Thursday, April 30, 2009

Visiting greenhouses and garden centers

and helping the local economy;)

I love visiting the greenhouses, garden centers and even the box store's garden sections. It's fun looking for new things and finding old favorites to bring home.

Yesterday afternoon I made the rounds. Starting at Menards, which is closest, I found a couple good buys. First a tiny hosta named Blue Mouse Ears. Who wouldn't love a plant named mouse ears? I haven't added a hosta to my garden in years because of the virus problem but I decided to put this little fellow in an isolated spot where it has no contact with my other hostas.

Next I found purple garden phlox, two for $3, can't beat that. Finishing up with a few annuals and I was off to my next stop.

Home Depot, their plant selection was disappointing but I did pick up a new pair of pruners. Pruners are more or less disposable items to me. I lose them. Last year John Deere found two of my pruning saws. What a mess. I haven't seen my bypass pruners in quite a while. Maybe John will find them too. I need to paint these new pruners 'dayglo' orange before I ever take them out of the house.

(In the box phlox, caladium, sweet potato vine, annual geranium 'Jewel')

Didier Greenhouse has been here since before I was born. It's always been my favorite and it never disappoints. They have both the usual and the unusual and their plants are in top condition. My best find at Didiers was Victoria salvia, huge pots blooming and extremely healthy. I set the pots out in my garden to judge their impact in several locations.

(Victoria salvia in big pots)

I haven't tried Victoria before but they look like they could become a favorite. Lots of you bloggers have mentioned them favorably on your sites.

Next I found some deliciously colored petunias for ever blooming accents in pots and between perennials. I passed the Lady in Red salvia which was a mistake. I will definitely go back for that one.

They had lots of tomato plants , even a few heirlooms so I added two Mortgage Lifters and a Rutgers.

Feeling very pleased with myself I loaded up the trunk and headed home. I have several other garden centers to visit but that will be another day.

Now comes the hard part. Except for the phlox and the hosta, none of these plants can be put into the garden or even into heavy containers until after the last frost date, May 15. That means constant watering and tending. I also foresee a lot of dragging them into and out of the garage on cold nights. It will be worth the extra effort to finally have some color even if it's only sitting in a box on the driveway;)

It's been a pretty good season for daffodils. The temperatures have been low and the rain plentiful. The plants below have kept their color for quite a long period but are starting to fade.

Most of the daffodil bulbs were added to the garden last fall. Next fall I hope to find a wider variety to include for next spring's bloom.


Unknown said...

I can't get enough of the colors and textures. I want to spend every penny that I have ever earned when I walk into garden centers!

Susie said...

Be glad you don't work in a nursery Marnie. Half of my paycheck goes out in plants. Everything that comes I new I feel like I have to have.

You will enjoy the Victoria blue salvia. Easy to grow and care for.

Looks like you got some great plants from your outing. Enjoy!!!

Gail said...

May 15! We'll be in full summer then, so we can enjoy your extended spring! It's so exciting to head to a nursery...I'm afraid I lost my head and a good piece of my plant budget yesterday! You have gread additions for the garden...have you tried the draping method that southerns use? If it's going to be a light frost we cover the pllants with sheets. A big one-> inside they go! I keep bumping into the Rutgers tomato...have you tasted it before? Btw, I love the last photo it's a beautiful vignette. gail

joey said...

Oh yes, lots of goodies, Marnie ... I'm off to the Farmer's Market before the rain ...Yipee!

TC said...

I don't mind the taking in and bringing out chore; it means the growing season is really here! Looks like you'll have a great one too!

I've fallen away from my love of hostas, and can't really explain it. I've several varieties of blues, and others that either need transplanting or lots of TLC.

Unknown said...

I'm with Gail...May 15th!!! My word. You got some great plant picks there, it will be worth it for sure.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Marnie, I grow so much from seed that I usually don't buy too much from nurseries (except shrubs) but it IS fun to go and look... and of course then I buy. I thought you were going to say you hadn't planted a hosta in so long because you get so many as divisions... had no idea they get a disease. Have fun planting!

Rose said...

My favorite kind of shopping--plant shopping! I also visited a couple garden centers yesterday and one the day before. So far it's been mostly window shopping, looking for ideas, but I couldn't help buying a few things. Besides waiting for the last frost date, it's raining nonstop here, so everything will have to wait to be planted for awhile.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who loses pruners:) Mr. John Deere (here it's Mr. Kubota) hasn't found any yet, but a pair did mangage to over-winter outside last year.

You're going to love those Victoria salvia--they're one of my favorite annuals!

tina said...

I did not realize how far behind us you are in your zone! You are like in the same zone as my mother in Maine. The plants will be okay for a few more weeks and what good deals. I really like the two phlox for $3. And I am still looking for volcano phlox. I think it was yours? What a fun day to load up your car with plants!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Flowergirl1, I know what you mean. I buy something and then come home and find I don't have a place for it;)

Hi Susie, I would love to work in a nursery--it would be a financial disaster because I'd spend my whole paycheck there, but what a great job.

