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I needed a can of insulating foam to seal a couple of cracks. No, I really did! And that's what I told myself was the reason I was going to Lowe's and Walmart. A little voice inside said, 'Yeah Doug, you need the foam and you will get it. But we both know the real reason you're going. You hope to find at least one mid winter plant bargain. And sure enough, I did.
At this time of year, finding plant bargains at garden centers is about as hard as finding hen's teeth, but it can be done. Just don't expect to find exactly what you want at the lowest possible price. And don't expect to see large displays of mark downs.
Stores won't devote choice space for the few remaining plants they have left, and what they have to sell may be found in other than the customary places. Sometimes they're placed in an out of the way corner.
I need a few more Arborvitae Emerald Green. I was in hopes of finding a half dozen marked down really low. I didn't find them. But while rummaging around in Walmart's nearly empty outdoor garden section, I found some planters I wanted. Wanted, but wouldn't get earlier because they were $8.50 each. Well, I saw a stack of them for $2.50 each, and bought one.
Back inside were just a few plants, plus a ragged display of shriveled up bulbs and iris rhizomes. Not a one of them would have lived. Not one, they were already dead.
Wait just a minute. What's this? I picked up a bag of crocus corms. I pressed a few between my thumb and forefinger. They felt firm enough. Upon closer examination, I saw that many of the corms were beginning to sprout. Yeah, but $8.00 a bag. I can't afford it.
I took the bag to one of those self check gizmos and found it had been marked down to $2.00. I put the bag into my cart and smiled to myself, and thought, 'I guess whoever said I was so tight, I squeaked when I walked, was right'. I smiled again. I just saved $11.00 total.
The real reason I buy plants and bulbs in mid winter is, it satiates an inner desire, a need, an urgency. It may be a waste of precious time, but I do spend most of winter, longing for the arrival of spring. Getting something into the ground that desperately needs to be in the ground, alleviates so much of the dread of winter.
I was born at 3:00 AM on one of the coldest, most bitter nights in December. Born in a room with no heat except a tiny fireplace that gave most of it's heat back to the chimney and then to the outside. A glass of water left sitting overnight in that room would have frozen by morning. That did not prepare me to like the winter months. It might have, in fact, played a part in my dislike for them.
Finding the corms and planter on sale in January made me feel good. Getting my hands in the dirt again to plant the corms made me feel even better. My sister just called to say a heavy snow is being predicted to arrive in a couple days. Let it snow. My planting the crocus has braced me for any snow storm that might come. If winter won't give me sunshine, I'll make my own, in my mind.
I'm not the least bit worried about planting the crocus, so late. They have their own inner clocks which determine when they will bloom. I could have planted them two months ago, or a month from now. The soil temperature, the daylight hours and many other factors will see that they bloom at just the time they should, without respect to when I plant them.
To contradict myself, let me say that crocus can bloom at times other than when their inner clocks say they should. This is brought about about by human intervention; the committing of an act called 'forcing'. If I get truly desperate between now and spring, I just may bring the crocus inside. Exposing them to heat and sixteen hours a day of light will fool their tiny clocks and cause them to bloom and brighten a sullen corner of my home.
Nature is the engine that drives the Universe. Only the foolish resist going along for the ride. It's the trip of a lifetime.
Above, I mentioned about something desperately needing to be in the ground. I wasn't waxing poetic, I was speaking the truth. Seeds know when they should be planted, and they know the correct depth at which they should be planted.
Numerous times I have planted seed at the recommended depth, and then lifted a few several days later to check if they had germinated. I found they all were twice as deep as I had planted them. What happened?
It seems that seeds, at least in some respects, are smarter than Humans. They know how deep they should be planted. Many have the ability to dig themselves deeper into the ground if planted too shallowly. This little wonder has happened many times in my garden.
And as to when they should be planted; again, the seeds are smarter. Some, if not planted by Man or other means, and sensing the time is right, will literally plant themselves. Wheat is one such seed to do this. Another is the seed of Erodium cicutarium (storks bill or filaree). Take your eyes from this text for a moment and witness one of the most beautiful sights Nature has to offer. As I have said before, 'The will to survive and produce more of its own kind is the strongest force in the Universe'.
It was so cold yesterday, I filled my new planter with soil, outside, but brought it in to plant the crocus corms. I never got around to taking the planter back outside.
Today, about 36 hours later; I noticed something. At least one of the crocus had emerged from the soil, seeking light. 36 hours, people! At that rate, my little planter will be filled with crocus plant in a couple of weeks.
It looks as if I unintentionally forced the corms a bit. It may do more harm now to take them outside, than to leave them inside. Trying to harden them off after they've commenced growing is not a good idea.
I'll keep the babies inside and try to provide as much light as I can. I put 40 corms in the little planter. In 6 weeks, I should have a mass of blooms. Some say I have a green thumb. Maybe. Or maybe I was just lucky. Which is it?
Well, I have about 50,000 songs on my external hard drives. Within an album by The Platters is a very nice, old song, ('You've Got) The Magic Touch'. For some reason I have a strong urge to play just that song. I think I will.
Seriously, I give Nature all the credit. But then, I am a part of Nature.
Keepers Of The Earth...that's what we are.
Just because a garden center marks down bulbs to clear the inventory doesn't mean it's too late to plant the bulbs. Bulbs can be planted any time. Sometimes though, if planted very late, they might not bloom til the second year.
Three years ago, I bought a bag of 3 Peruvian daffodil bulbs. They had been marked down from $4.98 to $2.00. They have multiplied to the point I now have 4 times as many bloom size bulbs and about a hundred bulblets of various sizes.
I'll put all the larger bulbs in a decorative container. They should provide a very nice display in late summer. The bulblets will be placed elsewhere so they can continue to mature.
A nice investment, I'd say!
Like you, I am always looking for markdowns in the garden shops while my family are elsewhere looking for other "bargains". You really found a great deal with these and what a display they will make! I like to think that I am rescuing some of these markdowns from death row and they always reward me with their beautiful blooms.