Who does not enjoy exploring a new garden center? On Sunday morning, the final day of the Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling, my group’s first stop was Merrifield Garden Center in Gainesville, Virginia (though my photos are all geotagged as nearby Manassas).
The site was expansive. The indoor area was filled with an eclectic collection of decorative garden items, tools and equipment.
Even the folksiest displays were genuine and bright.
A first in my garden center experience, there also was a wine section. The selection included many local Virgina wines.
Merrifield’s friendly staff welcomed our group with a tempting array of fruits and baked goods.
Eventually I found the extensive selection of plants.
For the first time during the Fling I began to wish I had driven from North Carolina to D.C. As it was, I knew packing would be a challenge for the flight home so when I came across some Chuck Hayes gardenias, I could be tempted only for so long before coming back to reality.
I had planted a hedge of these at the back of my western border when we first moved into our current house in 2001. They thrived for a decade before several years of severe drought finally caught up with them. Garden centers around me no longer carry them, nor even seem familiar with them.
A helpful staff member offered to ship some to Chapel Hill, something I have not ruled out.
There were quite a few Crape Myrtles, including some with dark foliage.
The flowers on this one were more purple than the photograph suggests. It is named Black Diamond ‘Purely Purple.’
Colorful hybrid coneflowers have not performed well in my garden, but I would be willing to give this one a try.
Merrifield’s does a nice job of grouping plants for display, but what caught my eye here is the ‘Kent’s Beauty’ oregano in the huge container at top right.
The sign explains ‘Kent’s Beauty’ Oregano is an “ornamental oregano featuring beautiful hop-like, blush-pink bracts. Demands well-drained, sandy soil in full to part sun. For those of us who don’t have that sandy soil, a pot is the answer. This one has done well for years in this pot. Display potted 2014. Sorry, not-for-sale.”
Another grouping that was attractive includes toward the back one of my favorites, Aconitum napellus (Monkshood). Although my former next-door neighbor grew it for years, unfortunately I have had no luck growing monkshood. This display also featured several beautiful hollyhocks, Alcea rosea ‘Peaches ‘n Dreams.’ The middle yellow layer is coreopsis with an interesting story.
A hybrid first introduced as Coreopsis verticillata ‘Electric Avenue’ PP24688, this plant is now designated as Mayo Clinic Flower of Hope™. The Mayo Clinic website states Mayo Clinic Flower of Hope™ is an “honorific” title; they do not receive revenue from sales.
To recognize the Mayo Clinic Sesquicentennial in 2014, we looked for a flower that would grow at each Mayo site – Minnesota, Arizona and Florida, as well as the Mayo Clinic Health System campuses in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Result: the Mayo Clinic Flower of Hope™.
The flower is used in landscaping at all Mayo Clinic locations.
Patterns and color in this collection of Elephant Ears caught my attention as I was returning inside to reconnect with other Flingers and taste one of those quinoa mini-muffins. Delicious. Someone took several group shots of us in front of that food table, but I have not seen the photographs yet. It will be fun if they show up.