Judging from remarks in some of the gardening forums, we are all afflicted with a common addiction. No matter how you try to kick the habit, another plant cannot be resisted. The words ‘Plant Sale’, changes your whole way of thinking. I’m sure other garden enthusiasts can identify with that. You can put your mind at rest, it’s not your fault. Leaving home with the intention of, ‘I’m just going to have a look, I’m not going to buy anything’, can change to filling a garden centre cart with plants and seeds which happen to fall into it. Fear not, it’s more like flora telepathy.
Out of all the hundreds of plants in the garden centre, one of them focuses in on you. You can feel it beckoning to you and whispering ‘take me home’. As you go round the centre, you see others reaching for a plant, they put it down and choose another. Actually it’s the plant which chooses you. The first choice said nothing, but a still, small voice whispered ‘me, me’, and you can be sure the customer has heard it and has responded accordingly. You know that, when the plant is settled in their cart and a big smile appears on the customer’s face. Therefore besides not being your fault, it is therapeutic.
My thoughts of buying no more, were shattered when a favourite supplier offered the end of season bargain box. I had to have it even although it was a mystery box and I hadn’t a clue what was in it. It arrived a few days’ later. An excellent variety of 15 plants, all in great condition. My problem of course was having nowhere to put them, either at the time of their arrival or likely, in the future. In my mystery box was a tamarix tree, something I had always fancied growing and here it was, about 14 inches high, a good height for me to start with. There were other shrubs and trees which I don’t really have room for because of their ultimate size.
These are two of the plants in flower, repotted but not in their final home
I have bought many perenniel plants from the bargain basement and although I may have had to wait a year, it is usually worth it. This year, I haven’t been able to visit bargain basements anywhere due to COVID-19, but I was given three plants from one, all of which would have been binned otherwise. The Coreopsis and Palm are looking well but the Gentian was badly damaged so has been cut back in the hope it will recover again.
It’s sad to think of all the ‘twee’ gardeners, having uniform plants lined up like little soldiers, the carefully manicured lawn and not a weed in sight. They will never know the joy, a miserable little plant gives you when it finally shows off its crowning glory. Plant rescue is really a hobby, and no matter how much you plan your garden, there must be room somewhere in it for a little orphan plant (or two). That mystery plant box was like having Christmas in July.