Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sweet Potato in Bloom

Here in the South, it's a good idea to have your ornamental garden in order by Memorial Day. Sure, some "filling in" can still be done in June, but July and August are too hot and humid for gardening and we're anyway too busy keeping up with bugs and weeds. Then, come Labor Day, our thoughts begin to turn to fall clean-up and plantings. So, here is was May 23 yesterday and I raced around to get some more plants for my garden.

First stop: the Hoschton Farmers' Market. I bought an angelonia from Fil Jessee and two parsleys from Cheryle and Ray Maddox. I would also have bought a morning glory from Miriam Parks Gruwell (the one she sold me two weeks ago made a splendid meal for the snails and I've got to get one quick now, to grow up the trellis with the moon vines that are doing well, having escaped the slugs!), but she did not have any with her. Next week!

Next: The Home Depot. I bought a gaura ('Passionate Blush') and a salvia ('Snow Hill') and did not see anything else my garden needed. My impression is that HD caters mainly to landscapers who buy stuff for mass plantings, and home gardeners who are looking for ready-made containers. I looked at that new LiquaFeed I'd seen advertised on TV, but at $16 for the starter kit, decided against it.

After that: WalMart. No plant held my attention for more than 2 seconds. Many were "leggy", almost spent and disorderly. I did buy the LiquaFeed starter kit, however, for $13. Used the first bottle this morning; it worked well. Now we wait for results.

Finally: Lowe's. Lowe's seems to think about the home gardener when it makes decisions about its plant offerings. I bought pink begonias for my porch (6-pack for $1.67), red salvias for sprinkling throughout my garden and patio containers (ditto), sweet potatoes (see picture, above), a nicotania, and a few celosias. Sure, Lowe's has the ready-made containers also, but the fact that it has those $1.67 6-packs, and individual plants for $0.75 tells me they realize there are gardeners like me, who prefer to buy small plants and watch them grow in the ensuing weeks and months. They had the LiquaFeed starter kit also, on "special" for $12. So much for WalMart's low prices!

So, here is my 2009 garden on the Sunday before Memorial Day. I had never before seen a sweet potato in bloom - even though I have had them in my garden before - and had no inkling of any buds when I bought the plants yesterday. But this morning - this was my reward!