Here's another guest post from Friend of Rant, professor of veterinary medicine, and master gardener James K. Roush, who blogs at Garden Musings. Hark to his tale of frustration with QR codes and questionable, albeit tempting, spring bulbs.—Elizabeth
I was out running errands around town yesterday and, entering a large home improvement box store that will remain unnamed, I was captured, as usual, by the entry display of various bagged up bulbs and perennials. As a general rule, I try to avoid spending any time in front of those racks because I know that most of these plants and bulbs will be dehydrated with little chance of survival and also because they are very common perennials and thus below the standards held by a real gardener. Since I'm not a real gardener, however, I nearly always leave with a bag of something or other. Call them impulse purchases.
Anyway, today, it was a bag of Tigridia that caught my eye. Having never seen them before, and seeing that they were promoted as "Sun Lovers" (see the package above), my first thoughts were a) "That would be good for a novelty," and b) "I wonder if they are hardy here?" The packaging didn't list a USDA hardiness zone, but it did have one of those wonders of modern convenience, a QR code, shown here. And I, being of an early technologic bent, have just such a code-reading app on my Smart Phone. (Go ahead, try it out. It works from the screen.)
So there are the Tigridia, on sale at Home Depot, and here you are, the technically-proficient and thoroughly modern gardener. The package QR Code links you to more information from the Longwood Gardens website. And what do you find? The message"LFGinfo.com spring bulbs coming soon." To quote Charlie Brown, "Aaarrrgggh!"
HELLO! STOP TEASING ME WITH YOUR PROMISES OF KNOWLEDGE! It's already spring, almost past it in many parts of the country. I'm a poor, uneducated common gardener just looking for help. Don’t you think it is about time to post the necessary information? Why put the QR code on the packaging if it is not active?
I've since found out that Tigridia pavonia is only hardy to Zone 8, and furthermore, is short-lived, each flower blooming only for a day. Wonderful. I just purchased an annual daylily. Of a magenta coloration I now find truly ugly.
Well, so run the disappointments of our gardening lot. Doomed forever to take a $6.98 chance on twenty dehydrated, decrepit bulbs that will not survive winter in my Zone 6 climate, and may not even come up for one season. Tigrigia is noted on one website to grow in Olathe, Kansas and Lincoln, Nebraska, if, like dahlias, you are industrious enough to dig them up every fall and replant every spring.
I don't grow dahlias for just that reason. As I've noted many times, digging and replanting bulbs in my stone ridden soil is a Sisyphean recipe for a broken back and a broken spirit. But I will try to enjoy the Tigridia for this summer, fleeting as they may be. Those few flowers, at least, whose bulbs survive their dessicated state in my drought-stricken Kansas soil long enough to grow and bloom.