The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Opus at Sakonnet

Ed Bowen, owner of Opus, contemplating just the right plant for his customer

Connoisseur plants looking for a home

Ed's delightful wife, Ivy, is often on hand

When I am at a plant sale, like I was last weekend at the Sakonnet Symposium in RI, I have to suppress the urge to use my, admittedly quite large 6' 3", body to it fullest advantage to get at the plants I am most interested in. Long arms are always an asset but it is really bad form to knock over a little old lady to get to the Arundo donax 'Golden Chain' so I behave myself.

One of the nurseries with plants for sale last Saturday was Opus, Ed Bowen's self-descibed " deliberately small nano-nursery." I first met Ed about a decade ago when he worked at the now defunct Conway's Nursery in Tiverton, RI. It didn't take long to see that Ed is a true plantsman. He knows his plants and he knows how to make them happy. After Conway's closed, Ed opened his own nursery named Opus specializing in "under-cultivated, garden worthy and unusual perennials."

Ed is open by appointment only but it is probably easiest to see what plants he has to offer at one of the half a dozen symposiums or gardening events that he frequents each year. Ed is extremely knowledgable and he couldn't be a nicer guy. The plant I was most excited about was Centaurea benoistii. Centaurea benoistii has excellent silver grey folliage with knobby maroon colored flower heads. It likes well-drained soil and I am hoping it will be happy in my upper border. Check Ed's website for more details about where you can find him next and his very intriguing plant list.


  1. Michael, I saw your box of plants and actually photographed the Arundo plant tag to get its name! Your box was lovely and I definitely noticed that centaurea! I came home with two Impatiens omienana, Ice Storm and Silver Pink, as well as the Beesia and one of the Deinanthe. We were so close to meeting, it is uncanny!

  2. Helen, that is too funny. You are not the only person who was spying my box of plants. Scott Canning, the Director of Horticulture at Wave Hill, walked away with one of my bergenias. I didn't have the courage to deck him, so I just went back and got myself another one. One of these days our paths WILL cross!!



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