Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Less Than Perfect Can Be A Good Thing


When we were at the Fort Wayne Home and Garden Show on Friday, sitting in on Dr. Lori's session "Trash or Treasure?" we learned a few things. She gave us tips on how to find an honest appraiser (don't choose an appraiser who also buys). But she gave us a tip that I already knew and have been employing for years, on occasion - ask the seller if they would take less for the item they're selling.

As gardeners, most of us know that the big box stores sell ripped bags of mulch at a discount, or plants that have suffered from underwatering, overwatering, or some other fate that gives them a less than robust appearance. Our plant experience serves us well here, because we can recognize those that just need a little TLC to bring them back to healthy goodness.


But what about the plants that are living on the edge? They still look fairly good, and the powers that be haven't noticed their flaws just yet. They're still selling at full price, but you know they're going to end up on the half-price shelf in the end. Who wants an orchid that has a broken flower stem, when there are a dozen more on the same shelf that don't?

*raises hand*

Friday night, after returning home from the home and garden show, Romie and I turned around and went back to Ft. Wayne, where we joined our girls and their husbands (and a few others) to celebrate Adam's birthday. We got there early, put our name in for a table for eleven, and ran over to Walmart so I could buy a card. There, greeting us as we walked in, were several lusciously green Phalaenopsis orchids.


There must have been a couple dozen of them, all wrapped in their cellophane sleeves, selling for $15. They had beautiful, unblemished leaves and were all heavily loaded with lemon-lime blooms. I am drawn to green flowers for some reason and I wanted one. As I picked through them, mentally eliminating this one, then that one, while also trying to make a decision about whether I would purchase one or not, I saw it.


"It" had nicely branched flower stems like the rest of its buddies, but was suffering from a broken branch. The mishap had probably occurred recently, because the flowers on the wrong end of the break still looked fresh and perky. There was even a bud that wasn't open yet and it didn't have that dull, wrinkly appearance they take on when they are no longer receiving their life's blood.



Hmmm... I wonder if they'd sell it to me at a lower price because of this? Can't hurt to ask, right?

I took the orchid to the check-out and asked if they would discount the orchid due to the broken stem. A phone call was made to a manager, and the verdict was, "Ten dollars." I thought for a moment and agreed. Ten dollars for a basically healthy orchid was a bargain, even with a broken stem. While I wasn't likely to pay $15 for an orchid with all healthy stems, given that I already had several orchids at home already, this was just too good to pass up.

Dr. Lori would be proud.





29 comments:

Phillip said...

That is a gorgeous orchid and $10 is not bad at all!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Good power shopping! I love a bargain, but I never have the nerve to ask the seller to lower a price. I have no problem buying things off the bargain table at garden centers when the only thing wrong with the plant is that it's season of bloom is over. I've gotten some great plants that way.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

Sounds like a great deal for such a pretty flower. I'm drawn to green flowers too. Do you grow any green flowers in your gardens? I can only think of a couple, zinnia 'Envy' and nicotiana. I'd love any suggestions :)

Chiot's Run said...

I too am drawn to green flowers!

I will only buy plants that are on clearance. I just can't bring myself to pay full price for something that I know will be 50-75% off in a couple weeks when the flowers fade.

Cathy said...

What a great buy! beautiful Orchid
I did not know that Phalnopsis comes in green color...must be a new one!

Kylee said...

Phillip ~ I was pretty happy about it!

Mr. McGregor's Garden ~ There are instances where I wouldn't dream of asking the seller to lower the price, but I have no qualms about it at Walmart. I, too, have gotten some great plants by checking the bargain table.

Catherine ~ The only green flowers I have are 'Green Envy' Echinacea (which also has pink in it) and like you, 'Envy' Zinnia. I should try the Nicotiana.

Chiot's Run ~ I like to look through the end of season bargains, but some things you just don't get unless you snatch them up when you first see them. I'm trying to wait on new introductions though, because they're always cheaper the second and third year after they come out.

Cathy ~ Actually, I forgot that I already had a greenish one. In fact, it was the very first orchid I ever bought, about three years ago. It should be blooming here in a month or so (it's spiking now). It's been awhile since it bloomed and I totally forgot about it.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

Thanks Kylee, I'll keep an eye out for the echinacea.
It sounds pretty.

kate smudges said...

This Orchid is gorgeous and a steal for 10 $. I'm impressed! Like you, I love green flowers ~ am planning to have more in my garden this summer.

Bren said...

Lovely Orchid..... I have yet to try one. You got quit the deal!

Warm Wishes!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Way to go Kylee. Your plant looks great.

Meems said...

Hi Kylee, :-)
You did a good job scouting for that orchid and doing your due diligence to ask for a better deal. I actually heard someone recently giving this concept as a tip for these hard economic times. With folks being more willing to 'sell' it is likely one can ask for better bargains. It never hurts to ask- like you said. Love the green!

Also loved seeing the photos from the garden show. Looks like a fun way to spend a Saturday pre-spring. Gets you in the mood I'm sure. ---I want some of those big stones for a walkway!
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

EAL said...

Oh good, Kylee. I was thinking that you needed some more houseplants. In fact, I was quite concerned!

Gail said...

