The last big Spanish tagging trip has arrived! Having just returned from Belgium and Holland, and with a pending trip to Italy in the planning, it’s been a very full-on few weeks. However, this one is the biggest and most complicated one so far this year. I was travelling with one of the Chelsea Greats, the totally adorable Sarah Eberle, sourcing some plants for her Chelsea garden. Also on the trip was Kamelia Bin Zaal who had come to check the progress of some of the plants that we tagged for her in January. Kamelia also had her film crew in tow.
So nine of us left Gatwick on a cold morning on a 6:30 flight bound for sunny Murcia in Spain. I am always slightly apprehensive on these trips that my client is happy and finds what they want as well as being the perfect host, but with two clients and two film crews it was going to be crazy!
Landing in a very pleasant 23 degrees we picked up the cars and headed over to the nursery about 100km away. After a quick meet-and-greet it was straight down to business. There were several agendas to be dealt with. Sarah had come to source some of the arid and Australasian plants for her Chelsea garden. I knew that finding the plants would be easy; it was more a case of what not to buy as the choice is immense. We also needed to find a key, large Ficus tree. Although I have sourced these many times before in Holland for indoor jobs, it was important in this case to have a tree that would be suitable outdoors and so nursery-grown plants from Spain were the preferred option.
Kamelia was largely here with her film crew to make a film about her Chelsea journey. Her plant sourcing was largely complete, but we needed to check progress of her Fig trees and Pomegranates that we had found on our last trip. Also we needed to check that the Olive screening plants that we had chosen last time were also thickening up as we had hoped.
Additionally, Rob Gudge, my associate from Desert to Jungle had come along to choose plants for his own plant centre and also to advise Sarah on her choice of succulents.
Finally, I had my own film crew in tow; Pete and Dave from our web company had come along to make a video dialogue of our trip and give a fly-on-the-wall view of the life of a modern day professional plant hunter and personal shopper.
So there was more pressure than normal on me to ensure that the trip went smoothly! However, my fears were soon allayed as everyone fell into their jobs and plant lists straightaway and a busy afternoon followed.
Our evening was spent at La Pimenta, our fave tapas bar, known as “The Place with the Small Chairs” where we perch on small wicker chairs and tuck into the best chorizo ever, along with delicious Manchego cheese and sweet Iberian jamon. We even had a beer or few!
The next day dawned even warmer and the shorts were out! A tagging frenzy soon got underway and by the time we stopped for lunch, most of the buying had been completed. I took the opportunity to disappear off with Dave and Pete to do some narration and interview shots for our film.
Mid-afternoon we got back into the cars and set off for Cartagena, our overnight stop, allowing us an evening in the town to relax and enjoy this busy place, including more tapas.
On the journey home, Jimmy and I planned the logistics for getting two articulated lorry-fulls of plants back to the UK and our Somerset nursery. Some plants needed to come over as soon as possible, whilst others needed to stay in Spain for as long as possible to make the best use of that lovely sunshine. All in all it was a great and very productive trip. Now back to the nursery, catch up with work, before I go back to Pistoia in a couple of weeks.