Someone Please Cut Me Off!

It’s a fact:  I should no longer be permitted to attend any plant sale, anywhere, for a long, long time.

Clearly, I can’t be trusted.

I’m normally pretty darn good about budgeting, saving and spending.  My question is this:  WHAT HAPPENED???

True confessions:  the first clue that I was in over my  head was when I spent pretty much every penny that I had set aside to buy a bicycle…and spent it on plants. Troubling, yes, but sadly I did not  even stop there.

After hitting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden plant sale (where the man who rang me up asked  me:   a]  if I was married and b] whether I though my husband would divorce me after this!!), I  proceeded to go, just 5 days later, to the Community Garden Plant sale (where I knew I could get a good deal).  Finally, last week I stopped at a hardware store to innocently buy another watering can…and left with…yes, PLANTS.  Sigh.

When I confessed this to a friend of mine she stared in disbelief and said “how the heck did this happen?”  Good question.  My only defense is that I have literally been standing in a 3rd story kitchen for the past five years staring out at the empty backyard below and dreaming about what I would do with it if it were mine to plant.  Now that I finally have a place, I guess I went a *little* overboard.

To my credit, I did pretty well at sticking to the general plan of getting mainly low-maintenance perennial plants…but there were plenty of other unnecessary purchases.  (SIX tomato plants???  Really?  And they are going to go…where, exactly?)

I’ve been working all week to mix potting mediums for containers and get things in the ground and fortunately I just finished up before the rains started.  Is it worth not having a bike?  I don’t know yet, but I do know that I’m really happy with everything I got and I think it’s going to look amazing when things start filling out.  It’s an absolute wonderland to me right now, and I’m having a great time…(even if I did spend 3 times what I told myself I could spend – yikes.)

In my joyful state of denial and abandon, I willingly ignored warnings from people like my friend Bev who told me “don’t try to create it all at once…do a little at a time” and also had the great suggestion to buy a (as in one ONE) plant (in bloom) per-month…”this way you won’t spend too much and there will always be something blooming in your garden.”  Brilliant!  Great idea.

When I stopped at the Chelsea Garden Center for some potting mix and told the woman working there that it was my first spring at this new apartment / garden  she stopped in her tracks and gave me a knowing, concerned look and delivered this practically whispered, dramatic warning:  “Give yourself a budget.  Now.  And stick to it or before you know it you’ll be spending every penny on plants.”   I smiled, thanked her, agreed it was good advice, assured her I was indeed sticking to a budget, and chuckled to myself thinking “geez – she made it sound like I’m buying drugs or something!”


It’s hard not to be frustrated with myself at this complete lack of self control which might very well result in me not having a bike…or having to take the money saved for something else in order to get one.  Still, I’m so happy with my plants and my garden and every moment is so thrilling that it’s hard to be upset!  I’m REALLY hoping that this was the Big Kahuna of plant purchases and that from here on out it will be a small purchases here or there, some bulbs, some divisions traded with other gardeners, etc…there really isn’t room for much else at this point!

So here are just a few plant photos and “the list” in all its glory (and my disgrace):

close up the shade-lovers


“mystery” tree peony

another shot of the shady plants


honeysuckle and Persian Shield

miscellaneous pretty things…

lettuces, rainbow chard, some of the basil

herbs, peppers, and pink Mandevilla, which I’m hoping will climb that iron trellis.

the temporary tomato collection…the big things are all on wheels should they need an even sunnier spot, but so far they are doing well here.  I need to get more cages on pronto and will eventually have to move some of the smaller tomato pots elsewhere so that they’ll all have enough room.  What was I thinking?


Lavender Creeping Phlox
Tree Peony – fuschia (mystery peony)
Pulmonaria – Bethlehem Sage
Lamium – ‘White Nancy’
Campanula – blue bells, sarastro
Campanula – white clips
Hardy Geranium – lavender
Trumpet Vine (didn’t make it)
Epemedium (mystery variety!)
Mertensia, VA Bluebells
Primrose (mystery variety!)
various sedums and hens/chicks

yellow pear
Roma  – 2
Mortgage Lifter – 1
Goliath Patio – 1
Beefsteak – 1

Other Veggies
Peppers:  bell, cayenne, serrano, cherry bomb
Rainbow Chard
Sugar Snap Peas

lemon verbena
purple sage
parsley, curly
parsley, flat leaf
oregano, italian
oregano, golden
marjoram, golden

Alpine & Everbearing

Annual “Extras”
Persian Shield
Morning Glory
various sedums, hens/chicks

impatiens, marigolds, lobelia, violets

25 thoughts on “Someone Please Cut Me Off!

