Do you ever splurge, indulging in a luxury that you wouldn’t usually buy? As a gardener, have you ever splurged on a plant? Has a specimen been so alluring that you couldn’t leave it at the nursery? And have you ever wondered if money was no object, and you had the perfect growing conditions, what plant you would grow that you typically wouldn’t even dream of planting? Well, I certainly have! So, this week’s blog is all about dreaming in ‘what ifs’ and picking out some plants that you would most definitely splurge on if given a chance.
A few years ago, I read an article in Fine Gardening about splurge plants. They asked several plant experts to choose a plant they would splurge on if money or growing conditions were no object. The results were interesting, from exotic cacti to rare trees to corpse flowers. I don’t think I would choose to have a flower that smells like rotting meat in my home, but that is why this question is so intriguing. Each gardener will have a unique answer based on their preferences and what inspires them in the garden.
The article also included some tips to help readers determine whether a plant truly is splurge-worthy or whether you should keep that money in your wallet. Their criteria for a splurge-worthy plant are 1) It’s memorable, 2) It’s an absolute bargain that you can’t resist, 3) The plant is a sound investment for the future, and 4) The plant genuinely sparks joy. I understand what the article was getting at, but the most important of these criteria is that the plant makes you happy. If you smile every time you look at it, then to me, it is almost always worth the splurge.
Another article about uncommon houseplants mentioned that some plant enthusiasts spend hundreds of dollars on rare specimens such as variegated monsteras, pink variegated philodendrons, tricolor aglaonema, and limited specimens of zz plants. Rare dahlia tubers have also been flying off the shelves during the recent dahlia craze, with some single tubers fetching $30-$40 or more. People who curate collections such as rare coins, stamps, or sports memorabilia have always been willing to spend a little extra to acquire the rare and unique items to complete their collection. So, why should gardeners be any different?
These are exciting questions to ponder and ponder I did. So, again, if money and growing conditions were no object, which plants would I choose? If you’ve been reading along with my blog, you will know that I can’t choose just one answer. I think I would, of course, decide to grow some of the trees on my botanical bucket list, such as a giant sequoia, rainbow eucalyptus, and bristlecone pine. Then I would only have to travel to my backyard to see these beautiful species instead of halfway around the world. I’ve also always dreamed of having a few towering sycamores in my landscape; I think I would splurge on those.
If space were no object, I would give in to the dahlia craze and plant a field of dahlias in (almost) all the rainbow colors. I would even get my hands on some rare varieties that can be difficult to find, such as ‘Salish Twilight Girl’ and ‘Bracken Rose.’ Then, when they were in full bloom, I would walk the rows and harvest bouquets until my heart’s content. Oh, and while I was at it, I would also have a field of peonies, bushes of all varieties for cutting and enjoying. Then, I would add many rows of ranunculus and anemone because I wouldn’t have to worry about how much those costly corms are. Yes, for all of these, I would splurge.
Honestly, it’s starting to sound like I want to splurge on a flower farm! Yes, I would do that, splurge on all the flowers! A flower farm with a grove of trees from all over the world. And finally, my last splurge would have to be to hire some fellow gardeners/farmers to help me take care of all my new plants! But, hey, one can dream, right?
So, are there any ‘unicorn’ plants on your wish list? A specific variety that you would splurge on if given a chance? Or, like me, would you splurge on all of them? Keep dreaming and saving my friends, and soon perhaps those splurge plants will all be yours. Happy Planting!
*Certain photos, including the feature image, are from bigstockphoto.com and are noted in the captions.