When I first started gardening seriously, about 12 years ago, I made lists of the flowers I’d always loved and wanted to have in my garden. It was kind of a silly list, keeping in mind that, back then, I barely knew the difference between annuals, perennials, and tropicals. So, upon this basis, I bought lilies, roses, and irises. I bought jasmine and gardenia plants, learning that I’d have to keep them alive inside somehow for most of the year, and figuring out how to do that. I bought carnation and dianthus, planting them in semi-shady, clay soil. I bought interesting plants I’d never heard of from the pages of the Bluestone and Wayside catalogs, paying no attention to their requirements. (In my defense, both of these companies toss around the phrase “part-shade” with promiscuous—and semi-truthful—abandon.) I bought tuberose and freesia bulbs, and failed utterly. I am not sure either set of ten bulbs put up as much as one green shoot between them.
I am so much older and wiser now. I quickly replace the experiments with others that have already shown they will survive, so that I now have lots of hostas, hakonechloa, hellebores, eupatorium, hydrangeas, buddleia, and other, somewhat aggressive specimens that I dare not name here. I also have lots of lilies, the one plant on my early wish list that turned out to be a good bet.
So this is why I still buy cut flowers in the summer. I’ll never have a 4-month cut flower garden. Anyway I don’t like to take flowers away from the garden—who does? Hence, exhibit A, above. I will never grow this, and I don’t know anyone who does. It is stock (matthiola). I could grow it from seed, but the phrase “start indoors in February and set out into a cool spring” kind of put me off. I don’t see it happening. However, once in a while, the flower department at Wegman’s has it in several irresistible colors, including this dull apricot/pink.
It is still fun to buy cut flowers I will never, ever grow. Agree?