The devious calculus of plant acquisition

Jim McKenney
Thu, 16 Feb 2012 10:50:15 PST
I'll bet I'm not the only one who does this!

Back during the holidays I purchased two (and later a third) Cyclamen persicum; these are the small ones (actually probably close to the size of the wild forms), not the giant ones. These small ones sometimes have a great scent, and the pinks and whites seem especially and agreeably fragrant to me. The foliage of these is also extremely ornamental with beautifully detailed patterns of silver on green. Thanks to the mild weather, but for three nights I've been able to keep these outside continually since they were purchased. They keep pushing up new flowers and seem to relish the day after day of sunny but cold ( although above freezing) conditions. 

So far I have not learned how to keep these going from year to year. I expect them to continue to bloom right through April or so; during the summer I'll forget about them and then when I clean the frames in the autumn I'll find the mummified corms. There are so many other distractions in the summer that I've never taken the time to figure out if I'm keeping them too dry or too wet. Since the corms don't rot (they shrink and get hard), I suspect I'm keeping them too dry. 

As a result, I'm inclined to regard these as throw away plants to be enjoyed while in bloom and then discarded. This attitude in turn is very contrary to my pervasive sense of frugality. The result is guilt. The antidote to the guilt is creative accounting. I now pro-rate or amortize the value of these plants. They cost $5 each when purchased, but since I've had them for about 50 days now, the "cost" has come down to about 10 cents per day. by the time I abandon them for the summer, it will be down to mere pennies.  

OK, 'fess up: I'm not the only one who does this, am I?

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.021954º North, 77.052102º West, USDA zone 7
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin /<> 
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