Today I did a little plant shopping and I have come to the conclusion that I really need to avoid such places where plants are sold in bulk quantities.
I started out my morning at Home Depot. I did not go there to buy plants, but rather to buy a gigundous bag of my favorite container soil mix. I was going to fill all my containers today and Home Depot is the only place locally that sells the compact car size bags of this soil (and bonus for under $15).
Walking through the Home Depot plant section is a painful experience for me. Of all the big box stores in the world, Home Depot is the worse as far as less than helpful employees and plant care. I cringed as I hurried past a poor woman who was told by the clueless cashier that the entire cart of plants she had were indeed perennials (they were annuals). I shied away from the section that contained the bishop’s weed and English ivy. The temptation is too great to dash the whole shelf to the ground and declare that that I have saved the current customer from a fate worse than shrubbery.
Don’t get me wrong, I have tried in the past to interfere but it is never received kindly. You see, I don’t posses the all knowing orange vest that seems to imply knowledge of all things green and growing. I am just a lowly customer who surely is as ignorant as they are. Why else would I be in Home Depot? My advice is seen as a rude intrusion. I keep my head down and pay… quickly. The security guard has just informed another customer that applying twice as much fertilizer is sure to have only a positive effect.
My next stop is Pettiti’s. This is just evidence that my addiction knows no price tag. I need cool plants. I need unusual plants. Hirt’s, my previous supplier of unusual annuals, has not had any for two years now and I am a desperate woman. I simply can’t take another year of nothing but plain jane petunias and gaudy salvia.
So I cross the threshold of the Oakwood Village Pettiti’s and I am dazzled by the splendor. Massive, tall pots that sell for $200. Not one, but literally hundreds, all lined up and color coded for effect. Patio furniture that costs more than my own car. Statuary that you only find in Shaker and Hudson gardens is stacked carelessly along one wall like the $7000 price tags mean nothing at all. Oh my god, is this heaven or is this hell. I do not know.
My synapses are starting to misfire so I hurry past.
The plant section is not much better. Beautiful plants. Wonderful plants. Fabulous plants. The really wonderful annuals are not sold by the flat. They are only sold in 4″ pots. 4″ annuals are $5 each. Breathe woman, breathe. You can do this. You have to do this.
I rifle through each section of the annuals that I want to buy. I feel the stems and peek under the foliage. I am looking for the pots that have two or three plants each, a mistake made by some careless worker while they repotted the plants for resale. I can tear the bases apart this way and get a little bit more plant for my money.
The employees eye me sideways, the customers are oblivious. They pick out $200 pots and fill a single pot with $300 more in plants (they buy the 6″ pots at $12 a pop). I am a gardener and even I have trouble doing that. This is the frightening power of Pettiti’s gardening.
While standing in line at the register, I begin to suffer from sticker shock. I even slip enough to tell the cashier that the dahlia the woman in front of me is buying is indeed sold as an annual as they would otherwise need to be dug up each year. The cashier thanks me but sees the signs. Sticker shock in customers is contagious so she takes evasive action. She rings quickly and offers me a plastic sheet for my trunk. I say yes, then no, then yes. Oh, save me, I just don’t know! She hands it to me and gently pushes me out the front door. “Go home, ” she says, “Go home and plant your flowers. You will feel better.”
I do that. It’s the only thing I can do. I need to stay away from these places. They are just not good for my mental health.