Hey, Let’s Go To The Garden Center!

I can save you a lot of time right here if you just read this summary instead of slogging through all the following words until the end:

I take years to plan things out just so for in my landscape design keeping true to my vision of the final appearance. My husband doesn’t even think about the garden except to suggest pruning beautiful mature growth at the peak of its beauty with a chain saw and to declare that he doesn’t want anything “hanging over”. And so when confronted with actual plant placement, he develops an instant unalterable opinion about what should be and why my plan is wrong.

That’s really all you need to know, but do read on if you care about the details.

I should also say that he’s a bit worried about me because I’ve recently taken to sleeping 18 out of every 24 hours and that’s why when after my morning nap I idly suggested we go out together to look for bird baths, he was enthusiastically for it. Not for the shared garden center adventure but more for getting me out into the fresh air.

Well, heading for a garden center on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the affluent central NJ suburbs. What could go wrong? I won’t bore you with the parking spot wars but suffice to say that the skinnier the snooty bitch driving, the bigger the SUV. It never matters if you’re right or wrong because unless you are in the SUV, you are going to lose anyway.

Once parked, we entered my favorite nurse center in search of the perfect birdbath and perhaps one or two yellow Knock Out Roses. We had to pass the fountain display first and Sami is nothing but a sucker for fountains. They had something for everyone: Tuscan-like, Woodsy/Fairy-like, big wet balls,  jugs flowing into other jugs. But here is one that I bet will remain unsold the entire season:

This is a family of meerkats in living color scanning the horizon for danger lurking amongst the pansy pots, I guess.

The thing was about 4 feet tall, and unless I miss my guess about the popularity of meerkats in Monmouth County, destined for the clearance section sooner rather than later. Also, we must have missed the memo to bring your little dog  out shopping with you today.

We are not impressed, lady. We had a neighbor that had 3 of these that he would take on pre-dawn walks down to the street light in front of our house and let them dump. Hey, why don't you go find that skinny bitch what took my parking space?

So. We visited 3 garden centers and looked at all of the BBs.

  • The first place had a large selection of shiny ceramic ones and they were beautiful and on sale for only $49.00. I did make a mental note to circle back for a charming celadon green one with the crackle finish if we didn’t see anything better.  We both agreed this would be a good thing to have in the new rose bed.
  • The second place was one of those open field, dirt and gravel staging areas for giant tiered fountains, lion pairs and the occasional concrete mermaid and sea captain. There were a few reasonably priced birdbaths and they were all concrete which is my favorite. They were all acceptable but none were thrilling until I spotted a squat little concrete tree stump with a concrete nest on top of it where three fat concrete birds perched. It was perfect except that it was only half the width and half the height of what I had in mind. I still liked it but Sami developed a psychic pain between his shoulder blades that told him that if I didn’t get 100% of what I wanted, we’d be bird bath shopping again next year.
  • Finally, the schmancy horse-country garden center  with a big selection of clay, concrete, resin and ceramic baths. They were all three times the price of the other places and hard to get to because you had to squeeze around the bronze horse statues to get to them. We were on the way out when we spotted hidden in some flowering shrubs a single bird bath, cast concrete, that had an attractive  nickle-sized overall pebble pattern molded  into it. It was marked down from $189.00 to $29.00 and Sami declared it was the best we had seen all day AND NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE PRICE EITHER.

We had a car full of rose bushes so we went home, but on the way, someone made a decision and we turned the car around to buy one of the birdbaths mentioned above. Which one do you think it was?

FYI – we spent the evening locked in hot debate about whether the new rose bushes should be planted in a symmetrical arc or an asymmetrical pattern. No clear winner here yet.

UPDATE: 8:30pm  After dinner and a mild dust-up about improper use of oregano in a salad, I’m sitting in the front room reading and I hear him rattling around in the closet looking for a jacket. He’s off to his customary Burger King visit for the nightly cup of 38¢ senior citizen coffee. He opens the front door and takes a step forward, then leans back in and says: “Hey! I enjoyed our shopping trip together today!” and starts laughing  like a bastard. I can hear him laughing after the door closes and he walks down the driveway.

35 thoughts on “Hey, Let’s Go To The Garden Center!”

  1. I’m really getting sick of people who take their dogs EVERYWHERE. Don’t get me wrong, we are currently looking for a puppy, but don’t have any plans to take it anywhere other than around the block. I remember as a kid (about 11 years old at them time) being astonished that the bus driver let some old guy onto the bus with his little dog in his bag. My husband and I never eat outside at a restaurant, because on more than one occassion a four legged bag of flatulance has been seated at the next table…. rereading, you probably think I hate dogs, but I don’t. I hate their inconsiderate owners who think they are entitled.

    1. This dog owner was particularly crazy to bring a beast that size into a crowded place filled with breakables. I don’t care how well behaved the dog is – it’s the damage from people hustling to get out of the way from it. Not everyone is a fan of giant dogs or even of dogs in general.

