Just read Michele’s austerity post and the comments. Great stuff.
It never occurred to me that I was being smart and frugal by dragging my tender/tropicals in and out of the house every year, but I suppose I am. Over the years, the alocasia and colocasia you see above have not only survived their twice-yearly manhandling but have thrived, putting out big leaves sooner each season. Which is what I need to provide a lush backdrop for the pond. One is Plant Delight’s Thai Giant; the other is a houseplant that a stranger dropped off at my office for reasons that were never clear.
These, in addition to a tree hibiscus, gardenia, jasmine, musa, and a whole bunch of other big and exotic (for Buffalo) specimens, are cheap enough when you consider how long I’ve had them, but their presence in the garden makes me feel lavish. They look lavish. Gardeners are lucky. Over-the-top for us costs relatively little in the grand scheme of things. A $4 strobilanthes can take on shrub-like proportions, amazing all comers with its metallic purple leaves. A $3 lilium can make hundreds of garden visitors swoon in their tracks. And as for all the bulbs I just ordered, if you tally up the various joys of choosing, planting, and anticipation, they will have paid for themselves before the first shoots appear above ground.