Resist temptation

Summertime DIY projects are an awful thing, and not just for their interference with pool time.  This beautiful time of year with its warmth and sunshine is also the time when nurseries and box stores try and clear out their inventory, and as long as I’m at the store picking up lumber and sandpaper I might as well take a stroll through the plants to see what’s going on.  So far an oleander and golden arborvitae have joined the screw and hinge purchases, and under the relentless strain of repeated returns to the store it’s no surprise my resistance wears thin and a small eucalyptus or succulent falls in the cart too.  Some people buy chocolate, I buy plants, and at a midsummer 50% off sale I run the risk of getting fat.

The DIY store is not a nursery.  The plants are not well cared for and are right in there with washing machines, pipe, and soda coolers…… but sometimes you get lucky.  Sometimes you don’t though, and it bothers me that they sell diseased and dying plants such as these ‘Tropicana’ cannas.

virus in canna leaf

Canna ‘Tropicana’ should be a gaudy blend of yellow, pink, and red stripes on a purple leaf, without breaks and mottling of color. You’re looking at canna virus.

I would guess the store doesn’t know and doesn’t much care to know but the grower should, and to send out plants looking this bad (and to then sell them for nearly $15!) seems irresponsible.  Reputation must not matter much as long as the bottom line keeps looking good.

diseased cannas

Back in the day people went crazy over the wild colors which would show up in virused tulips….. but they learned the lesson and dumped the plants. ‘Tropicana’ growers didn’t get the memo, and each year I see these deformed offerings.

I would think if it’s your business you would want to send out the healthiest plants possible, and I’ve seen several online sources openly discuss the canna virus struggle, but some don’t seem to care.  ‘Tropicana’ can be a really cool plant…. if not entirely tasteful 🙂

healthy tropicana canna

Tropicana out by the mailbox last year. Maybe not virus-free (I’m back and forth on whether or not it’s clean) but it sure looks better than the store version.

I like my cannas and try to toss anything that looks suspicious, but I hate to see the pros doing a worse job than me.

I’d also hate to leave on a down note so here’s another lapse in judgment that you might enjoy.  Santa Rosa is an excellent online source for plants, and they run some amazing sales, here are the goodies which arrived last month after I fell victim to their online summer clearance.

plants from Santa Rosa gardens

I wasn’t even aware of my heuchera addiction until this showed up. My collection of one plant just increased by a dozen more….

The sale is still going on by the way, and if you use the coupon code of JULY10 when checking out, another $10 will come off your $35 minimum order… that’s practically giving plants away and I’m not going to go there (but I would never judge others who lack my amazing will power!)