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We went shopping for flowers today, which is a trip to a candy store to me.  The peppermint striped petunias!  The lollipop topped geraniums!  Verbenas with gum drop bunches on the end of each branch!  Okay, that’s enough already!  I returned hungry to their house on the lake, and ready to get my hands dirty.

Most of my gardens are filled with perennials, which cuts down on the annual annual expenditures.  Invest once and enjoy for years (with some maintenance each month…).  However, nothing rivals the showy candy colors of annuals for the whole season in our zone.  If we could grow things that extravagant 12 months a year, I would have to, …well, I think my head would explode from the beauty.  Must have some winter gray to make these colors seem so bright.

Anyhoo, this trip to the nurseries was to find annuals for my mom, so I went a little cRaZy and called it a belated Mother’s Day gift (because you KNOW that the card did not arrive in time).   I get my love of flowers and green thumb from her.  It is special and rare to be here on a visit at this time of year, to be able to plant together.

We tried several stores to find just the right combo of eye candy, trying to support the local businesses instead of StuffMart.  The experience at the Farm and Home (Fleet Farm?  Farm & Fleet?  I get them mixed up) gave me pause…  after much searching for two geraniums that were an exact color match (because they do come in 5000 colors), I finally located one hanging pot and one on the ground.  The pots and plants were the exact same size, yet one was $7 more because it was a ‘hanging basket’ and one was a ’10” premium pot’.  Now I had a choice to make:

1.  Feeling cheated that I had to pay an extra $7 for the same thing.  What a rip-off!  And what the h*ll is a ‘fleet’ anyway?


2. Feeling lucky that I got one for $7 cheaper.  What a deal!  And what helpful staff to help us find the only two matching colors in the place.

The situation is a constant; the only difference is the attitude I would choose.  Today is a happy day and I could easily choose #2.  Maybe today is a happy day because I chose #2.  Attitude can not be overestimated.

We found the greatest variety at the next stop, a local stand in a parking lot, and I was also happy to hand my money to this man who worked hard to sell these beautiful plants.  Actually, he took VISA so even the little guy has to keep up with the times.

Here in Wisconsin, the old fashioned lilacs are in spectacular bloom.  I could not figure out why I did not remember the sheer number and size of the lilacs in this part of the country; many are more like trees covered in purple, lavender and white blooms.  (Cotton candy!)  Then I realized I have not been here in May since my grandma’s funeral, 19 years ago.  Back then, I still took the lilacs for granted as, ho hum, something that happened ever year; big deal.  Now it’s a Big Deal again.  That alone was worth the price of admission.