Impulse Buying

How many gardeners have purchased a plant on impulse? Show of hands, please. Everyone? I thought so.

How many of those impulse purchases have worked out?
How many of those impulse purchases have not worked out?

Experience has taught me that sometimes you find a plant that you are attracted to, that you don't know much about, but there is only one for sale, so you have to act fast.

You have to take a chance that the plant will work out in your own garden.

I acted fast today when I saw this plant. I read the tag, nothing scary on it. I checked the price. Quite reasonable. It didn't really matter to me that this plant was being sold outside the grocery store along with more common coneflowers, black-eyed susans, rose-of-sharons and some grasses. It was a bit of a hodge-podge collection of plants fors sale but this one plant stood out.

Look at that variegated foliage!

I like variegated foliage, so I always stop to look at any plant with variegated leaves that I don't recognize right away, no matter where it is. That's how I came to acquire the stunning tall phlox, 'Creme de Menthe'.

Do you recognize this one, my new variegated plant? It's Caryopteris divaricata 'Snow Fairy'. I've grown Caryopteris before, so I knew it was a shrub-like perennial that dies back to the ground each year, like butterfly bushes. The common name is Bluebeard, because it usually has little blue flowers on it in August. When I saw that this perennial was a Bluebeard, I assumed that it would also die back each year and probably have blue flowers late in the summer. I also knew exactly where I would put it. And I knew I should get it because it had variegated leaves.

That thought process took about ten seconds before I put it in my cart and proceeded to go grocery shopping.

When I got home, I did an online search to get more information on my new plant and the first hit I got was this one. Is this my lucky day, or what? I think I'm going to be very happy with this new plant. I'll plant it tomorrow, I know just the spot where it should go.

You know what else made me happy today?

I had sweet corn after breakfast as a snack. I picked another ear of corn, buttered it up, wrapped it wax paper and microwaved it for a minute or so. It was so good, and tender and sweet, like candy.


It's raining. Yes, it... is... raining! The first rain came through around 6:30 PM, one of those "pop up" storms that leaves about one tenth of an inch of rain. And now it is raining again. I don't expect the total rainfall to be much more than a quarter of an inch, but it is enough rain that I don't have to run the sprinklers this weekend. It was a good decision to procrastinate, I mean consciously decide not to water with sprinklers, earlier this morning.

This has been a happy day.


  1. All in all a great day, Carol! I love Caryopteris, or Blue Mist Shrub as we call it at the garden center, because it's blooming in August when little else is. The variegation of the one you got is an even more added attraction.

    And the buttered sweet corn ?! Well, that was just the finale to a wonderful day.

  2. Yes I have impulse bought several times. I'm not proud of it. Sometimes the plants didn't work out.

    Speaking of microwaving an ear of corn. When my parents first got their first and only microwave(still in use). I zapped a ear of corn in it on 4 minutes. It was new and i didn't know how to stop it. Opps!

  3. The corn sounds great and the variegated caryopteris looks wonderful. Its scent of cat urine may turn out to be a positive asset, Carol - the rabbits may decide that if there's cat pee around, there must be a cat, and leave!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. Carol, I want one! Variegated, and it gets blue curls on it? You are so lucky! Yes, I impulse buy on plants. One of my favorites was also in front of the grocery store and it was Northern Sea Oats. I didn't know what it was then but it turned out to be a great plant that I thoroughly enjoy.

    What do you know, we had almost the same thing for breakfast. Except mine was popcorn, not buttered corn. But I did cook it in the microwave.

  5. Carol, did you read Annie's comment? Maybe when you smell it you can blame it on Jake. By the way, I wonder if Jake will think there is another cat in your yard? It rained here too, but it just poured for a while, so maybe we got a little more than you did

  6. Carolyn Gail... Thanks for the comment. I do love the variegated foliage on this one. The ones I had before did have a habit of self-sowing a bit, maybe this one will, too, and be true to type?

    Curtis... We ALL impulse buy, so don't be ashamed. And sweet corn microwaved for 4 minutes. Ugh, it probably came out pretty gummy.

    Annie in Austin... it is only supposed to have that smell when the foliage is crushed, and I haven't checked that out yet. But I will when I plant it. This one is going up closer to the house, so it might have the reverse effect and keep the rabbits in the garden!

    LostRoses... You might check your own grocery store to see if they have one. And for breakfast, I actually had zucchini quiche pie, tomato slices, iced green tea and some yogurt. The sweet corn was my after-breakfast-after-harvest snack. I'll probably have another ear of corn for a snack in just a little bit. Really, popcorn for breakfast??

    Eleanor...I haven't seen Jake in a while. I think his owners are doing a better job at keeping him inside. He's always welcome in my garden.

    Thanks all for the comments!
    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  7. I have bought so many plants that caught my eye in the plant stores but when I get them home I procrastinate in planting them and because we have had a wickedly
    HOT DRY summer most have perished before I got around to
    Too bad because I had a few unique plants...I still have several that sit in a shaded spot waiting to be planted..perhaps you have inspired me or reminded me!!
    We need rain so in the meantime I get out the sprinkler every other day!

    Today I posted a varigated plant I think you would like! hugs NG

  8. Impulse buy? Not me. Huh-uh. Never.

    *breaks out in a fit of uncontrollable laughter*

    Good job on the caryopteris! I've got a plain green one, and it's got bunches of flower buds on it right now. I can't wait to see it bloom, because I just planted it last fall and I've never seen its blooms yet.

  9. I have never bought a plant on an impulse--this week, at least. (giggle giggle.) Last year I bought a caryopteris on a whim--and it's doing fine. This year I'm cold testing two Colorchoice selections: Petit Bleu (a compact one) and Sunshine Blue (with gold foliage). We'll see how they do.
    As for corn for breaky--don't think I could go that, either sweet or popped, but a little later in the day....(this from a woman who eats cod tongues and cheeks for breakfest!)

  10. Oh, I never buy anything on impulse, especially not plants. Ha ha ha ha ha! Maniacal laughter.

    Lucky you, to get some rain. We got about 2/3 of an inch Friday night and it was a true blessing. We are back to hot and dry, and so I'll need to water out in the veggies.

    I had fun today taking pictures of butterflies over at one of my friend's garden.

  11. All of my purchases have been well thought out, part of the plan and within budget. That's my story & I'm sticking with it. :)

    A blue mist shrub has been on my wish list for awhile now but the only place I've seen them is ebay so far so I'd say you got a lucky find indeed!

    I hope you sent the rain clouds on this way, because I could sure use some.

  12. That very same plant...well, not the very same plant...was an impulse buy for me last summer in Asheville...we visited the really nice farmer's market there and I ended up draggin a mini-van full of plants home with us :)

    I thought I lost it when it went to the ground last winter..but the plant is up & full & bushy...but no blooms yet...maybe here soon :)

  13. Far too often. Sometimes, I read up about it afterwards and think hey great! Other times like the fateful day I purchased that varigated mint like plant with the purple, yellow and green leaves. Its name is escaping me but anyhow, I did not plant it in my garden. Instead I left it potted and stuck it in my pond where it is pretty but significantly away from any garden plants. I think its common name is fish mint.

  14. Bummer, the rain missed us. I sure hope we get some this week, or I will have to start watering again.

  15. Nice looking plant...I think you scored on that one. How wonderful to have some rain....we are in the middle of fire season here and the air is filled with smoke from forest fires. Rain would be a huge blessing!

  16. All... thanks for the comments. I think I've confirmed not only that all of us buy plants on impulse, but that many of us try to hide those purchases. For shame! Buy impulsively, and buy proudly!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens


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