Hey Gail, I do put sheets over plants if they are in the ground but I move them inside if they are still in pots. The Rutgers are OK, not as good as Black Krim, Kellogs Breakfast (yes that really is a tomato name and they are GOOD), Cherokee Purple, or Brandywine. Those 4 are the best.

Hey Joey, hope you show us what you get.

TC, I'm disenchanted with hostas too. Not going to rip them out but I'm sick to death of slug damage and I'm not replacing mine with all new heavy leaved varieties. BTW, Mouse Ears is very heavy leaved.

Hi Darla, yes Northern Illinois has a climate similar to Iceland's (kidding);) It is cold here until June then it is very, very hot until September.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Monica, there is a very serious virus that effects hostas and it is rampant in box store plants. Mr McGregor's Daughter did a post about it sometime last year. Also, Garden Web's Hosta forum talks about it a lot.

I have a lot of annuals started from seed but no petunias. The salvia was an impulse and I went back for lady in red salvia.

Hi Rose, I love Victoria, already. I'm so glad I found these big, blooming plants or I may have never tried it. My pruners, what a joke. Put them down for a moment and some evil elf steals them. I'm glad to hear they overwinter well;)

Hey Tina, I'm looking for more Volcano Phlox too. I'm obsessed with them, I want every color. Let me know if you find some and I'll do the same.


Kathleen said...

I'm right there with you on loving the plant shopping Marnie. It's so exciting to make the rounds and see what's new and collect old favorites. I love 'Lady in Red' Salvia ~ it's one of my must haves for hummingbirds every summer. I hope you go back for it. Our last frost date is around yours too although I always go ahead and plant perennials from the first of April on. I've never lost one yet doing that. Annuals I drag back and forth from the kitchen table to my patio table. ugh. It gets old fast but I've learned that the "good stuff" sells fast so I grab it early! Great purchases and lovely photo of the daffodils in your garden.

flydragon said...

We haven't hit the garden centers yet, but will probably go next week. Can't wait!!! What a huge Victoria Salvia that is!!! I always start these from seed and of course mine are only about 5-6" tall right now:) I love these, they're so easy to grow, and have a zillion seeds to save for the following year.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I share your facility for losing pruners. Mine have orange handles & I still lose them outside. At least mine get left in the garden, where the mower can't get them.
I've never been to Didier's for plants, only for pumpkins. I should pop over there one of these days.
I love the look of the Daffodils amongst the rocks. It really makes them stand out.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

It is good that you are helping the economy. I hate to leave my tools outside. I do it ever so often. I have learned that a leather holster for my hand pruners is the best investment. It keeps them handy and out of the lawn. Just reading about your finds makes me want to go shopping. :)

BeadedTail said...

What a beautiful variety you have! I walk into a nursery and get visually overloaded and confused and end up with nothing. I can't picture anything together and don't know what goes with what or where. I'm a mess!

Balisha said...

You have a nice selection there. You haunt the same places that I do.Weren't those huge hanging baskets at Didier's beautiful? I asked the price...was told they would be around $80 - $85. A little pricey for me, but beatiful nontheless.

sweetbay said...

Plant shopping is fun isn't it?!

Beth said...

I love bouncing around to different garden centers too. I could blow a whole day doing that. Not sure my wallet would survive it though!
None of the garden centers are selling annuals yet around here. We're about a week away ...

troutbirder said...

I love it though I force myself to wait for May 15th which is our frost free date here on the tundra.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Kathleen, your right the best plants sell fast so you have to get them early. So far our nights haven't gotten below the 40's so everything but the seedlings stay out. If we do get frost it going to take me a long time to move everything out of harms way.

Hi Flydragon, I can't wait to get them planted. I also got some small ones but will save the seed for next year.

Hi MMD, glad to hear I'm not the only one who loses garden tools. I have to remember to start wearing my tool belt and putting the pruners in it.

Good morning Lisa, I have a tool belt but first I have to remember to wear it and next to put the pruners in it;) Too easily distracted.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi BeadedTail, I don't really have a talent for garden design either. I just buy what looks good to me and plant it where I have room. It's hard for flowers to look bad no matter where they are.

Balisha, I absolutely loved those huge hanging baskets. Yipes, $85 is even more than I guessed. We could always buy the plants separately and probably get the same thing for $35 but it would take a while for the plants to fill out like Didier's already were.

Hi SweetBay, I know. I never go to shoe sales and don't have lots of purses or jewelry, but plants are a necessity;)

Beth I went looking Wed evening and found nothing out, Saturday and the garden centers were full. Some huge trucks just must have pulled in Friday and 'instant garden center'. Happy shopping!

Troutbirder, I would have thought your last frost date would have been much later. You must be at least 250 miles north of me.


F Cameron said...

