Supposedly, you should never go grocery shopping when you are hungry because you are likely to buy more food than you need.
And you are supposed to write up a grocery list while you are still at home and then stick to it at the grocery store to avoid over spending.
Please note that these "rules of shopping" do not apply to shopping for plants.
First of all, after a long winter, your appetite and hunger for new plants can't be satisfied until you go shopping for them.
And lists? It's fine to have a list for the "staples" of the garden that you might need, like tomato plants, but it is pretty limiting to stick to a list when you don't know what new and exciting plants you'll find at the garden center.
What a fuddy-duddy of a gardener you would be if you saw a plant that was different, that you'd never seen before, that you wanted, and then you checked your 'list' to see if it was on it. And then seeing that it wasn't on your list, you didn't get it.
Of course it wouldn't be on your list, you didn't know about it until just that minute when you saw it. But that shouldn't stop you from getting that plant you just fell in love with.
(Disclaimer here... what might stop you from getting a new plant is if you know absolutely nothing about it, such as is it invasive, how big will it get, is it really hardy in your area, etc. If you know nothing about a plant, ask some questions before you buy, and the more expensive the plant, the more questions you should ask. When my sister sees a plant she likes but knows nothing about, she calls me. If I don't know anything about the plant, I look it up in one of my books or on the Internet, while she is on the phone, and then tell her yes or no. Sometimes it is "yes, and get one for me, too". Sometimes, unfortunately it is "no absolutely not, and don't come whining to me when that plant takes over your backyard." You might set up a system like that with one of your siblings or a gardening friend when you are out shopping for plants...)
The Exotic Impatien, 'Glow Improved', pictured above was a plant I didn't know about until I saw it at one of my favorite places to buy plants. I was there on Thursday and they did not have these plants. Then I stopped by on Friday afternoon to get just a few more plants for some containers and there they were. Yes, they had just gotten them in. Yes, I should have one or two or three. Yes, I got some.
Which reminds me that they say you should limit your visits to the grocery store to avoid impulse purchases. I do the opposite with garden centers. I like to stop by frequently, especially in the spring, because they might have some new plants that they didn't have the last time I was there. And I wouldn't want to miss out on them.
So my advice is don't shop for plants like you shop for groceries. Give in to your inner gardener and splurge a bit at the garden centers. After all, spring comes only once a year.
For those living around Indianapolis, one of my favorite places to shop for annuals and perennials is a local greenhouse called Court's Yard and Greenhouse. Courtney, the owner, grows a lot of what she sells with the help of her mom and what she doesn't grow, she gets from other local growers. They are located at 609 W. Epler Ave, across the street from Adrian Orchard and during the month of May, they are usually open from 8 AM to 8 PM. If you go, tell them you found out about them from this blog.