Once a month or so Tony gets together with a group of friends for a poker night. While the men are playing, the women gather separately. We go out to dinner, then back to someone's house for socializing. I found out a few days ago that tonight was my turn to host. I started thinking about a place to eat and took a good look around the house. Time for a bit of deferred maintenance!
I always use occasions like this as motivation to do bigger cleaning jobs around the house. I washed the windows on the main level (inside and outside), dusted the light in the two-story foyer, and lifted up the edges of the area rug in the dining room to clean under them.
This morning I swept the front porch, dead headed a few flowers, and trimmed some wayward greenery. As I was doing the outside chores, I noticed the planter on the edge of the front porch. It was empty because I forgot to ask the cat sitter to water those plants while we were on vacation. Everything was dead when we returned, and I never got around to putting in something else. The planter needed something in it, so I decided I'd go to the hardware store and buy something to make it look pretty.
The Big Box store has a Garden Center at one end, with a selection of plants on benches outside. At this time of year, there aren't a whole lot of options for color. I saw mums of different sizes, and a few sad-looking pansies. I was ready to buy some small mum plants at two dollars each, but decided to look inside to see if there was anything else. Much to my delight, there was a plant shelf across from the register holding Ornamental Kale plants. The shelf had a sign indicating these plants were 75 cents each, but that amount had been crossed out-each plant was now only 25 cents. What a deal! At that price, many of the plants had seen better days, but I picked out eight decent looking ones. The plants had small green leaves with smooth wavy edges, and the interior rosette was a beautiful red-purple color.
I made my purchase, and hurried home to get my plants in the ground. The tag said to space the plants 8 to 12 inches apart, but I crammed the eight small specimen into my planter, setting them only a couple of inches apart so I could have immediate fullness. I don't have to worry about crowding; based on my past experience, the plants in this planter die after the first hard frost, so these new ones won't have a whole lot of time to get bigger.