Today's visitors
Do NOT plant this colorful perennial

Spring in the garden, fall at The Home Depot

Chrysanthemum,Home Depot,spring. Image: © (all rights reserved)
Yesterday we saw our first hummingbird of the season, a good looking male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird – the only species we have here on the east coast.

A couple of days before that we saw our first bees, and yesterday we had ten, bright yellow male goldfinches round the feeders - though not in the pink-flowered weeping cherry where they refuse to pose for a picture. Forsythia and hellebores are out, the bloodroot is over, through the woods the amelanchiers (serviceberry) are dusted with white blossom.

And in The Home Depot (Brits: like a vast B&Q) they think it’s autumn. There’s a nice range of chrysanthemums on display… in full flower, ready to plant. In April.

Two things:
* Chrysanthemums are quintessential fall flowers, why do we need them in spring? I suppose we have them because they enables chrysanth growers to generate some off-season income. But just because they’re there, it doesn’t mean we should buy them.
* Will inexperienced gardeners, who are more likely to shop for plants at The Home Depot than a nursery or garden centre, think this is their normal flowering time?

There was an extensive display of vegetable plants, too – enough different tomato varieties to bewilder the inexperienced plus a large range of bell peppers and chili peppers and egg plants (aubergines) and zucchini… all frost tender. Like the dahlias in full flower, also on display. And it’s weeks before final frost date. But no lettuce or chard or kale or cabbage or onions or hardier vegetables that you can safely plant.

Another way to provide a discouraging experience for inexperienced gardeners.

Sweet pea,snap pea,Home Depot. Image: © (all rights reserved) And there, in the middle of the veg display: Sweet Peas. No no… These were actually ‘Sugar Ann’ snap peas. But there are going to be novice gardeners disappointed by the lack of colorful fragrant flowers… In spite of the fact that they’re not mentioned on the tags. What do you think of when I say “sweet peas”, after all?

Exactly the same range of veggies was available a couple of miles away at Lowe’s, The Home Depot’s big competitor.

This all seems to me likely to create disappointment in new or inexperienced gardeners. Shouldn’t these places try harder to create a positive gardening experience?