Kylee, This is such a good idea..I have often wanted to but haven't given myself permission! It can't hurt! gail

Gail said...

ps I was so excited about your find...I forgot to compliment you on its good looks! It is lovely~~gail

Connie said...

Lovely color on that orchid! I have yet to own my first one. True confession....I'm not so good with houseplants.

Kylee said...

Catherine ~ It shouldn't be too hard to find this year. It's been out for a few now.

Kate ~ I look forwarding to seeing them!

Bren ~ What are you waiting for? Head to Lowe's and if you don't want to spend what they're asking for the best orchids, I'm willing to bet they have some on the bargain table. If it's cheap enough, you can afford to try one! I hope you will! You might be pleasantly surprised. :-)

Lisa ~ Thanks! And welcome home!

Meems ~ I'd heard that recently, too. Dr. Lori actually told about being in Bloomingdale's and someone was wanting to buy something that cost $400 and walked away with it for $100. That's extreme, but these are tough times, too.

I want some of those big stones, too!

Eliz ~ I knew someone would see things my way. Girlfriend!

Gail ~ You never know unless you ask!

Connie ~ Honestly? I don't baby a single one of my indoor plants. Win some and lose some, but I haven't lost too many. They actually thrive on neglect more often than not.

Shady Gardener said...

Kylee, I am not jealous, I am not jealous, I am not jealous...
I guess we don't have Big Box stores. All we have here is little box stores with no green growing items yet. Oh, well. I save a lot of money this way! ;-)

Kylee said...

Shady Gardener ~ What?!? No Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot, Meijer, or Menard's? No bedding plants here yet, either, but there are house plants all year round. Heck, our Kroger store had luscious, cheap orchids last year. Haven't checked yet this year. I'm afraid to...

garden girl said...

Good deal Kylee, and it's a beautiful orchid! Well done.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Good on you, my friend! I love finding neat bargains like this. I bought a green-flowered orchid last year, and of course I love my green coneflowers (even though they drive hubby crazy because he can't figure out how a purple coneflower can be white, or green, or yellow....) Your post reminds me that I need to check my green phal when I get home, to see if it's starting to put up flower shoots yet. With all the gray weather, I'm guessing NOT!

TC said...

What a beautiful orchid. I'm gettin ready to take a picture of one I have and send it to Ellen Zachos for IDing. She graciously offered to help me figure out what I might do to make it flower. It was given to me by a retired priest (it's a holy orchid) who said it hasn't bloomed in he didn't know how long. The first thing she suggested: "....threaten them. I make it very clear, verbally, to my plants that if they don't step up and pull their weight by such and such a date they're compost." I have a couple of orchid books but they haven't helped. I still can't tell the difference between a brassia and a brassiere or a cattleya and cattle. ;~P

Donna at Suburban Sanctum said...

Great idea, Kylee--I learned long ago that it never hurts to ask if the seller will take "anything less"--but never thought to do that with plants! Gotta try that--I love a bargain as much as the next person... When my husband is making a purchase, he always asks if the seller will throw in something else. You'd be surprised how often they will! Of course that's usually with cars or computers or appliances... I guess if you bought enough at the garden center, they might throw in something. Oh--love your blog's new "spring dress". Very pretty.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Plant doctor to the rescue:) She needed you! She's a gorgeous shade, too!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Way to go there. What an unusual and lovely orchid.I love the green-yellow color. I just got my first one over the weekend and hoping I can keep it alive ;) Will have to read up on them.

Kylee said...

Garden girl ~ Thanks!

Jodi ~ That's like how can a Texas bluebonnet be pink? But Pam has one!
So, any flower spikes yet? It's gloomy here, too.

TC ~ I threaten my plants, too! I have an orphan garden outside, where I put underachievers to give them one last chance. I don't baby them there, so if they recover well, they get to come back and play with the other plants.

You're too funny...brassia/brassiere...LOL!

Donna ~ Thank you! I have wondered if the yellow in the header is too bright? It looks different on my laptop (where I created it) than on my desktop.

I think plants are probably an easy thing to bargain on, especially is they've got issues. Just make sure its issues are ones that you can take care of!

Jan ~ She did, didn't she? I was happy to oblige. ;-)

Lona ~ Hey, I've killed a Philodenron! So I think sometimes it just doesn't matter what kind of a plant it is - you win some and lose some. Let's hope you're a winner this time! :-)

Donna at Suburban Sanctum said...

Hi, again, Kylee--Your header does not look too bright on my screen. It's a soft, yummy buttery color. Don't know if that's what you had in mind, but it looks good here. Blog graphics can be frustrating, can't they? You never know for sure how colors and layout are going to look for someone else.

Kylee said...

Donna ~ That's good! Thanks for the feedback. I just didn't want people to need sunglasses to read my blog! LOL! Yes, choosing graphics and colors are tricky. I wanted to use a photo of my own, from my garden, and also wanted to bid farewell to winter - thus the 'Profusion Apricot' zinnia. With a visitor. LOL. I like this photo because it looks like the spider is floating in air. Of course, there is a web, but you can't see it.

joey said...

Love your orchid and 'orchid thief' (just kidding) tale, Kylee :) There is never harm in asking and, as you can see, often wise. I crave chartreuse in the garden ... your orchid speaks spring. Enjoy!

Kylee said...

Joey ~ I almost entitled this post "The Orchid Thief!" :-)

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