Saturday, 7 February 2015

She Who Dithers


Shrieks of delight pierced the tranquility of our local garden centre last Sunday morning as my eyes alighted on helleborus 'Anna's Red'. Fortunately we were the only hardy perennials who had the bitingly cold outdoors area so no damage was done to anybody's hearing. Oh joy of joys - this plant had been way up on my wish list for a couple of years! Not only because of its name but also because of all that I had read about this beautiful comparatively new introduction. Named after the gardening writer Anna Pavord, this hellebore has huge flowers, deep red stems and attractive marbled foliage. I was so pleased to find her, not only so close to home but also at what I thought the most reasonable price of  £11.99. Like all feted newcomers the initial higher prices such gems command does come down after a while.


True to form I was not sure about the first plant I picked up so rummaged amongst the few other specimens for comparison purpose, whilst himself patiently stood on hand to offer his considered opinion. Back and forth I went until having satisfied myself after much dithering that I had picked the best specimen we made our way to the check out. Visions of a planting scheme to highlight my new purchase were floating around my head as we made our way home, which concluded in a petticoat of snowdrops and cyclamens. Back to base garden centre purchases (yes there were others) were removed from the car boot and lunch preparations took over.

It was only later in the afternoon when mindful that a hard frost was predicted that I realised the error of my ways. As I was about to place 'Anna's Red' under the shelter of the cold frame a close inspection of the label revealed that I had come home with the wrong plant! What I had was Anna's sister, helleborus 'Penny's Pink'. I went back inside to break the news to himself whose attention was focused on the television and a football match. His initial response was one of disbelief as to how this could have happened but an offer of a return trip to the garden centre the next day was eventually forthcoming. At times such as these being a non driver certainly has its disadvantages but I tried not to sulk or to think too much about the fact that there had not been a vast number of 'Anna's Red' for sale.


However my face must have registered as crestfallen because ten minutes or so a return journey to the garden centre became a now rather than tomorrow offer. Off we went again clutching a box containing 'Penny's Pink' (she's lovely but I already have her) and a receipt. The garden centre was much busier at this stage so it took some minutes to explain what had happened. On getting an affirmative that we could exchange plants himself volunteered to get a replacement from the back of beyond and legged it before I could protest. At this point I'm sure he was worrying whether we would get back home for the next football match. What can I say but the plant he bought back with him was not the best of the bunch but what could I say in this situation other than profess my heartfelt gratitude. I'm sure that it will flourish in the future though which is the main consideration.

I'm still pondering where to plant her. She might even be planted in a container as Michelle over at Veg Plotting is growing her 'Anna's Red'. Wherever she ends up though I'm sure I will remember both the excitement and trauma of her purchase. Have you ever come home with the wrong plant?

N.B. The moral of this tale must be always to check the label before you get to the till.

P.S. I've only just realised after taking a photo what a big label it was - I really did not have any excuse, did I?

31 comments:

  1. Anna:
    Interesting story you tell. I had somewhat of a similar experience last Spring when I was inspecting a shipment to the nursery where I work. I was expecting 'Penny's Pink' and much to my chagrin I had something else completely. [Not sure what it was to this day!] Wonderful, kind man that 'himself' is, you were able to remedy your situation. Truly a lovely gem Miss Anna is! I too finally procured my Miss Penny. [Its the pink marbling of her juvenile foliage that gives the name I think!] Hope winter is treating you and himself well!

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    1. Oh it's lovely to hear from you Barry. Yes himself came to my rescue as he has done many times over the years :) I'm glad that you have tracked down 'Penny'. I wasn't aware that was how she acquired her name. She is rather special too. I think that you may well have had more snow this winter so hope that all your treasures survive the cold.

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  2. What a palaver, but glad to hear that it all came good in the end. I'm sure that Anna's Red is an even more cherished acquisition after all that.

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    1. It was a bit of a marathon Jo but all's well that end's well. 'Anna's Red' will have an extra special place in my heart :)

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  3. It's a beautiful colour well done on securing one.

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    1. Thanks Sue. She is a rather fabulous colour and as always with a plant that you have been hankering over it's so pleasing to finally track one down.

