Gardening Vacation 2007 - Monday.
I decided this morning that I needed a break from planting, after re-doing the hosta bed yesterday. Instead, I thought I would relax by going plant shopping!
As everyone knows, running around in the spring to buy plants for containers and annuals can take a lot of time. There is no single garden center or nursery or big box store that has everything you want and need.
Today I went to three independents and three big boxes with a friend of mine who relies on me to help her buy her plants each spring. I'm off to a good start, but nowhere near done. My friend, on the other hand, has most all the plants she wants.
The little blue flower above is a close up of Bermuda Blue-Eyed Grass, Sisyrinchium bermudianum, that I bought at one garden center. And here's the whole plant.
I challenge anyone to pass this plant up. The tag didn't list the hardiness zone, so I looked it up when I got home. My searches were inconclusive. It could be hardy to only zone 6 or it could be hardy in zone 5 (my zone) or even zone 4. I'll just give it some extra winter projection and hope for the best.
Some would say that this plant wasn't a smart purchase, not knowing what the hardiness zone was. Did you know you can't assume when you buy a perennial in a zone 5 garden center that it is hardy to zone 5? And I'm not talking just about buying from big box stores who sometimes sell plants here from the south *gasp* that might not survive our winters. I'm talking about buying from garden centers where the staff should know better.
One shopping tip I give people who ask is don't buy a tree or shrub in the spring that is more leafed out than the trees and shrubs already growing around here. To me, that's a sign it was brought in from a southern state, and while it is probably hardy here, it might not be. I know, that tip only works when you shop early for trees and shrubs. But I also have no problem asking the garden center where their trees and shrubs came from and if they came from too far south, I don't buy them. Too far south for me is Tennessee and points south of that.
I think I'll be okay with this perennial, I would have bought it even as a container plant. But it is "buyer beware" when buying a perennial that doesn't include the hardiness zone information on the tag.
Now how about this purchase? Was it a smart purchase?
I say Yes. This is a dwarf iris, variety 'Smart'. Hardy to zone 3! Both it and the Blue-Eyed Grass are going in my replanted perennial bed where I can keep an eye on them. They'll add some much needed early color there, because there are no other early bloomers in that bed, other than some columbine. They will also stay fairly small and well-behaved, which is a requirement for being planted in that flower bed. I have another flower bed for the perennials that spread and self-sow.
By the way, I did not intend to buy perennials today, but I ended up with four. I really was after container plants, really I was. But this was my first plant shopping trip of the season and I had been good all spring about not buying plants too soon and I had the new perennial bed with some open spots and you all know how you can get all confused at the garden centers especially ones where the plants all look well-tended and loved and practically scream out "buy me" and my shopping list was in my head not written down and the sun was shining and did I mention it was my first day of plant shopping?
Tomorrow, I should plant what I bought today to keep up and not end up with all these plants that I am trying to plant next Sunday. And I will plant a bunch early in the morning. But as soon as the garden centers open, I'll head out again, and this time I will get some container plants and annuals and I'll have a shopping list and a better plan. I will!