Gone are the days when I couldn't walk out of a Walmart or Lowe's without taking a side trip to the gardening department during winter. (I haven't managed to accomplish that feat during planting or growing seasons yet.) But with over 175 plants taking up residence inside the house during winter, it makes no sense to bring more of them home.
Wait. Since when did sense have anything to do with plant buying?
I really have tried to rein in my obsession. The state of the economy is reason enough. But there is that thing called the January Jitters. Anyone who lives in a climate where you're forced by things such as Alberta Clippers to store your garden tools for a few months has likely suffered through this midwinter malady.
At first, you welcome the break from the garden, after a busy spring, summer, and fall. Your garden needs the rest and so do you. But like anything that has been a daily habit, you start to go through withdrawal, until the holidays steal your attention. There are so many other things going on that gardening can temporarily be shoved to the back burner. Oh, there might be an amaryllis bulb here or a poinsettia there, but even normal people buy those.
And then January comes. The weather is in a snit, everyday work routines resume, and the next major holiday is far off in the distance. We dream of vacations to warmer climes and check the calendar again, with the hope that this will be The Year That February Forgot. We're itching to be back in the garden again.
One day, you walk to the mailbox and there's one, maybe two, seed catalogs. The next day, there are a couple more. You resist looking at them, because you can't plant seeds anyway. Or can you?
Of course! There's winter sowing. You know you won't see the fruits of your labor until spring "springs," but hey, at least you get to play in the dirt. And there's your downfall. You let yourself start thinking about the garden, you get your hands dirty, and you're off and running.
Try to resist? Some are better at it than others, but like any other addiction, it will resurface once you've had a little hair of the dog that bit you. And that, my friends, is what happened to me this past weekend. And yesterday after work.
I'd done so well! I'd only bought one amaryllis bulb at Meijer and one at Walmart. Then I thought I'd attempt a poinsettia again. (Don't ask.) That was way back in December. Christmas came and went and after three winters of winter sowing, I decided not to do it this year. Sunday, we took the afternoon to finish making Christmas and other returns, one of which needed to go back to Lowe's.
The return desk is situated directly across from their seed display. Oh...the colors! I thought I'd just take a look. Gosh darn it. One thing led to another. I saw these apricot pollenless sunflowers that looked interesting. And carmine Gomphrena.
I'd planted Gomphrena last summer, thinking I was going to get red ones, and they were pink and purple. Oh, and they had 'Summer Berries' annual Scabiosa again. I planted those a little late last spring and while they eventually started growing large enough to flower, a hard freeze ruined them before they had a chance.
Daughter Kara was along with us and while I was looking at the seeds, she went back to the houseplant area and found amaryllis bulbs marked down to $3.49. I just wanted to see what they had left and if they were decent bulbs that hadn't started flowering inside the box. Uh huh. They also had crocus kits with three bulbs and the glass forcing vases for $2.24, but I didn't buy one of those. Good for me!
I left Lowe's with three packets of seeds and one amaryllis bulb. I had to use some store credit they'd given me anyway, so I really got those almost for free, right? Just the thought of planting the seeds in the spring as well as having another pretty amaryllis flower for the winter put a smile on my face and a spring in my step. I don't think I did too badly now, did I?
The next day, I worked in Fort Wayne. My route home takes me past another Lowe's. As I was sitting at the light, waiting for it to turn green, I looked over at Lowe's and wondered if they still had any of those crocus kits. I'd never forced crocus before and thought it might be a fun thing to do. The kits were so cheap - why not?
Sure enough, they had several kits and I picked one up. I decided to just walk through the house plants and see what they had, since this was a different Lowe's than I'd been in the day before.
You know what's the best cure for the January Jitters?
I feel so much better now. The shakes have nearly disappeared.