Ah, May in Chicagoland! Remember, last Monday I was bitching because it was so cold that we turned on the furnace? Today it’s ninety degrees in the shade. The first hot Sunday of the year spurs me to run off the financial cliff like a sweaty lemming.
I drive, trance-like, to a fabulous and pretty darn pricey local nursery called The Planter’s Palette. Surrounded by hundreds of fellow gardening lemmings I walk the immaculate brick-paved rows, lust-crazed for the enormous selection of , well, name it! annuals, perennials, herbs, old rare roses, vegetables, cool pots and garden furniture, astrolabes and birdbaths. This is no common or garden Garden Center. Hidden fountains burble away, secret gardens are tucked in here and there — if it weren’t for the price tags, this place is my Eden.
Until I pay up. Great gulping gazanias! The cashier always checks for your name on the computer, because if you spend fifty grand (or something) they mail you a twenty-five dollar gift certificate. In fifteen years of giving them money I shouldn’t , I’ve received fifty dollars back, and like any submissive greedy gardener I’ve been so grateful it verges on lame.
This year Lou the Killjoy decided he’d come along as a kind of designated shopping cart watchdog, and I was glad. We hired Victor the landscaper to weed,prune and mulch before Lloyd came and we made a pact that we’d maintain what’s left this summer and limit new purchases to herbs. The only garden plans we have this summer is to expand the perennial herb garden to the left of the kitchen door.The chives, tarragon and marjoram overwintered well, and I’ll add sage and thyme. Sage is surprisingly tough in this climate, and with some coddling the thyme may come back. The rosemary and basil will be transplanted into pots, so I can squeeze a couple more months from them indoors come fall.
The uncharacteristically tiny haul:
A different view for the followers of Willow. As always, she was right there with me, eager to help.
So I’m feeling smug and virtuous. Maybe this will be the only trip I make to Planter’s Palette this year! Maybe I’ll be able to harden my heart to those pathetic flats of midsummer marked-down annuals. (They just need some TLC.) Maybe this year I’ll keep up with the weeding! Shoe addicted girlfriends can sneak a new pair into the house past a footwear-blind husband — no prob. It’s harder to get away with “That row of hydrangeas? They’ve always been there, Darling.”