Remember gardening “up North”? Most of us had to stop in the fall and then we waited. We waited for the catalogues: Burpee Seed, Baker’s Creek Heirloom, Gurney. We wanted them all. We looked at them online, of course, but there was nothing better than cuddling up with a cup of hot cocoa, a blanket, and a real catalogue while we watched the snow fall outside and dreamed of spring.
We planned the gardens on paper and watched them grow in our minds. Zinnias and strawflowers, cosmos
and daisies, and our perennials, the daffodils and tulips, lilies and violets. They were all blooming when we thought about them.
That was then, this is now. Now, we can check online catalogues but we can’t get seeds by mail, not without an import license. Okay, we understand that we need to protect native species in Costa Rica, but some of us are lonely for things we grew up with. What’s a gardener to do?
Well, this gardener has fallen in love with a lot of the local flowers. There is a cattle field just up the hill a bit from our home with the most amazing lilies. They bloom in a crown on a tall stalk and are white with pink veins. They smell wonderful. The owner of the fields has no interest in them (thank heaven), so we are free to dig them up. And you know lilies. Those big bulbs just keep multiplying until there is a huge clump of bulbs and not enough food and they stop blooming, so we doing them a favor by transplanting them, right?
These aren’t the only lilies I have found, though. Last year, I found a different variety on the lower end of our property. These are pure white and also scented, and I had no trouble digging them out and transplanting them. Then my friend gave me some spider lilies.
So, no seed catalogues, but there are compensations. In Costa Rica, for example, we grow orchids without a greenhouse; I always wanted a greenhouse, and now I don’t need one. Or, what about this? If you belong to a garden club – we have one in Nuevo Arenal – you can have a periodic plant exchange and get new things started. Our group is going to love these new lilies.
As for those of us who like to vegetable garden, there are seed packets available at agro-colonos and even at some ferreterias, so we don’t have to go without our fresh carrots and beets. But, if anyone sees any sugar snap peas, give me a yell please?