Monday, July 24, 2006

A midsummer gardener's nightmare

When you need your garden to look fabulous at a time of year when most gardens are just a bit past their peak (way past for gardens in Southern and other warmer climes), you develop a rather dysfunctional relationship with area vendors. I’ve found that the serious nurseries on whom I depend in the early part of the summer offer very little at this time—usually just a few sad perennials and incredibly rootbound annuals. However, regular monitoring of the offerings at Home Depot can offer unexpected rewards. In addition to the aforementioned sad and rootbound prisoners, on Friday trucks had just unloaded huge, cactus-flowered dahlia plants, covered in buds and blooms. For $6.99!

I love the shaggy overblown look of big dahlias. I also love buying them full –grown, as I rarely can offer the amount of sun dahlias need for a sturdy, upright habit. So, yeah, the dahlias, and a few other things as well: yellow echinacea (yes, one of my least favorite plants, fickle prevaricator that I am), and some double daylilies, which were actually rather nice. I had not heard of either of these hybrids before. I managed to resist the daylilies; I just don’t have that kind of space.

Yet, yet. As with one hand Home Depot caters to last minute garden freakouts, with the other hand, they pretend that it’s “too late in the season” to offer their usual curbside bags of black mulch and other necessities of the exhibition garden. I find this depressing. We’re only halfway through the summer! (And, no, I also don’t appreciate the outdoor living section of our otherwise lovely supermarket, Wegman’s, being filled with back to school stuff.)

Greenhouses and nurseries, listen up. It’s still summer. We’re still gardening.


Carol said...

Amen! And when fall comes around and it is really a good time to plant, some "home depot" garden centers are closing up shop, just when some of us have serious money we could spend on landscaping!

Annie in Austin said...

Well, Carol - once Labor Day is past, the store needs the room to put out the Christmas decorations. The gardeners are no longer the market they're aiming at.

EAL, exactly what is black mulch? Is it dyed black wood chips? I have a feeling that the kinds of available mulch changes with locality - "Native Texas Hardwood Mulch" is very popular here.

EAL said...

It's a very fine-textured mulch--not chips--and is black (probably dyed, though it didn't leave any black on my hands). Cedar is the wood, I think, judging from the smell. It provides a good context for plants, especially those with variegated foliage, and isn't as intrusive as the chips.