For years I'd noticed it from 95, laid out on a slope right next to the highway. But not until today, at Becky's recommendation, did I make my way down to Ashland to buy plants.
I had a specific list of plants I was looking for, and they make it easy because their inventory is online. What a concept! I was in search of a second Virginia sweetspire for the back shrub border and two more Viburnum 'Shasta' by the back fence. Then, of course, I had a couple other things on the list - Hakonechloa to replace the one that died in the front; two geraniums 'Rozanne' ditto; and hostas to go in front of the trellis.
Armed with their list, my hosta book, and a firm determination to stick to the budget, I tooled down 95 and found this most wonderful place. They're primarily a wholesale outfit, but they are as nice and friendly as can be to lone shoppers like me. You tell them what you want and someone meets you in one of the "houses" where the plants are neatly laid out. (The houses at this time of year are empty hoops that span each row, but once winter comes they are covered and undoubtedly look more house-like.)
The guy who helped me with the viburnums was very friendly, and once I was done there he led me via a golf cart thing to the hosta area, where another friendly soul helped me pick out five hostas. I was leaning toward the blues, which I love, but something about this spot cries out for brighter chartreuse colors. I ended up with three Paul's Glory and two August Moons.
By the time I was ready to check out, the geraniums, a hakonechloe and a flat of pansies had crept into my car, and I was somewhat over budget. The nice checkout person took 10% off, "just because you're a nice person"! How soon can I return?