I feel a moderate sense of pride when I reflect on my current success story. It began almost a year ago when I stopped by a large local hardware store. I was only there to purchase a light bulb. Of course, it's almost impossible to purchase one light bulb thanks to multiple packaging. And thanks to psychologically effective display patterns and subconscious messaging, it's practically impossible to walk out of a large hardware store without a shopping cart full of things one isn't aware one needs when one enters the store.
However, I consider myself immune to advertising and subliminal messages and I managed to leave the store with only a two-pack of light bulbs. I did have a weak moment, though, just outside the door where I had to pass by the rejects from the attached garden centre.
They were mainly evergreen shrubs and half dead perennials, none of which I needed. I did give them the once over, but since I was in a hurry to get home and restore light to the bathroom, I didn't linger. The following day I went back to pick up a light bulb for the outside light over the front door. Since it was a sunny Saturday morning, there was no rush for the light bulb, so I was able to look over the plants a little more carefully.
I focussed on the perennials, hoping there might be something unique that I could scoop for next to nothing, but typically, these plants are ones that arrived at the store by the thousand and are only stacked at the door for a quick sale because it's closer than the dumpster.
It was then that I spotted it, almost hidden among the abundant spireas going for $3.99. At first, I thought it was a discarded support cane stuck in a pot, except it had a few yellow leaves hanging from it. There was a tag attached, though a faded one. I could just make out the words — Caryopteris 'Sunshine Blue', a small shrub. No Caryopteris had ever been grown in my garden. I'd never thought of planting one as they're barely hardy here. But, at $3.99, I'd nothing to loose.
I took my new plant home and sat on the bench while I figured out where I was going to plant it. These days, a new addition inevitably means replacing something else I'm tired of, or something that's performing miserably. The rose mallow (perennial hibiscus) that's been growing against the shed for years qualified on both counts — out it came (ironically, it was probably in better shape than many of the plants I'd seen crowding the door to the hardware store).
I then did a major refurbishing of the soil before planting the caryopteris, digging deeply, adding compost. I watered well then stood back. Nothing happened, other than the two leaves falling off. Later in fall, I mulched seriously all around the plant, hoping to ensure it would survive its first winter, more in hope than anticipation.
It did indeed survive, although I had my doubts as it was the middle of June this year before it so much as sprouted a leaf. These were yellow, the same colour as the ones that fell off in fall. I've since learned that they're supposed to be a golden yellow, so it had not been quite so sick as it looked when I brought it home.
Right now, I'm feeling pretty good because over the summer the plant has flourished. Small blue flowers are appearing and it looks perfect in it's location beside the shed. Hmm, I just noticed the bulb is out on the table lamp. I'm off to buy a new one.