. We agree on what makes a great plant: The structure, foliage colour, track history for hardiness and lastly the bloom. If that seems obvious, it?s not to a lot of people.

?And many of the plants you see in terrific nurseries are grown by Tom (he?s also a wholesaler who grows 60% of the plants he sells). From Fiesta Gardens in Toronto; to Lost Horizons in Action down to places in near St. Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick.?

He?s also a grower who is listening to you. So if you love a plant, ask for it and eventually someone like Tom will grow it because you want it. For the three of us, it was like kids let loose in the candy store. In the next few days I?m going to list all the stuff I got there.

First and most important were the Japanese maples. It’s ?sort?of crowded out there though the reason for getting more Japanese maples is that a very large one died over a couple of years, leaving a gaping hole. I?got one so gorgeous I couldn?t bear to move it away from door where I could see it during dinner. But it has to go into the garden.

Acer shirasawanum ?Autumn Moon???is enough to melt your heart. It grows to 3 and a half feet high with large leaves with an almost watercolour-like brushing of orange. It goes red in autumn so placing it where I can see it from the house is important.

The other was an A. palmatum dissectum ?Tamukeyama? which is a waterfall of deeply-dissected leaves on a lovely structure. It?s one of Tom?s favourites because the deep burgundy colour holds up even in our humid hot summers. Grows to about 8 feet.

The burgundy and the orange might go together but I see more holes in the garden and I?m getting over-excited. The rest of the plant list is coming when I calm down.

?The newsletter is available if you wish to sign up.?