The more appealing alternative, of course, is to get me to buy them.
And so, at this time of year, the offers come. First in a trickle and then a flood. Take 30% off. Buy one and get a second one at half price. HUGE markdowns. The really clever garden centers send me colorful, floral-themed plastic cards with my name pre-printed on them together with the massive discount to which I am entitled if I act immediately.
I once succumbed to an invitation to Weston Nurseries' end-of-season sale because they parked an ice cream truck in the middle of their container display area. While I unwrapped a Dove Bar, someone loaded a viburnum in the trunk of my car. Another time, I ate a piece of delicious grilled corn and somehow purchased an amelanchier. One memorable year I enjoyed a slice of an open-oven grilled pizza and found myself the owner of a Japanese maple (acer japonica expensivus) so special that it requires its own trust fund.
None of this is the fault of garden center owners. By the end of September, gardeners’ thoughts have gravitated to the post-season, yet autumn is the near-ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. In reality, they’re doing me a favor.
My problem, of course, is that I’ve run out of room for new stuff. But because the prices are so good we go looking anyway… and invariably bring something home.
Weston's most excruciatingly wonderful invention is the ‘pallet sale’ annd it is that organization's contribution to the pantheon of marketing. It is a masterstroke of inventory management: Take a pallet. Fill it with roughly a dozen trees or shrubs and top it off with half a dozen perennials (which if still on the premises will become compost with the first hard frost). Mark the price at roughly a third of full retail.
That’s how we acquired our fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus). This was, of course, back when we had room for new specimen plants. Betty really wanted that fringe tree but had chafed at the price for a decent-sized one. So, we bought the pallet (and got its contents home in a Saab convertible in only four trips) and suddenly, we had not only a great looking fringe tree, but also a pair of boxwoods, two rhododendron, three azalea, a climbing rose and enough summer flowering perennials to feed an army of birds. That was seven or eight years ago.
|Buxus sempervirens at the edge of the |
woods. That's a young heptacodium
(seven sons tree) growing between them.