Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Sale

This weekend was the one I'd been waiting for since we moved into the new place. My favorite nursery had all perennials half off starting on Friday. Given my recent work situation, I found myself quite free on Friday morning and I was ready to show up at 8 a.m. and fight the old ladies for the hostas. Well, thanks to a late-night, action-packed BSU game, I didn't make it there until 9:15 and I didn't actually have to fight anyone for my hostas. The nursery was packed, however, and everyone looked as delighted as I was to spend a cool Friday morning wandering around the greenhouses. Being underemployed really has its upside!

I went for the herbs and veggies first and bought rosemary for a patio pot. Next I got an everbearing red raspberry, even though I don't have a place to put it yet. I've never grown any berries (obviously, since this is my first garden) and just couldn't resist. Some women can't say no to shoes that are 50% off. I can't say no to plants. I'd like to pretend that's more noble. In any case, I then made my way to the hostas and heucheras. I got a "Frances Williams" and "Gypsy Rose" hosta and two "Coral Bells" heucheras (mostly, I think, because I like to say 'heuchera'). I grabbed a "Clair de lune" clematis, which I swore would be the first plant I bought for the new house. I picked up a ground cover for under the crazy tree in front of the house and a sun flower for The Boyfriend. (Which isn't a perennial, as it turns out. Or at least it wasn't half off. The things I do for him . . . ) Finally, I couldn't say no to a beautiful $1.00 geranium. (Come on! It was $1.00!) I loaded it all in my car with great satisfaction. Later in the weekend we stopped at another store and purchased three more hostas ("Wide Brim") and three Lily of the Valley plants.

There is something so gratifying about planting perennials. I think part of it is the feeling of permanency. I've never lived anywhere long enough to really care about planting something that would come back the next year. I've watched seasons change through trees at apartment complexes and rhododendrons at dorms and sorority houses, but there is something very removed and detached about it all. Having my own house and yard makes me feel like a part of the whole process. I can't wait to watch the plants next year and the year after that, their new roots gradually becoming stronger and deeper and becoming a part of this place.

There is also something ridiculous about buying perennials. When else would you pay good money (even at half off!) for a homely looking plant that has been cut back to nothing but a stub? We bought some plants that barely have a shoot of green sticking out of the soil. Here's crossing our fingers for accurate pictures on the tags! But that's also the fun of it and the benefit for our black thumbs. They can only look better next year, right?

The final perennial acquisitions this weekend were cuttings from my mom's grasses. Although you could hardly tell that we chopped and butchered her enormous grasses, we took quite a few good bunches home to add to the side of the house. With all our plants laid out, we set to planting, which turned out to be the most challenging part, thanks mostly to the various debris and random cement slabs embedded in our yard. However, we got all our plants in the yard (although not exactly where we had planned due to the aforementioned cement slabs) and I'm quite happy with the result.

Among my favorite additions to our space are a hearty and perseverant hydrangea and azalea that have toughed it out with me in various locations and various pots since the spring. I'm pulling for them more than I should and I've attached way too much sentimental value to these two survivors, but that's the kind of year it's been. I think sometimes we find hope in the most unlikely places, but when I saw that azalea putting out new blossoms last week I was reminded again that it really is about the little things.

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