Whenever I accompany my (ex)wife on shopping trips that lead us to the ‘Marts I find myself wandering off to the garden centers. These are not the specialty offerings that avid gardeners really enjoy; rather, they are more streamlined garden supplies that will have mass appeal. Despite that, it is sometimes interesting to see what is new. It’s amusing, but I must admit there is the occasional item that elicits a hmm. Overall it’s just a way to pass time in the store. But then I went outside.
If the garden center has a plant section, I typically find the flowers and other ornamental annuals in good shape and well cared for. After all, they lend themselves to it. Nothing is more attractive in a plant section than a 3-quart pot of petunias or a 12-pack flat of marigolds in full bloom. But the bastard children of the garden section are the vegetables. Every time I walk through, I make my way to the vegetables and find a deplorable collection of wilted, pathetic offerings. They have yellowed leaves from overwatering or insect damage that will prove fatal or any number of other things that render them unsellable.
I often wonder if I should chastise the manager or plead with them to release the prisoners. I could march the beleaguered flats to the counter and have a reasoned discussion with whoever is in charge.
Surely you don’t expect me to pay for these neglected plants? In the interest of their ongoing existence, allow me to take them off your hands to attempt to rehabilitate them and remove this gardening sin from your retail space.”
I don’t mind having that conversation but what stops me is; Where will I put these refugees? They present challenges to gardens that no one wants to subject themselves to; lettuce plants too late in the season, more peppers and tomatoes when there is no room at the inn, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli.
I need a plan. A special orphanage for the neglected. Maybe a corner of the garden can be a home for lost plants. I don’t know…
Maybe they are just the “thinnings” in the corporate garden center. The extras that need to be plucked out to make the garden center grow.