  1. Been there. Done that.

    What saved me the first couple of years in our house (with a garden space!) was that we spent most of the money on trees. My husband easily got behind buying trees. After that, some years were better than others. Ha!

    Enjoy your plants!!!!!

  2. Well, at least it looks like you got a great assortment of plants for your money! And six tomato plants will seem great when you’ve got lots of tomatoes coming in.

    My wife and I are dangerous when we go plant shopping together. I remember one time we went to ONE place and took her small Toyota. We filled the trunk, the back seat, and she wound up holding a few plants on her lap even.

    Love that tree peony! My parents had peonies when I was growing up, and I’ve always been fond of them. Never had a tree peony though.

    • Hi Villager, thanks for stopping by! I’m a big fan of Our Happy Acres – wonderful blog! (and so exciting that you got bees!)

      Yes, I did get a good assortment. I’m planning on getting a pressure canner so once all those tomatoes start pouring in we can keep up with them!

      Tree peonies can handle a fair amount of shade, which is the only reason I’m able to have one.

      It’s a good thing we don’t have a car, or I would probably have to have a plant-buying “crisis intervention.” Love the image of you and your wife in a Toyota overflowing with foliage – haha!

  3. hahaha! I could not stop giggling and nodding my head as if you were here talking to me =) I know exactly how it is and I love the questions the sales guy asked you, that is what is usually going through my mind when I’m buying up big, Oh well, he hasn’t divorced me yet…lol! Its a dangerous condition, this over buying of plants, all caution and reason fly out the window. But I say ENJOY! Enjoy all the rewards of a beautiful space with loads of yummy tomatoes =)
    ps, I have a mini-van and have been known to fill it on the odd occasion…lol!

  4. Hi Julia! Glad you can relate – very well, from the sounds of it – filling a mini van? If I could, I would!

    You nailed it – all caution and reason went right out the window.

    I WILL enjoy everything (already am) and my husband happens to make the best tomato sauce on the planet, so we’ll be able to can that and some salsa (guess what everyone here will get for Christmas?) =)

  5. I’m getting from a friend’s garden this week: Pulmonaria and some Hosta. I’ll buy some Alchemilla (Lady’s Mantel.) Maybe just 2 plants.

    I have lots of shade. It wasn’t always that way–but our trees keep growing so my garden keeps evolving. If you were close-by I’d my friend is simplifying her garen and giving these plants away. Actually, many of my plants came to me like this. From friends. Or, I plant my own seeds and sow in the spring. Especially annuals and veggies. It does save $$. And I love nurturing my plants from seeds to seedlings.

    I bet next year you’ll buy less, look for friends who are pairing down, and try some seedlings. It is fun to go a little crazy at first, we all do. Either way–your garden has an awesome start! I love what you have planned.

    • Thanks, Margaret. I am hoping to connect with more gardeners in my area so that we can share seeds and divisions (and money!) down the line.

      I’ve direct seeded several things, but starting seeds indoors has always sounded a little daunting to me. Maybe someday. They sure are cheaper, that’s for sure!

  6. Ha! Oh yeah, I can relate. I look at the collection of plants that need to be planted on my patio and think to myself I just need to stop the madness…This morning I drove past the nursery and didn’t stop in! I patted myself on the back! Good luck with all your new plants – just think, you’ll be so satisfied when you look out the window and see the beautiful garden!

    • Hi Cat, thanks for visiting! Your “stop the madness” comment cracked me up. At least you made it past the nursery this time around without stopping in – congratulations! Hahaha.

      I am on the edge of my seat looking at the garden and everything in it. I’ve already caught myself telling a friend “sure…I can meet you on Tuesday…I just have to go home first and check on my plants….” Obsessed? I’m choosing to call it “over-excited.”

  7. Oh my, welcome to the GA club. (Garderner’s Anonymous) I went through the same exact thing last year. It was our first time ever having a yard after living in a walk up for years! I too, always looked at my neighbors yards with envy, and didn’t have a garden until now. And I also went a little plant crazy, it’s normal… I think! We moved here October of ’09 and since then I’ve purchased… 6 rose bushes, 5 peonies, 4 grapevines, 2 orchids, 1 fig tree, 1 hibiscus, 6 raspberry bushes, 1 blackberry, 2 blueberry, 6 rhubarb, 5 horseradishes, and 2 asparagus. Plants are addictive, but the rewards are plentiful. The urge to want to buy everything you see doesn’t go away. Just think how great everything will look when it’s planted! One thing that I did learn to do is plant swaps, and getting plants from Freecycle.

