In a small and muddled garden. Dorset. England. Thoughts about gardening and thoughts while gardening. Housework, politics and book reviews too. Esther Montgomery.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

PRICING A FERN


Time for a Chat

Having decided to buy a few ferns, I had to choose between small, vigorous and cheap or languid and expensive but bigger. The first kind were at a garden centre we’d investigated the week before. We’d have to go back if we wanted them. The larger ones were where we were - tempting on staging, out in the rain and right under our cold wet noses.

It was frustrating. Once I’d got all enthused with the idea of creating a green and ferny corner, I didn’t want to go home with nothing. But there wasn’t time to visit two garden centres in one day so I bought the only expensive one which looked half worth having. (Well, it was fine. Green and frondy and interesting.)

But when I got home, I found my fern was more thoroughly root-bound than any plant I’d ever met. It took three days of fiddling and shaking and bouncing up and down in a bowl of water to tease out even a few strands from the solid, white, almost earthless blob that counted for a root system.

And while I disentangled, I found a separate fern. It was small but quite distinct; with its own, sound roots. I pulled it away and cut where it wouldn’t budge and planted it in a separate pot. Lovely.

I’m wanting more than one fern - though I’m not sure I wanted two the same. The one I’d bought cost more than I’d hoped - and now I’d added the extra pot which I wouldn’t have needed if I had simply thrown the spare away or had left it bunged in with an already congested plant.

I’m unclear. Have I a bargain - a sort of inadvertent buy one, get one free? In which case, I’ve done well. Or should I add the price of potting-up the second to my initial outlay?

Maybe it doesn’t matter on a small scale (indeed it doesn’t) but . . . but it’s the kind of thing I think of as I pot on surprises and survey a garden which is filling up with plants for which no-one I know has a use but which I can’t, simply can’t, throw away.


7 comments:

Mark and Gaz said...

I think you got yourself a bargain Esther, two for one :)

It's a common trait amongst plant lovers, finding it hard to part with some plants that are not deemed needed yet somehow ended up owning, one way or another.

linniew said...

One good fern deserves another, so you did well. I've been known to dig ferns out of ditches among thorny vines... I love them. Beware, they ARE addictive.

Elephant's Eye said...

You've nurtured it, and are keeping it. It is no mere bargain. It is a surprise gift!

Janet said...

I think you may have ten for the price of one. I'll bet the big (root bound) one will chop into several next year and pot up beautifully.... Or is that being a tad greedy?

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Definitely a bargain Esther...who knows you may find even more as time goes by...hard to part with any plant..

colleen said...

Well, it sounds to me that you actually got more than you bargained for...

Christine @ the Gardening Blog said...

I think its a two-for one bargain. Absolutely!

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