Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Plant Sale Semi-Madness October 2, 2008

Since I missed my favorite fall plant sale this year (probably a good thing for the old bank account, but not for the garden), I feel like I have a bit of a free pass to pick up a few little things here and there, since it still probably won’t add up to what I would have spent. I think Calvin Trillin described this in his book “The Tummy Trilogy” as “Alice’s Law of Compensatory Cash Flow,” a principle he named for his beloved and now-late wife. The (cracked but makes-sense-to-me) theory is that if you were going to spend money on something but then you didn’t, you get to spend it elsewhere without having to feel guilty. I’m not advocating it as a financial strategy, but it’s a mental process I find myself enacting on a semi-regular basis.

After writing a post on sedums, I figured I needed to pick up at least one to plant this fall in the parking strip. I haven’t seen one of the dramatic purple-foliage ones yet, but I’m going to keep looking. In the meantime, I got that good old standby, ‘Autumn Joy.’ It’s ubiquitous here in Seattle, but probably for good reason – it’s a regular performer and it blooms late when much of the garden is getting pooped out. Mine is on the small side, but it only cost $4, from a cutting grown at the Pat Calvert Greenhouse at the University of Washington Arboretum (I’ll be back there this weekend for the annual craziness of their bulb sale).

New sedum

Another plant I’ve been wanting to put in the street garden is a Gaura. I’ve seen it growing nicely in many sidewalk gardens in my neck of the woods, and I love the way its star-like blossoms seem to float on their thin stems, high above the green mass of slender leaves. It’s a long-term bloomer, always a plus. This one was on sale when I went to buy compost earlier in the week. Score! It’s Gaura lindheimeri ‘Geyser White.’

Gaura lindheimeri 'Geyser White'

Of course, the gaura went into a box and then there was room in the box for more plants… yes, this is how my brain works, and why I don’t allow myself to go plant shopping very often. I ended up with just a few more babies to bring home – two cute little pink-flowered Heron’s Bill groundcovers, a sweet marjoram, and a small hebe (‘Autumn Glory,’ hm, maybe it can be friends with my sedum?). I didn’t even fill up the box, how restrained!

New baby plants II

Now, to plant it all. It’s raining lightly today, perfect transplanting weather. So what am I doing in here?!


6 Responses to “Plant Sale Semi-Madness”

  1. Megan Says:

    Sounds about right to me, that’s how I manage the gardening finances. And then a little extra. Just ’cause.

  2. Racquel Says:

    It makes perfect sense to me GW, lol. That’s my theory too. 🙂 Looks like you found some great plants to add to your garden. That Gaura is very pretty and I look forward to seeing your Hebe bloom.

  3. Jendi Says:

    I like the Gaura! Very pretty.

    Love the financial theory. 🙂

  4. Philip Says:

    What a delightful post. I just love your blog.
    Alice’s Law of Compensatory Cash Flow, now that is something to remember!
    You are a true gardener, with plants making friends, and the thought that one could just tuck another little plant here and there. So much fun!

  5. I love Alice’s Law, I’ve noticed how I seem to follow it, but I never knew it had a name.

    And yes, you exercised GREAT restraint by not filling up that box, so… apply a new law that says you can go back anytime and buy as many plants as WOULD have filled up the box, and then some. But always leave room for one more plant so you have a good reason to go back again, and again, and again.

    Happy planting!

  6. Shibaguyz Says:

    I can’t wait to tell Jason about your proposed financial theory! I wonder if he’ll go for it… hhhmmm…

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