30 billion dollars a year

I heard that gardeners spend 30 billion dollars a year on gardening stuff. That dollar amount is so huge I had to double check it on Google. It’s accurate.

What are we all spending money on? For me it’s perennial and annuals every spring. I’m making a woodland garden and searching for wonderful Lady Slippers, Maidenhair Ferns and Japanese Peonies. But what are other people spending their money on?

Yesterday I went to the annual Trade Secrets fundraising event nearby in Connecticut which features sales of rare plants and garden antiques. It was crowded with people who had turned out on a beautiful Saturday to buy… garden stuff!

Here’s what caught my eye:

First I made a bee line for Hillside Nursery which sells rare and delicate woodland plants. They have an amazing selection (more later).

Then I went to my favorite vendor Campo de Fiore. I can’t believe what they do with pots and plants in them. I had to restrain myself from getting a potted Begonia – I’m not having luck with potted plants, so I just admired what they had.

Campo de Firori exotic planting.

Campo de Firori exotic planting.

 

I really wanted to get this acorn or pineapple pot.

I really wanted to get this acorn or pineapple pot.

 

Then I got tempted by the mushrooms. I secretly want a garden filled with gnomes and magical mushrooms.

This giant fish is fantastic

This giant fish is fantastic

As you can see, I spent a long time here, but restrained myself. This fish terracotta adornment for the garden was about $1000.00. Yikes.

Then I strolled around.

I saw some antique garden furniture, but mostly I was looking for woodland perennial treasures. My garden is fairly restrained. Gnomes, fish, topiary and big stuff just don’t suit my garden or me – but I’m happy to fantasize.

These are the coolest topiary. I'm not sure what evergreen they are.

These are the coolest topiary. I’m not sure what evergreen they are.

Now these giagantic terracotta pots I could really use. But alas, they are very, very expensive. Maybe this is where the 30 billion starts to show up.

Now these gigantic terracotta pots I could really use. But alas, they are very, very expensive. Maybe this is where the 30 billion starts to show up.

But there was more and even more. I started to get overwhelmed.

Piles of pots

Piles of pots

And more piles of pots

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and piles of other gardening things

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Finally I got away and on my way home made it to oneof my favorite places for trees, shrubs and super perenials – Old Farm Nurseries

Geesh – look what they’ve got here!

What is this? Really?

What is this? Really?

So maybe this is some of what we are all buying that comes to 30 billion a year. A bit over the top for me. Yet I did come home with some delicate sweet wooland plants that I hope will flourish and prosper. Stay tuned.

Planting these wonderful woodlanders in my old woodpile. Cypripedium pubescens – Yellow Lady Slipper Podophyllum peltatum – Mayapple Diphylleia cymosa – Umbrella Leaf Adiantum pedatum - Maidenhair Fern

Planting these wonderful woodlanders in my old woodpile.
Cypripedium pubescens – Yellow Lady Slipper
Podophyllum peltatum – Mayapple
Diphylleia cymosa – Umbrella Leaf
Adiantum pedatum – Maidenhair Fern

 

About my garden

I first learned to garden when I lived at Green Gulch Zen Center in California. Green Gulch is a working organic farm that grows vegetables and flowers for market. I learned about Biodynamic farming, watched gardeners plant seeds in rows of dark rich earth, walked by steaming hot compost piles and weeded in the flower gardens.

Zen is known for its close relationship with the arts, in particular gardening, poetry, calligraphy and the tea ceremony. As part of my Zen practice I have been studying the Way of Tea for many years. This study includes flower arranging, garden design, architecture, literature, the connoisseurship of the fine and applied arts and cuisine. Kaiseki cuisine is a seven course meal served during a tea gathering and in 1997 I wrote a book about it called The World in a Bowl of Tea.

When I moved to my home in Tivoli, New York I continued my Tea and Zen practice and built a small tea house in my back yard. One important element in any Tea gathering is the garden and the path to the tea house, called a Roji. To learn more about this I went to Japan to study Japanese garden design at Kyoto University of Art and Design.

It was my first trip to Japan and I felt completely at home. At last I could walk through the gardens I had heard so much about. I wandered through ancient temples and drank in the atmosphere of the timeless spaces.

This is the story of how I built a Tea house in my backyard and how I created the gardens that surround it. I incorporate many of the ideas of the wild garden, the English cottage garden, the prairie garden all the while working within the rustic, elegant style of the Tea Ceremony.

excerpt – A Tea Garden in Tivoli

An ocean of hydrangea

Annabelle Hydrangea in June seem like waves of surf. The tea house can be seen in the far back, cool in the green shade of the afternoon.

In early summer the blossoms are pale green