Wednesday, June 7, 2017

When to buy versus when not to buy.

There's been no real not to move from where I am. We've put our house up on sale and as such, I've let my neighbors come over and dig out what they want in the plant collection that I've attained over the years. My neighbors know my babies are rarities, specialty plants that haven't gotten the chance to bloom because I keep moving them around every year, not happy with the way my garden is growing. I thought I would start from scratch at the new house, build up what I want in the garden with actual goals. In the city, it's a little harder to do. I find I fuss a lot. I'm not sure how I'll deal with so much open space. So with the move comes the drudgery of digging up what I have (that's green right now) and giving it to my neighbors, who are more than happy to take my plants off my hands.

When to buy versus when not to buy; that is the question to which there is an actual answer. This is the time of year when people plant. They want to get out of the house, into the garden center and they plant flowers. Now here's the real catch; if you walk in the perennial sections (plants that come back every year), you'll find a lot of spring bloomers up and going. That's from April to June. And then those flowering suckers drop off, remaining green for the rest of the season. Everyone's routine problem is going into the greenhouse and buying magically what looks like it might remain for the rest of the year. What you see blooming now when you walk into the greenhouse is what is flowering now, not later.

If you are out in the garden late July, early August, and I mean sitting and enjoying the garden, you want to buy during that time with the bloomers of that period (which is late summer, early fall). There's June/July bloomers, some of August, but I find those have a short life of a month before they drop off, become green. Sometimes like the  Salvia 'may nights' (commonly known as Sage/ the one in the picture is caradonna I think?), you can lope off the blooms when they're finished and by the end of the season, they'll give you another flowering. But most aren't so generous with a double flowering season. Just be aware of that when you walk into the greenhouse, of the time of year you're buying and that perennials are seasonal bloomers that revolve around a 2 month period. That means you need to go to the garden center during the time that you want to sit outside and stare at your flowers blooming. Not at greenery.

Personally, I like my end of season bloomers. I get more out of them in the July/August/September period and that's when I shop. Outside of my Peonies, my garden is usually the ugliest in the earlier spring. Well, outside of this poppy that I had, which I happily gave to my neighbor upon the announcement that I was moving, I tend not to have any spring bloomers. And honestly, Garden Centers could use a little help during the July/August/September period when Clientele drop off and all they see is the landscapers picking up orders. It's nice to give them something to do and make their days interesting, other than moving plants around, unloading trucks and otherwise, picking the ever loving weeds out of plant pots. Support your local garden centers. By doing that, you're supporting your local growers and they have it tough. If you don't support them, who will and where will our growing industry be in ten years? It's that much of a precarious balance.