Monday, March 24, 2014

Decisions, decisions, decisions

A very good friend and I were finally able to take an often-discussed and long-awaited trip north to nursery shop in Carpinteria and Calabasas this weekend.  I took my shopping list but I wasn't able to find either the Coreopsis 'Big Bang Redshift' or the Uncinia uncinata 'Rubra' I've been hunting for.  Despite my recent resolve to exercise some discipline and stick more closely to my planting plan, I'm afraid I went off the rails with impulse purchases.  Can you visit 4 plant sellers and buy nothing?  I've never had that kind of will-power.

The trouble with impulse purchases, at least in my own case, is that I often have only the vaguest of notion as to where I'm going to put them.  I placed Grevillea alpina x rosmarinifolia on my cart at Sperling Nursery in Calabasas and then considered where I could plant it.

Grevillea alpina x rosmarinifolia (variety not specified)



Based on the limited information provided on the grower's label, my initial plan was to put it in my dry garden as a foil for Phormium tenax 'Yellow Wave' and P. 'Tiny Tiger.'  This would work but I wasn't as happy with the placement as I expected to be.  I'd also have to clear out some plants to make room for it.

Grevillea trying on the dry garden



I considered the new bed that formerly held the snorkel spa.  A touch of yellow would shake up the collection of plants there.  The Grevillea also would get more sun there than it would next to the Phormium in the dry garden.  However, if/when the Driyms lanceolata (mountain pepper) in the middle of that bed reaches 10 feet tall and wide, the Grevillea, with an estimated height of 4-5 feet at maturity, would be hidden.  The Driyms appears to be a slow grower but the size differentials are a concern nonetheless.

Possible placement for the Grevillea in the red bed



I hadn't initially thought of putting it into my new extended backyard border but I do have a couple of holes in my plan I hadn't yet identified plants to fill.  The south end of the bed is among the sunniest in my garden.  I think the Grevillea nicely complements the new Leucadendron 'Rising Sun,' Justicia brandegeeana and Phormium 'Amazing Red' already in place there and the height differences don't pose a conflict in this location.   Kismet!

Grevillea trying out the south end of the new border 

A closer look



No, the Grevillea wasn't my only purchase.  Here are some of the others:

6 Anagallis, an orange-flowered variety in the Wildcat series, planted among the Digiplexis and Acorus

Lupinus chamissionis, probably slated for placement at the north end of the new backyard border (provided that it isn't immediately ravaged by raccoons like the one I bought at Seaside Nursery in Carpinteria last year)

A magenta Arctotis, also purchased at Seaside Nursery, now planted in front of the hedge along the street



And my friend gave me a special pot, planted with succulents, in remembrance.




So, are impulse purchases a valuable creative tool to shake up your garden plan, or do they more commonly interfere with your designs?  For me, I'd say it's 50/50.


18 comments:

  1. What fun you had, I wish I could have come with you. Impulse buys are what makes it such fun; the serendipity of finding something you weren't even looking for. I love it. You bought some fabulous plants. You found just the right spot for the Grevillea.

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    1. You're right, Chloris - finding that plant your didn't know you "needed" is what makes plant shopping fun.

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  2. Design? What's that? Ninety nine percent of my plant purchases are impulse buys. They sit around in their pots for a while, maybe get potted up, maybe planted somewhere and then moved around a lot. I love plants. You made some great purchases! Your special pot is very sweet! What a thoughtful friend.

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    1. My friend was Ming's de facto aunt and she misses him too.

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  3. I always like to think that even if I don't already know where the plant will go, my subconscious is busy working away in the background, governing my purchases. Then, like you, I have to take it around waiting for that "click" when things fall into place. I also ask the plant if this is where it wants to go. Can it be happy here? Often I get an answer.

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    1. I like the idea that my subconscious mind has discipline when clearly my conscious mind does not, Barbara!

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  4. I put plants in pots until I know where they should be planted in the garden.
    Best regards
    Mariana

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    1. I should probably do that too, Mariana - although I'm not always good about watering my pots, which is why most are filled with drought-tolerant succulents.

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  5. But it's fun to impulse buy! Plans do evolve and it's good to adapt as you discover more and different plants along the way :)

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    1. Instead of undisciplined, I should refer to myself from now on as adaptable - that has a much more positive connotation! Thanks, Mark & Gaz.

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  6. Lately, in the past couple of months, my purchases have all pretty much been planned. But I still have plenty of impulse buys sitting in the back garden waiting for me to figure out where on earth to put them. I sometimes do the same thing, try them out in different settings. I love your remembrance pot. What a sweet thing for a friend to do.

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    1. Planting a large new area does tend to make one somewhat more disciplined/budget conscious, doesn't it? It's really too bad that money doesn't grow on trees - it would make nursery shopping so much easier!

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  7. I'd say 50/50 too. I think your purchases are wonderful.I have been known to house my impulse purchases in large pots until placement makes itself known. Sometimes this can be up to three years, like with my Syringa 'Tinkerbell' and Rhus 'Tiger Eyes'. I grew the Arctotis a few years ago. Unfortunately it wasn't hardy. They've got such gorgeous flowers. Your friend's remembrance pot is so cute. I love it.

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    1. Looking about my garden, I find that some of my own impulse purchases have ended up in pots as well, Grace. Keeping them watered is a challenge, though - we get a lot less help with watering from Mother Nature than those of you up north.

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  8. I err more to the impulse side than the planned side, thus my garden is chaos, but c'est la vie! Your new grevillea is fabulous as is the remembrance planter.

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    1. I have a definite weakness for yellow flowering plants, which is becoming more and more evident in my garden.

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  9. Nobody was going to leave Seaside Nursery without getting the magenta Arctotis. :)

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