The Bustani Plant Farm is having their fall sale September 3 and 4, and September 10 and 11. We were eager to go see how their garden fared through the summer, so we headed out Friday morning about 8:30. We hoped to get an early start, but there were issues with a dirty windshield; the more we tried to clean it, the more smeary it got! We drove with a greasy haze all the way to Stillwater.
We had read about the Pineapple Lilies in their newsletter and were hopeful that they perhaps had some for sale. Ruth said that they did have them, but they would not sell them because they need the spring to establish a root system that would sustain the plant over winter; she said, “We want your plants to succeed.” We had seen the Eucomis on our trip to Pennsylvania at Terrain’s garden center. The lilies in the Bustani display garden were huge and healthy, they almost appeared fake. Speaking of strange plants, there was a plant named Rattlesnake Master; it had a Native American medicinal use for treating rattlesnake bites! The leaves were strap-like, but they had needle thorns on their edges. The blooms were spiky spheres clustered on the ends of stems. If you accidentally bumped into this plant, you would think you had been bitten by a snake.
Blooming vines were making a showy presentation. The Pea Vines were heavy with delicate blooms; an ornate Passion Flower decorated the entryway to a display garden; the Bow Tie Vines had many more blossoms than Christy’s at home; and we were again surprised by the deep indigo hue of the Double-Flowering Blue Butterfly Pea.
Inside the retail greenhouse a hardy hibiscus made quite a show. There were several varieties available,including an all white hardy hibiscus. As we rounded the end of a table a delightful scent rose up; Southern Polygonella is a small woody perennial with amazing little white flowers. It went home with Carol to live in her garden. She also brought home some Goat’s Rue that has feathery foliage and delicate pink bloom stalks.
As we walked through their garden we were surprised at how everything was thriving. The use of native plant material is not only beautiful, but smart. Hummingbirds were whizzing around from plant to plant, and we saw a copper-colored tiger frog that startled a visitor by jumping against the side of her leg. Their Pink Summer Phlox made a huge, showy drift; Christy stood in awe saying that hers had not spread yet and was still a single stalk, so she went inside and bought one more. She also bought a Slender Mountain Mint, a native perennial that looks like an asparagus fern and smells minty sweet.
There was excitement in the air because it was cool air! In addition, it is always exciting to find plants that are completely unknown to us; people were walking through the display gardens with notebooks in hand identifying plants. Because of their unique varieties, prestigious gardens throughout the nation order from the Bustani Plant Farm including Chicago Botanic Garden, Atlanta Botanic Garden, New Orleans Botanic Garden, Chanticleer, and the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. We enjoyed our mini trip and drive through the countryside!