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  4. I wanted, a Coprosma with golden leaves. Followed the books and bought Coffee Cream. Came home and looked at my new plant - name's right, but the leaves are not golden. Took it back and we'll keep looking

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    1. Oh dear Diana. Could it be a season related? I don't know what a coprosma is so will have to look it up. 'Coffee Cream' doesn't suggest golden though does it? :) Good luck with your search.

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  5. Well you got it in the end and that's the important thing. And to separate a man from a football match is a considerable feat indeed!

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    1. I know that all too well Jessica. If Liverpool had been playing I wouldn't have stood a chance :)

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  6. So pleased you've secured Anna for yourself at last. Your plant looks healthy, so I'm sure it's going to do well, wherever you decide to put her 😄

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    1. Thanks Michelle :) She is a bit manky round the leaf edges but is of sound constitution so should thrive. Now it's a case of decisions, decisions.

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  7. I am so glad that you got the one you wanted in the end. What a beauty your namesake is. I am going to have to look for this for my daughter who is also an Anna. It is gorgeous.

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    1. Oh thank you for your kind words Chloris. I do hope that you can track one down for your Anna.

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  8. Ha - what a tale - I have done that myself but at least you got what you wanted in the end. A beautiful Hellebore - I hope 'Anna' does you proud.

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    1. Glad that it's not just me then Elaine :) I think I was just so excited that I presumed all the plants in the vicinity were the same variety. I hope that 'Anna's Red' appreciates the trouble we went to to bring her home Elaine. She is indeed a beauty.

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  9. Oh I love this red hellebore....I hope I can find it here

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    1. Thanks for your comment Donna. Fingers crossed that 'Anna's Red' has crossed the pond.

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  10. She's lovely Anna, and definitely worth all the bother. Glad you found her in the end. I have never left the garden centre with the wrong plant, but I do always leave with more than I intended!

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    1. Me too Cathy, regularly, even when I've made a list :)

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  11. I can just imagine your frustration upon the discovery that you went home with the wrong plant! Especially as the right one was on your wishlist for two years. Glad it's all sorted now.

    And your post also means that Anna's Red is now in GC's, yay! It's been on our wishlist for quite some time too!

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    1. I was rather annoyed with myself to say the least guys but like February it was only temporary. I hope that you can track one down too.

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  12. You did nothing different than any one of us would have. I'd have blamed my eyesight rather than admit I got carried away in the moment. Mind you, my eyesight isn't so bad as I'd not be able to read that label :)
    Looking forward to reading about what you decide to do with it Anna.

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  13. The trials and tribulations! When I have seen or heard 'Anna's Red mentioned I have thought of you, Anna, and I am glad you are finally united with her. I haven't met one on person yet but I know that even though I don't really want to pay that much for a hellebore she is so lovely and different that I don't think I would offer much resistance! What an obliging person Himself is - I know the Golfer would do the same ;)

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  14. Oh, Anna, I'm so happy for you and had to smile at the thought of your joyful outburst. Just got two pretty hellebores by post and was so thrilled. They did lift my spirits big time and my shrieking was only heard by Rudolf and Peter Rabbit, no harm then. ;)

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  15. I have done the same thing! So irritating when I only have myself to blame. I don't have any hellebores - yet. But I have hopes. Penny's Pink looks pretty good to me.

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  16. At least you didn't have to wait 24 hours to get back and sort it out- all's well that ends well.

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  17. I think we have all done this, Anna. I was sure you were going to end by saying they were all out of Anna's Red when you went back--I'm glad you were able to get one after all. What a gorgeous hellebore! And, of course, with its name, it's perfect for your garden:)

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  18. I once ordered a Jude the Obscure rose and the company delivered 4 of the wrong roses but all the same variety. I kept two and gave two away. they finally sent the correct one but I had ended up with 2 gorgeous free roses in the process. Beautiful hellebore! I've had plants whose bloom didn't match the tag so it's always a risk when we buy plants not in bloom.

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  19. What a great tale. I think we have all done this though with me it is usually food - looking for the longest sell-by date and ending up with what was next to what i wanted. I hope 'anna' is settled in now and has some nice neighbours.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.