Marnie - you have some great plants! I can't imagine frost until May 15th -- April 15th is difficult enough, but it seems to always frost on the 17th! Your spring daffs are beautiful and I love the stone wall behind them. We're off on vacation starting Monday, but I'll have some photos on auto-schedule while we're away. Have a great weekend (and next week). I'll check back on your blog when I can, but I'm leaving my laptop at home.

Randy said...

That's quite a haul you got there, Marnie! I'm trying to stay out of garden centers until after we go on vacation. LOL

Dog_geek said...

Mouse ears!! Adorable! I'm planning on perusing some plants this weekend, but I'm just bringing home whatever I find and putting it straight in the ground!

Sherri said...

Marnie, I think you did very well at the garden center! What a great collection of plants! Enjoy!

moosh said...

Sounds like you have a lot of choicesfor plants and plant centers.If I want something beside petunias i have to grow from seed.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Cameron, have a wonderful trip and take lots of photos.

Jamie and Randy, I understand that. Can't leave a bunch of new plants 'home alone';)

Hi DogGeek, you don't have to worry about late frosts there. You only have to worry about puppy help in the garden;)

Hey Moosh, it used to be that way here too, no selection. It's getting better now.


Hi Sherri, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great choices Marnie. I love Victoria Blue Salvia, of course I've never been disappointed with any of the varieties in my garden. :) Mouse Ears is an adorable Hosta. Looks like your garden is popping with color. My Daffs are long since spent.

Naturegirl said...

Marnie! Shopping in plant stores certainly lift spirits and give a push into the it is a slow Spring..grey skies rain and just not a fun time in my garden.

raccoonlover1963/Lisa Myers said...

Hi Marnie.
Thanks for the visit this morning. Love your flowers. They are beautiful! I am going to try to start a butterfly garden this year. I have seeds for milkweed and will get some teasles, but still have to figure out what part of the yard I want to use. Need more flowers too!
Take care and have a great weekend.

beckie said...

Marnie, may I go shopping with you next time?? Love your selections and am sure you will enjoy them. I haven't really started buying yet. Too wet ans a couple of weeks from the last frost date are a couple of the reasons. The other is I am saving some of my budget for Spring Fling, hoping to find must haves for the garden.

Kim said...

What a fantastic haul of flowers and I love your reasoning that you're supporting local economy. I shall try that on my husband and head off to the Garden Center :)

Kim x

100 Thoughts of Love said...

ditto the pruners...and I tend to cut things like wire,plastic, wood stakes, etc with them as well...they don't ever work quite right after a year at my house!

A Wild Thing said...

I just had a friend drop off Walmart bags full of freshly dug hostas, ferns, jonquils and rhubarb plants...guess what I'll be doing this weekend...too!

have a good one!


Teresa said...

I like the picture of your daffodils.
They are a cheery sypring, don't ou think?

Here in WA the daffs are done, the tulips are midseason and the lilacs are only days away from filling the air with their perfume.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
You got some great finds there ... I had to chuckle at your petunias ... those are the exact same ones we put out last year and will be looking for more this year. We have such good taste in petunias, eh? :-)

We went to an upscale nursery today and saw some of that Victoria Salvia, I think I'll look for some of that somewhere a bit cheaper. We just got an enormous Hellebore plant (12-14") that's in bloom called 'Ivory Prince.' It was a bit pricey but worth it! Also got some more Primroses, a Purple sedum and purple Campanula... I restrained myself and didn't get a Hibiscus! :-)

We did get some clean up done and planted 54 Snapdragons and the Primroses... lots more for Sunday! At least we are having nice weather and no rain at least for a few dsys!

Nan and =^..^= said...

Hi Marnie,
I enjoyed tagging along to see what treasures you might find at your garden centers. Our last frost occurs around the same time as yours!
Beautiful photo of your daffodils!

oldcrow61 said...

I know what it's like dragging plants in and out before the last frost. Every year I tell myself that I'm not going through it again but alas, I just can't stop myself from going to the greenhouses and coming home with loads of plants. You've bought some great looking plants.

Gayle@Mountain Moma said...

I can't wait to go by my flowers for the summer. It is a special day to go buy some of your summer flowers. I have loved my daff's this year as well, I have big plans for a fall planting and even more the following spring.

Rock River Stitches said...

Marnie, Where in northern IL are you? I'm in the NW part. Rock Island. Had to ask because you said you get your bird seed at Farm & Fleet and that's where I get mine too. And we have a Menards also. I'm going to stop by there today to see if I can find that blue mouse ear hosta you talked about. I LOVE hostas and have a ton of them.


Rock River Stitches said...

Oh forgot to add, I did see a indigo bunting last week on my feeder. Did you see the pic I took of it last week? It's on my blog.


Rock River Stitches said...

Marnie, I stopped by Menards yesterday and they only had a bunch of hanging baskets. They had tables set up for bedding plants but didn't have any yet. Will keep checking.


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Your loot looks like mine did yesterday but mine are already in the ground. And your daffodils do look so fresh. I'm going to order this soon for Autumn planting.

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