Sunday, March 11, 2012

Techno-Teasing Trauma

I was out running errands around town yesterday and, entering a large home improvement box store that will remain unnamed, I was captured, as usual, to look over the entry display of various bagged up bulbs and perennials. As a general rule, I try to avoid spending any time in front of those racks because I know that most of these plants and bulbs will be dehydrated with little chance of survival and also because they are very common perennials and thus below the standards a real gardener should hold for themselves. Since I'm not a real gardener, however, I nearly always leave with a bag of something or other. Talk about your impulse purchases.

Anyway, today, it was a bag of Tigridia, the tiger flower, that caught my eye. Having never seen them before, and seeing that they were promoted as "Sun Lovers" (see the package below), my first thoughts were a) "That would be good for a novelty," and b) "I wonder if they are hardy here?" The packaging didn't list a USDA hardiness zone, but it did have one of those wonders of modern convenience, a QR Code, pictured here at the right. And I, being ProfessorRoush and of an early technologic bent, have just such a code-reading app on my Smart Phone.  Go ahead, try it out.  It works on the screen too. 

So there are the Tigridia, on sale at Home Depot, and here you are, the technically-proficient and thoroughly modern gardener.   The package QR Code links you for more information to the Longwood Gardens website. And what do you find? The message" spring bulbs coming soon." To quote the Peanut's character, Charlie Brown, "Aaarrrgggh!"
HELLO! STOP TEASING ME WITH YOUR PROMISES OF KNOWLEDGE!  It's already Spring, almost past it, in many parts of the country.  I'm a poor, uneducated common gardener just looking for help.  Do you think it is about time to post the necessary information up?  Why put the QR code on the packaging if it is not even active yet?

I've since found out that Tigridia pavonia is only hardy to Zone 8, and further more, is short-lived, each flower blooming only for a day.  Wonderful.  I just purchased an annual daylily. Of a truly ugly magenta coloration.  Just what I wanted.
Well, such runs the disappointments of our gardening lot.  Doomed forever to take a $6.98 chance on twenty dehydrated, decrepit bulbs that I now find will, in fact, likely not survive winter in my Zone 6 climate.  Tigridia  is noted on one website to grow in Olathe, Kansas and Lincoln, Nebraska, if, like dahlias, you are industrious enough (or crazy enough) to dig them up every fall and replant every Spring.

I don't grow Dahlias for just that reason.  As I've noted many times, digging and replanting bulbs in my stone ridden soil is a Sisyphean recipe for a broken back and a broken gardening spirit.  But I will try to enjoy the Tigridia for this summer, fleeting as they may be.  Those few flowers, at least, whose bulbs survive their dessicated state in my drought-stricken Kansas soil long enough to grow and bloom.


  1. I used to grow tiger lilies, and found the flowers pretty, if not quite spectacular. They did OK for me.

  2. ha ha ! I loved reading that post ! I personally have a dinausor mobile phone, which wouldn't let me scan labels off items I want to buy. Instead I stick to the old habit of asking a sales assitant, and I can assure you, the disappointment is sometimes to the same standard !

  3. Asking a sales assistant at a big box store! Might I suggest a Quija board for similar effectiveness?


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