Posts Tagged ‘hanging plant’
A couple months ago when the flower marts and garden centers were overflowing with potted plants, hanging baskets and assorted annuals, I was on the prowl for a nice hanging one to accent a couple of pots that I had already filled with plants and placed on our front steps. I knew I didn’t want to spend more than around $20 on any hanging planter so my choices were pretty slim. I purchased a pot of pale orange-colored wave petunias but after hanging them from the shepherd’s hook on the west side of our home, I decided they looked too anemic so I was back out scouring the garden centers once again to find something that provided more of a color punch.
I finally ended up at Home Depot amid aisles filled with dozens of pots of impatiens, geraniums, and begonias. The geraniums looked spindly, I hate begonias, and there was no way impatiens would tolerate the sun where this planter would need to go. Noticing my bewilderment, one of the knowledgable Home Depot garden center workers asked if I needed help.
I explained my predicament to her. “I need a hanging plant with some color that can tolerate sun.”
“How about the ‘sunpatiens’ pots?” Miss Home Depot said pointing to a cluster of plants hanging discreetly between some regular ‘ol impatiens and a few lobelias. Sunpatiens? I’d heard of them, but had never actually bought one.
Miss Home Depot selected a vibrant-looking planter and handed it to me for examination. I carefully read the tag attached to the plastic hanger-thingy.
FULL SUN TO PARTIAL SHADE, KEEP SOIL EVENLY MOIST, FERTILIZE EVERY TWO WEEKS.
Sure…I think I handle that. And furthermore, its color was a lovely splash of orangey-red and the plant itself was full and lush. I made the decision right then and there to adopt her and bring her home. I named her Ida.
When I got home, I hung Ida lovingly on the shepherd’s hook in our front yard and gave her a refreshing drink of water. She seemed happy and got along nicely with the other two plants on our sidewalk. I checked on her every few days and made sure she was given the moisture she seemed to enjoy so much. I even made sure I followed the instructions on her tag that said to FERTILIZE EVERY TWO WEEKS. The only problem she appeared to have was on a windy day when she was blown of her hook and ended up rolling down a hill. Other than that, Ida appeared to have made the adjustment to our home nicely. For a while, anyway…
One day when the temperature reached the mid-80’s, I went out to check on Ida and found that she seemed to be losing weight. She had shed a few leaves and her coloring was becoming pale. I checked the tag once again to make sure that a plant like Ida enjoyed sunshine.
Yup. I hadn’t misread it. I was doing everything right so she should have been thriving. So once again, I gave her a cool drink, pulled off a few of her dried up blooms, and retreated to the house.
A day or two later I went back to visit Ida. Not only was it clear that she was losing weight, she was also going bald. Despite my desperate need for color near that corner of the house, I moved Ida to a spot where I thought she’d fare a bit better (PARTIAL SHADE) located at the edge of a garden where she would only see sunshine in the afternoon. I gave her the usual – a shot of water –and decided to check her again in a day or two to see if the change in environment made a difference.
A few days later I was back to look at Ida and she was still in serious condition. This made no sense to me. She was a “sunpatien” and I had followed the instructions perfectly. Once again, I transported her to a different spot, but this time she was moved to an area that was 100% shade. I gave her the usual double-shot of water, then snapped off a few of the dried stems and flowers and patted her pot lovingly. We were leaving for our cabin for a few days. Would she survive the heat wave while we were gone? Surely, now that she had been hydrated and moved to a cooler part of the yard, she would be okay. I just wasn’t sure that I wanted to leave her alone for the few days we would be at our cabin But I had no choice (because our car was packed with groceries, clothes, chocolate, wine, and the dog). She wouldn’t fit in the car.
We did indeed leave Ida by herself while were at the lake for a stiflingly hot couple of days. Sometimes when I saw a flower in the woods or along the road it would remind me of Ida and I would get nervous thinking about her fragile condition. I worried that she was not only sick…she was probably lonely, too. Ron reassured me, “She’s just fine. She’s been alone before.”
When we finally returned home after the sweltering trip to the cabin, I immediately rushed over to Ida and found her limp and barely breathing. I instantly ran for the watering can and gave her a drink but it was pretty clear that her condition was now critical and she would probably be unable to bounce back.
Today Ida sits on our back deck where I can keep an eye on her from our kitchen window. Yesterday, she gave me a glimmer of hope when she revealed one frail, lone flower but her vitals signs are still weak.
I love Ida. I really do. And I’m not going to pretend I have a green thumb because I don’t, but I do expect flowers to live when I follow the instructions attached to them. My heart is broken as I look at that poor girl, living out her last days on a deck next to a gas grill instead of on a lovely shepherd’s hook. This is not the life I had imagined for her.
This whole nightmare with Ida leads me to believe that she was FAR from being a sunpatiens. Ida wasn’t even a “shadepatiens.” I can only guess that this feeble variety of flower is the product of over-breeding in a crowded orange Home Depot plant mill. Meanwhile, I’m left to tend to a sickly flower that is ultimately destined for the trash dump in a week or two. I may as well have taken my $19.99 (plus tax) and flushed it down one of the toilets on display in the Home Depot plumbing aisle (I know those don’t really work, although sometimes I really wish they did).
Next year I’ll make it easier on myself. It’s going to be plastic flowers at my house. Really bright blue ones.