      1. There’s a local business that sells painted ceramics imported from Mexico, some of which are quite lovely, and some of which defy description. One day I took a picture of a polychrome life-size blue Great Dane-style dog in a sitting position. The dog was, erm, anatomically correct.

  2. I know you didn’t get the peeing herd of meerkats (because it’s not on clearance), so I’m guessing the stump with the nest.

  3. I really am having a hard go wrapping my head around the fact that YOU spent all day with Mr. Sami while I spent all day with Mr. Joe.. (his trip was a little less pleasurable for him as he spent it at the KOP mall.. I did get a dress but not after I kept scaring him with ones that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. I really don’t think I have ever seen a pair of 800$ khaki pants prior today .. but I digress) I am now fully clothed for the wedding. Everyone, please , breath out… !!!

  4. Well I had visions of spending an enjoyable hour at Menard’s (save big money!) with my oh so impatient husband yesterday but 21 and one month old college daughter needed a ride to pick up her car where she left it after having 3 beers. she SWEARS, and it was gone! After calling all the tow places and police department to find it wasn’t towed and prior to making a police report she finally heard from the person she rode home with that she had actually left it in another parking lot. Wake up call to tiny, doesn’t hardly eat girl, that just maybe 3 beers ( yeah I was young once too) is over her limit. At least she didn’t try to drive home.

  5. I envy your ability to make choices in your landscape. I live in the desert and I’m a good person so I have 3 tons of gray rocks, and 4 drought resistant plants in my front yard. It’s ugly. And you can’t walk on it, it hurts your feet. sigh.

    Sometimes, I get a bowl of flowers and put them outside but it’s not the same. Savor your decision making, enjoy the wonder of choosing what to plant and where to plant it.

    1. Everything I know about gardening applies to zones 6 and 7. If I ever move anywhere else, it will be a yard full of plastic and polyester because I don’t know how to adjust to other zones.

    2. I’ve been to the desert (not on a horse with no name) and while I can see beauty in it, I’m kind of glad I don’t live there. I need green.

  6. Right there with you, srdem. I do have 3 Texas purple sage bushes which bloom sporatically, that are quite lovely. And they don’t require much water. And I think the celadon green with the crackle finish was the other one. My question is, didn’t you buy a birdbath not too long ago? On sale maybe? Or am I dreaming. Seems like it was blue/green or something like that.

      1. I’m with you, PatAZ. I’d have sworn Suzette bought a blue bird bath in a carton.

        We are fond of meerkats but not in the yard.

        We are fond of dogs, but not all dogs and not large ones at a garden center or any other place where people congregate. Exception: dogs for the handicapped.

        I’m guessing you bought the celadon green one, but ?

  7. Without looking at the other entries I guess you got the celadon green and went for asymetrical placement.

    1. The celadon green one was just what you’d want from a birdbath – right size, right height,right bowl depth, interesting crackle. I would have gotten it too except the stump and nest captured my heart.

      Oh and I am advocating for an asymmetrical planting pattern but since I am not manning the shovel, I have to convince rather than command. And that irks me. It would be SO much easier if he would just do what I say. In the end, he always caves in to me anyway.

      1. I suppose we have to wait until all the planting and positioning is done before we get to see your choices. I’m anxious.

  8. Must have been that kind of day. My wife convinced me to head out 78 to the horsey rural areas to go to open houses – you know, just in case we ever have the money. Why does she find it fun to go look at properties that are nicer, newer and bigger than ours? I don’t know.

    Not sure I would want to live in Tewksbury or Oldwick even if I had the money. My ambitions are more along the line of a small house with a lot of (non-lawn) property where you wouldn’t worry about your dogs barking or running power tools in the garage at 9 in the evening. Oh, and the previous owner was a compulsive handyman.

    1. I went back to the garden center today to pick up one more rose bush and I paid another visit to the meercats while I was there. I was wrong to conclude that they were just some random meercats stuck onto a fountain. It was a scenario, an art work with a title: “Meercats at Watering Hole” and it was on sale too.


  9. 215.99! You’ve got to be kidding. Maybe a zoo will buy it.
    The cure for sleeping 18 hours a day is being 60 and having a 17 year old daughter who is developing a “friendship” with a 17 year old boy, but “Don’t worry Mom we’re just friends. Yes we went to church together and spent Saturday with his family, so don’t worry.” I feel like it might be a long time before I get a full night’s sleep. I should be glad they went to church right?

  10. […] Remember the meerkat water fountain? I went back to that garden center today and discovered that their nature studies are not limited to fountains. Here is a … statuary, I guess it is. And I’m thinking you could use it indoors OR outdoors. Or maybe move it around as the seasons change. Well worth the investment I suppose but I’m not really in the market for parent/child wildlife sculptures. $167.99 […]

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