    • Hi Mimi! Wow – I am definitely not alone in this, huh? You know I’m a big fan of your blog and all this time I’ve been thinking you must have had this garden for years because of how much is growing!

      You made great purchases, though, that’s for sure. It’s so great you have the space for all these things.

      Everyone keeps saying what you said: the urge doesn’t go away! (oh no!) I will definitely need to start finding plant swaps in our hood – ha!

      I have given away two hollies and 10 day lilies on Freecycle (already there in our yard when we moved over-abundance.) so I’m hoping the Freecycle juju will come back to me in the form of a plant someday. 😉

  8. Ok Aimee, your first sentence “I should no longer be able to attend a plant sale” made me laugh so hard. We are so similar! I will morally support your habit 🙂

    • Thanks, Stacy! The whole thing felt like I had had a few too many margaritas and woke up thinking “…what happened?”

      Glad to have a kindred plant-buying spirit – welcome to the club!

      The good news is that I am literally nearly out of space…so new plants ARE NOT AN OPTION. I repeat (for my own benefit) ARE NOT AN OPTON…except for maybe out around the trees in front of the house. (see how this happens?)

  9. Aimee, a very funny post. I can identify – I do think buying plants can be addictive! I set myself a rule last year – no buying more plants until the last purchases are in the ground. You’ve got a nice selection there. I’m envious of all your herbs. I’m in an herb-buying mode this year and plan to pick some more up at the farmer’s market today.

    • Hi Sheila, thanks for stopping by! I love your “rule” – it’s a great one and it makes, well, SENSE. (which I seem to have lost this Spring.)

      We do love herbs. My husband and I both love to cook and use plenty of herbs when we do. Last fall I took my potted up sages, oreganos, and thymes and put them into the ground…they were in great shape this spring and I was even able to divide the sage plants into five plants, which I used in my strawberry jars.

      Happy herb shopping!

  10. Keep records!
    Draw maps!
    Save labels!
    Take pictures!
    But wasn’t it exciting fun to come home with arms-ful of good stuff?

    • Hahaha! Hi Bev, yes – I have saved labels and am taking photos and doing my best to keep records of everything. (But mainly I’m just kind of walking back and forth and back and forth in the garden going “oh my gosh…oh my gosh…”)

      Yikes is right, but yes – it was very exciting to come home with great plants, and even more exciting now that they are all in the ground / in pots. Woo hoo!

  11. Bahahahaha! 🙂
    (And I am totally laughing with you and at myself here)

    I too, have experienced the lowered eyebrows and snarky comments of “You’ve been at the nursery here nearly every DAY; what are earth are you planting?”

    I did avoid that nursery for a while after that.

    Enjoy all your plants! My personal nemesis is the clearance section at a local big box store. They mark down to $1 (yes, one measly dollar!) things that are done blooming for the year. I always seem to end up with things I don’t need, but for a dollar I can’t help myself.: )

    • Hanni – I am with you 100% – $1 mark downs? How can you refuse?

      I love that you developed “a reputation” at that nursery and had to lay low for a while – hysterical.

      Last night someone came to pick up some extra day lilies that I was giving away (hey, look at me GETTING RID of some plants!) and she commented on how beautiful the yard and side garden looked already…if it were possible to HEAR a smile, you would have heard me smiling all the way over there in Indiana. =)

  12. Oh, my… you have it bad. The garden bug has bit 🙂

    So worth it!!! I lived in a no garden apartment for 5 years. My only solace was reading garden books from the library. When we moved here to “Gilmore Gardens”, I went pretty crazy. There is nothing like the feeling of driving home a car full of new planting potential!! More than once I have literally packed my kids in the car with plants like packing peanuts. Oh, the glee! (It helps that I have connections at a local nursery that I used to work at. I have gotten the season’ annual flower left overs more than once!!)

    Thanks for your visits to WMG & your sweet comments!
    I say enjoy planting season- it only comes twice a year!

    • Thanks, Julie! Yes indeed, I have been bitten badly. It helps to know I am not the only one! “Spring Fever” has certainly taken on new meaning for me this year, boy oh boy.

      I love picturing a car full of kids situated in amongst dozens of PLANTS – ha!

      How fantastic that you have a nursery connection! I scored in a pretty major way last year from my friend Bev (who does not have a blog but I wish she would – she has the most amazing garden I’ve ever seen with my own eyes) – she gave me tons of perennial divisions and seeds to get me started when we moved in. I shudder to think what would happen if I had a local nursery connection like you…I don’t think anyone would ever see me!

    • Hey! Thanks for visiting! I think the limit on space is a good thing for me right now, haha! I’ve even reached about maximum capacity in the container department as well. Eeek!

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