These days I cannot walk past a garden centre without checking out the far end of the plant section where they usually put all the discounted plants.
These poor plants are generally tired, limp and dry as a bone. All jumbled up together unloved and unwanted. Frankly I find it very sad that had they just been watered regularly they would probably be just fine right now.
Anyway, usually heavily discounted, I search through them all to find ones that have a chance of survival. Often I find ones with good root systems and given a little tender loving care I take a chance on reviving them.
Today it was the turn of three Rosemary plants and a French Lavender. In particular the French Lavender was a sorry looking plant half dead and very limp, I wasn't sure, but it had a good root system and urged on by my hubby (a recent gardening convert !) decided to take it home. An hour later after a good watering and re potting and light pruning it stands up proud in its new pot on our patio. It will take time for a full recovery but it already looks happier.
The Rosemary plants have also been potted up in nice fresh compost and given a good watering. In fact it its also pouring with rain now so that job is done for the day ! They were not in such a bad condition and I am sure they will prosper well. The price by the way was one fifth of the original price so a great bargain!
I usually do pot up any "rescue" plants into nice fresh compost first and give them time to recover before I plant out in the garden. I can keep an eye on them better and its just good to know that they get exactly the soil conditions they need. We have rather heavy clay which can be difficult for a poorly plant.
Earlier in the month I rescued a beautiful rose, scented with creamy white flowers that looked devastated and was going yellow. Roses are special to me and there was something about it which meant I just could not leave it there on the shelf ignored by everyone...
Three weeks on it is a different plant. Watering feeding and new compost has given it a new lease of life! It is unbelievably even flowering! I have six Forsythia plants I got less than half price which are now also blooming their hearts out and several others that are all doing very well.
So I would urge you not to bypass these sad looking plants for the showy blooming ones.Take a look at this corner of the garden centre section and if you have the will and the confidence to have a go, see if you think any can be revived.
Many will not flower for you this year but with TLC will do well next year. I tend to go mostly for perennials, shrubs, roses, lavender, hebe, heuchara, rosemary and clematis have all proved good survivors for me. I can also always be swayed by snapdragons and herbs and will occasionally take on a real challenge if it is a plant I really want.
Look for some top growth, a good healthy root system and no sign of diseases. Be prepared to spend a little time on them. Give it a good watering when you get home and leave it. Check up on its ideal conditions and give it that ie sunshine or shade, well drained etc. Then re pot into a slightly larger pot with a good quality compost. Feed if it needs it. Keep a close eye on it for a few weeks at least.
My record is that approx eight times out of ten I have ended up with a beautiful plant. Yes I have had several failures which would not respond but mostly it is positive.
I get a real pleasure from taking an unloved plant and bringing it back to full health and vigour and it rewards me with a garden full of beauty and scent. I could not afford for our garden to be so full of lovely plants now if it were not for these beautiful bargains. In fact I have just convinced my self to go back and get more of the Lavender and Rosemary plants tomorrow!
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