Today we went to a great Spring Plant Fair at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds. I'd read about it here and had mentioned it to Curt; then he saw a live news broadcast this morning from the fairgrounds and that clinched it. I honestly didn't think there'd be that many people - I mean, after all it was just a little plant sale put on by the Master Gardener's Association, I thought - not one of the big garden & patio shows at the convention center or anything. The traffic jam we hit a mile from the fairgrounds quickly corrected that assumption. Obviously, we didn't understand the allure. Apparently this event is an annual tradition for most serious gardeners in the area. They'd brought their own wagons.... everything from bright red Radio Flyers to homemade contraptions crafted out of recycle bins and garbage can lids strapped to luggage carts. Once we were inside, it all made sense. Sooo many neat & wonderful plants and garden art & stuff - and everybody so helpful & nice & eager to tell you how to care for your acquisitions. We went with a contrarian strategy - starting at the back row and working our way forward. We were looking for just 3 things, specifically - something(s) shade loving for the built-in planter in our covered porch; a golden chain tree (which we'd had at my childhood home & I've wanted since the day we bought our own house); and maybe some water hyacinth for the birdbath (which Curt's sister had suggested as a way to keep the water clean). By the third row we'd navigated we'd gotten all that and more - including this amazing angel trumpet with variegated leaves (for the shady spot). The guy we bought it from only had 3 plants - we must have had 12 different people stop us afterwards begging to know where we'd gotten it. At $15 for the 6" plant (maybe 2" tall?) we were feeling pretty pleased with our purchase - we'd wanted a conversation piece for the porch and we sure got it! The blooms are supposed to be wonderfully fragrant in the mornings &/evenings; too! I also came across these really cool stepping stone molds that I couldn't bear to leave without. We've got a couple of areas where we want to put in stepping stones and I've been trying to figure out how to make my own; more decorative ones for awhile so it felt like fate. We got the Fleur de Lis mold and a border mold (of grape leaves). Each mold takes 48 to set and a week to cure - so we might have enough to complete our projects by the end of the summer. So arms full (since we hadn't thought ahead and brought a wagon) we beat a hasty retreat to save our checking account, even though we'd only seen about a tenth of the show. Neither one of us has much willpower when it comes to plants.
Tomorow we're heading down to the Oregon Garden - which we've been trying to get to for about a month; but our own home improvement projects have kept us at home every weekend lately.