From the Sperry Gardens

SG_Jul13_ChlorophytumsIt seemed like it took forever to get the plants out of the greenhouse and into our landscape this year. Spring kept getting interrupted by cold spells every Wednesday.

Now that I have everything out that’s coming out (I don’t think we’ll have any more freezes until fall), I’m left with several plants I bought eight or 10 weeks ago. Yep. I did what we all do: I bought “plants for my place” without having “places for my plants.”

And so that’s what brings us together today. These airplane plants were in front of a fine grocery store (hope you’re sitting down) back in late March. It was closing time, they were $5, and it was 38 degrees and sinking. These plants were too good to watch freeze, so I bought them. Now I’m figuring just where to use them.

The wide-leafed plant at the bottom of that photo is a sister, also in the genus Chlorophytum. Craziest one I’ve ever seen. I bought it at a nursery two weeks ago. Again — no clue where to put it. So it finds itself with its relatives, alongside our driveway, awaiting its turn in our gardens.


And then there’s the Rex begonia. These have been among my all-time favorite foliage plants, and I’ve been growing them for more than 50 years. I see mystery and intrigue in every leaf. At one point, I had 200 varieties growing in large pots in my greenhouse, but I’ve narrowed the numbers down to just 10 or 12 now. This is the new kid in town, bought just a couple of months ago. If you look at the top of its photo, you’ll see the base of the clay pot that you see at the bottom of the airplane plant photo, so it doesn’t take the FBI to figure out that this begonia is also sitting alongside our driveway, just waiting. And waiting. I’ve actually kind of grown fond of its place in our landscape.

I have a big story planned for the September/October issue of our magazine, and many of my best tropicals are going to be in it — the ones that bumped ahead of these plants in getting put into our gardens. So, rather than showing much more at this point, I’ll sign off for now, but not for long. If you’re a subscriber to GARDENS Magazine, watch for that story. If not, click here to join the team!

And finally, the words I want you to remember: always know exactly where each plant you buy will be used in your gardens. Otherwise, you’re destined to have homeless plant-vagrants. Like I do.

Posted by gdrew
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