Last Saturday My Beloved and I went to the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario to visit a tiny little nursery that specializes in native plants.
Because, I suppose, Christmas is so far away and we need another outlet for obsession (pornaments being unavailable at this time of year), we've become fully engrossed in the idea of creating a native garden in our backyard.
Aside from being cool and a very interesting challenge, it kind of makes ecological sense. European plants aren't meant for Canadian soil. Oh, they do okay (and Lord knows I have a LOT of favourites planted in and around our house), but they didn't develop here and they require a lot of poking and prodding and special attention to keep them thriving.
Native plants, so the theory goes, don't. And there are some really interesting ones out there.
They're a little simpler than showy European flowers (and by simpler I mean weedy looking in some cases) but there's something very satisfying about taking on the challenge of reintroducing native plants to a landscape that has been virtually stripped of them in favour of more exotic fare.
I came home with a Bristly Buttercup, a clump of Sweetgrass, a wild Geranium and a Bergamot.
It was largely a fact-finding mission, but after seeing rows of lovingly tended native plants I couldn't leave without a few favourites. I bought as many as I had cash to purchase (they don't take credit or debit).
The owner was so kind and helpful, and spent a lot of time answering our questions and offering advice.
The setting was idyllic, and the distant rumble of the thunderstorm that engulfed us on our way home somehow made it a mystical and soul-soothing experience. There's nothing quite like the smell of a storm on its way - or the heady scent of hundreds of small plants nestled in pots of native soil.
I loved every second of it. And we're going back as soon as we have a better plan for our native garden.
If you live in the area - or within day tripping distance - it's absolutely worth taking the pretty drive along the 403 into Brantford to check out Sweetgrass Gardens