My Introduction to Dormancy

With the great wall finished we now found ourselves with a garden nearly 3 times larger than the original garden, and not a single thing to plant in it.


We could have gone to Home Depot to purchase some plants, but I'm pretty sure we would have spent well over $500, which is clearly not in the budget.  So instead I turned to some of the gardening catalogs that I receive at least once a week ever since I order 3 blueberry plants online, and found one to have pretty great prices.

6 hibiscus or 6 Rose of Sharon for $3.99!?!?!  20 lilies for $7.49??  40 blazing star liatris for $3.50?? For those prices, I couldn't say no!!! I placed an enormous order and was thrilled to see that the total only came to $85, which included shipping.

But then the plants arrived, and I was shocked.  The entire "huge" order came in a plastic bag roughly the size of a backpack.  I figured for sure that this was a "partial order," but nope, it was the full order.

Here's what I didn't realize - when you buy plants at Home Depot, they're already awake and alive and flourishing!  Flowering, even!!!  They're large and more mature - for trees they're probably 10 years old!   But when you buy plants from a nursery you get "dormant" plants.  Dormant is a nice way to say "looks dead."

My entire order

The 6 hibiscus that I was so excited about?  Little 5 inch pieces of root.  No leaves, not even any sign of growth or life or anything.  Same for the Rose of Sharon.  There were 6 twigs, a little over a foot long, with a few scraggly dried-up roots at the bottom of the twig.

The six Rose of Sharon "bushes" - HA!

It was sad. I was sad.

But I forged ahead and planted everything, after reading in the "planting guide" that accompanied the plants things like "You're plants are not dead!" or "Please don't return your plants until after 6 weeks."  Apparently this company gets a lot of calls from people who are just slightly less smarter than myself and don't read the booklet to know that the plants are supposedly not dead, but just "dormant."  (I, for one, am not totally convinced yet that they're not dead. They could not look deader.) 

I feel a little stupid, since I should have realized that there was no way I was going to get 6 beautfiul hibiscus plants with full blooms like the picture in the catalog showed, but I was also expecting a lot more than a couple of chopped up roots.  The picture of the pink dogwood tree that I ordered showed an enormous tree that had to be at least 15 feet high.  Obviously I wasn't expecting that either, but I was expecting more than the little 6 inch twig I received.  Assuming it survives, it's going to take a solid 20 years for that tree to look like anything even remotely similar to the tree in the catalog.

Twigs

But now I know.  And if everything survives and flourishes then I'm going to pat myself on the back for saving at least $400 on plants.  And if some of it doesn't make it.. well, I probably still saved money.   My introduction to dormancy was yet another lesson learned in my quest to be knowledgeable about gardening.  However, in this instance, at least I didn't spend a fortune.

And who knows?  I could be totally proven wrong if all of these plants thrive and bloom.  In fact, I HOPE that I am proven wrong....

2 comments:

Dave said...

"Apparently this company gets a lot of calls from people who are just slightly less smarter than myself..." Those must be some interesting phone calls!

Laura said...

This post cracked me up... it also gave me a bit of an education. I'm just imagining someone getting these in the mail while all along thinking they would be getting something else haha.

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