Field Trip: Annie’s Annuals

Chipped polish on my dirt-encrusted nails reminds me that I should not be bothering with manicures this time of year. I’m just too busy digging in the dirt. Or frequenting nurseries to find more plants to dig in the dirt.

Though I’d already picked up a little spring color at my neighborhood nursery, I was itching to drive over to Annie’s Annuals in Richmond to snag some seedlings for later spring blooms. This week I got my chance.

Warning: Do not go to Annie’s Annuals by way of Apple Maps. Use the directions on their website. Otherwise, you’ll be told  “you have arrived at your destination” when you’ve actually arrived at a scary fashion/home goods emporium.

Then you’ll circle questionable neighborhoods until you’re stuck watching a long line of train cars filled with bamboo flooring pass before you.

Eventually, you may think to try out the new GoogleMaps app you downloaded onto your iPhone months ago but never opened and it will lead you here:

You will say a little prayer of gratitude that you’ve arrived safely and then you will walk past the barbed wire and into a planter’s paradise.

Where you will be greeted by friendly nursery helpers and a herd of welcoming garden cows.

As well as a cat named “Baby Girl.”

And a gaggle of garden gnomes.

Including this one hanging in a birdcage.

Let’s just say that Annie and her staff have a sense of humor. They also have acres of unusual, heirloom plants.

I  headed over to the Poppy section where I picked up some lush purple “Poppy of Troy” and  outrageous red “Greek” poppies.

I also bought some pink and white penstemon, dark blue love-in-a-mist, and “Baby Blue Eyes” nemophilia which I kept wanting to call “necrophilia” (!).

Now Annie—or her copywriter—tend to describe every plant with such affection that it’s hard to resist buying every Annie’s Annual plant. After reading a particularly glowing description, I decided to try what I thought was a new-to-me plant–antirrhinum—and brought a bunch of seedlings home only to find that this “rare” plant is actually a snapdragon. So much for high adventuring in the garden. But the color “Chantilly Peach” sounds so lovely that I’m excited to see it bloom in front of a patch of purply blue delphiniums and white scabiosas.

True confession, despite my best intensions I left with a couple of roses—Cecile Brunner and Cornelia—hoping they’ll survive the creatures that sometimes make their way into my garden. And I made a last-minute impulse buy of white lace flower when I saw it blooming so happily at the checkout counter—Annie promises it will bring a “cottage-y” feeling to my garden.

Oh, and this jaunty fellow hitched a ride home with me as well.

I’ve spent the last 24 hours digging everything in so the plants can get a good soaking with tonight’s forecast rain. The end result: my manicure is a mess, but my garden, well, my garden is looking mighty fine.

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  1. Michelle
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks for taking me on a scary tour of Richmond. I have always loved the mystical snap dragons (I have a vague memory that they played some significant roll in my 1st grade reader). And, love that you are placing annuals where you live — go you!

  2. Posted March 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Haha! Thanks Kathryn for the awesome mention! Love the House of Fashion photo . So voodoo-esque! Actually the sweet lady who lives there is amazing and a wonderful designer and the inside of the house is mind blowing . Transparent floor in the living room with a fish pond beneath . Grand piano made out of mirrors, beautiful clothes hanging on the walls and colorful quirky friends . You’d love it . Things are not always what they seem on the outside- especially in Richmond !

    • kathryn
      Posted March 25, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Hi Annie! After reading your comments I think I need to take another Field Trip to the House of Fashion. I know the way now ;) Looking forward to seeing all my Annie’s Annuals in bloom in a month or so. I’m already enjoying the cheery orange “Cooky” geum coccineum. Can’t wait ’til my next visit.

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Kathryn Pritchett

writes about Things Elemental — where we find shelter, why we connect, what sustains us and how we strut our stuff.