Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday morning's haul.....I was bad!...of course I can't help myself...

Believe it or not, most of these plants, including three I had not encountered before, came from a Box Store: Dietes bicolor, a South African yellow flowered irid with "peacock eyespots"; Chrysothemis pulchella 'Black Flamingo', a dark-leafed Gesneriad with yellow and orange flowers native to Central America and the Caribbean; and Hamelia macrantha, a dwarf version of Hamelia patens, one of my favorite plants in the Florida garden. The Dietes and the Hamelia will go into the garden, 'Black Flamingo' will go north and spend the winter inside. Also for the garden I got a 1 gallon pot of Jatropha multifida, an obscenely red large shrub that will attract hummingbirds. I had one earlier, but killed it, I think, by watering it at Christmas just two weeks before temperatures fell to 25. It's not dependably hardy in 9a anyway, but I see it around; maybe it may be a die-back here.

Because plants are so inexpensive down here we tend to use potted flowering things in place of cut flowers. Two Curcumas potted together provide a nice flowering arrangement for the big urn on the screen porch and will come back to Adelphi to be bedded out for the balance of the summer along with a dwarf orange Heliconia. Couldn't resist a dark maroony pink cultivar of Spathiglottis, or Philippine Ground Orchid; that'll go north as well. It's perfectly hardy here but it can't take the winter drought. And finally a flea-market Cattleya and a Phalaenopsis just for color.

I've been shopping the nurseries, garden centers, box stores, and flea markets down here regularly for four years and have never seen the variety, the quality, or the prices I saw this time at Home Depot; while they typically have the best selection, their prices this time were very low and the quality was outstanding. I shop for and buy plants anywhere I can find them, but I have to give this store credit. Prices are down, I estimate, 20-30%. That makes sense in light of the economy but I've not seen plants in this good condition before outside of a growing facility. They were perfect. And all three of the new plants came from Home Depot. Wow. I must say in fairness that I didn't go to any Lowes but I did hit four WalMarts and they weren't even in the ballpark. HD seems to have the best handle on plants both here and back north.

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