I had a lovely day out today.  I went to one of my favourite nurseries with three dog owning friends and then afterwards, a pub lunch.  It was a beautiful day, blue skies, fluffy clouds and warmth in the sunshine.  What more could one ask?

Hardy’s specialises in hardy perennials – my favourite group of plants.  Unlike many places, they actually propogate a large proportion of their stock.  A large part of the nursery was seperated off as they prepare for the Chelsea Flower Show, hopefully they will once again get a gold medal this year.

Despite having less space to display the saleable stock, we still managed to spend two hours there, going up and down the rows seeing what took our fancy – and of course talking.  It is amazing the memories that plants can invoke and the thoughts that they can bring.  Given that we all have dogs in common as well, our conversation was very wide ranging.  

I usually tend to leave my dogs behind when I go plant buying – I need their space in the car to bring home my booty, but one of our number brought her dog with her.  The nursery was happy for her to be with us and  she was in her element with a number of other customers (and nursery staff) coming up to say hello.

One of the benefits of my cottage gardening style (and my small garden) is that you don’t feel that you have follow the gardening text books and always plant in groups of three or five.   I regularly buy just one of a plant, particularly when it is a plant that I haven’t tried before.  This is not only reduces the demands on the purse, but also means that when I find a plant that is happy in my garden, I can get a variety of the family to increase interest. 

I was remarkably restrained in my purchases today, filling only half of my trolley.  The fact is that I was all too well aware that despite the hard winter, the vast majority of my plants had survived and that I really don’t have a huge amount of space to fill these days.  That said, I did manage to find some little beauties. 

All in all, it was a great day and we all enjoyed it so much that we are planning to make it an annual event.  If you want to join us in North Hampshire in April 2011, let me know.