Sunday, April 3, 2011

Death of a Salesman

Like most gardeners, I have learned to save the tags from plants in order to have the latin name.  This is the only way to guarantee you will get the exact same plant, as there as many varieties of some plants, should you want to purchase more.  So, it was a bit frustrating to me when I purchased a plant just labeled "Rock Rose."  I looked at page after page of different "Rock Roses", but none looked exactly like mine.

So, it was with excitement and delight that I spotted my "Rock Rose" from afar at a local Lowe's.  I ran over to the display in order to steal the tag make note of the latin name.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I gingerly raised the tag to read the name, and the label said only:

"Rock Rose".

&#@###$$%&^!(()##&@  What stupid supplier put these ##@$&% tags on this plant?

I wondered if the supplier was a small operation, or if they, too, were unsure of the latin name.  As I was cursing them under my breath pondering these questions, I realized there was a lady standing close to me.

Being the helpful gardener that I am, I launched excitedly into the fine attributes of this plant that I have come to love:
1) Easy to grow.
2) Drought tolerant.
3) Grows to around 3 ft. tall.
4) Blooms in the summer heat when other plants go dormant.
5) Spreads easily, but not aggressively, and the seedlings are easily removed.

Not wanting her to think I was employed by the stupid supplier, I also told her about its fault:
1) The blooms close at times.  Almost like a reverse four o'clock, the blooms close in the heat of the day, but are a wonderful open bloom to wake up to in the garden.

After my helpful comments, I realized that she was looking at me like a serial killer in an odd way, and I felt it was time for me to venture closer to the boring boxwoods, where no one would need my helpful commentary.  As I continued to watch her I saw her leaving the garden center in what seemed to be a hurry, BUT (and this is where you should pay attention)

I once went to a seminar and the lecturer said when someone says the word BUT always pay attention to the ending.  Like when someone says, "I love my husband, BUT -- I'm having an affair." , hopefully you paid attention to the ending.

Back to my story - BUT BUT BUT!!!  She left without the Rock Rose!!!  After I had told that old biddy her that it would do well in her garden!  I felt a little rejected, and decided I would try hard to not talk anyone else into a plant for their garden.

But YOU!  You might want this fine plant in your garden!  I highly recommend it, if you find it for sale.  It's sometimes sold with a tag that does not list its latin name.

BUT - (and you know what to do now) On my last shopping spree visit to the Lowe's garden center, I was delighted to see Rock Rose for sale - and this time the Latin name was on the tag!  Yes, I stole a tag for my records.  Pavonia lasiopetala is this wonderful plant's latin name.  It grows in zones 8 through 11.  Be on the lookout for it!  And for helpful gardeners.  :)


  1. aloha,

    yes i find the big box stores don't really care and probably the same for their suppliers. i am fortunate to by from garden people and nurseries so they usually have alot of information to impart to a plant fanatic. its sometimes better to google the information since some given information could also be wrong.

  2. Rock Rose is a wonderful plant and can be a perennial here in my zone 7 area. Everything you've said about it is so true. I'm hoping to plant another one in the middle of the front bed. And oh, I can totally relate to the tag frustration. There's been a few times I've gotten home, planted a plant only later to discover that it blooms differen than what was on the tag. That pretty purple blossom blooms red (what the heck?!) and is not what the tag proclaims. Also several times I've noticed that the tags in a pot are completely wrong. Surely the grower knew what was in the pot or perhaps some customer looked at a tag then stuck it back a pot, not paying attention to the fact that they stuck it in another pot.

  3. Haha! I love it, very funny! That old biddy doesn't know what she's missing!

    I only buy from the clearance rack at Lowes (because I'm cheap). The clearance rack is even worse with labeling, but it's an adventure!

  4. lol. Yes, I keep telling myself I won't purchase without the right label but I keep failing at this.

  5. Hehe, enjoyed this story! I can' t find this plant listed in our south African gardening books. Was all set to add it to my shopping list, but I'll keep a look out for it anyway. In my gardening book they list 'rock roses ' as cistus x hybrids - so that's not the same thing? Pity - I'd love one of those you have.

  6. Alas, that is why the big box stores have that money back guarantee - you bought the plant, it dies because you don't know what it is or what it needs.

  7. Love it! Very entertaining post - and it also made me want to go to my local Lowe's and try to find a Rock Rose with a tag that includes its Latin name. Though I am like Shannon and buy only from the clearance rack. But maybe the clearance rack will have one. And I love that picture of the kitty in the bird bath.

  8. Noel - I wish we had more garden nurseries here. You're right - I do go to Lowe's probably a little too often, because it is quite conveniently located, and I can usually talk my husband into a quick stop!

    Lynn - I do love Rock Rose and am glad it works for you. I, too, see lots of 'misplaced' tags. Gardeners have all kinds of challenges!

    Shannon - The clearance rack here is usually filled with dead plants. Not half living, completely dead. Otherwise, I would shop there first! I can imagine most plants there are mislabeled or not labeled at all!

    Jess - So many resolutions we gardeners make don't last long!

    Gardening Blog - No, that's why I could never find it. I was looking for a cistus hybrid. It's also commonly called Rosemallow or Swampmallow. Good luck in your search for it. It really is an easy-care plant.

    Tufa - Last year after the summer drought, I saw people lined up outside with dead plants - even trees. You could tell some just needed to have been watered a little bit that summer! I wonder who has to pay for the refund - the vendor or the store.

    Ginny - Our birds don't get to bathe too often - the cats love to drink out of the birdbath!

  9. I think that's a problem when a plant is mass produced by big, commercial nurseries and they have to appeal to general plant buyers who go mainly for common names rather than the latin ones. It's always worth finding out the botanical names, so in case you want to buy one again you can accurately search for it on other nurseries/garden centres.

  10. Don't get me started on plant labels!
    I actually like it when a fellow gardener starts a conversation at the garden centre.

  11. Mark and Gaz - I agree, it's always worth finding out the botanical names. And, you're right, a lot of people just ask or look for the common name, while full-fledged gardeners want the botanical one!

    Mac - I like to talk to other gardeners, too! I think perhaps this lady was not really a gardener, just a looker and I probably overwhelmed her!

  12. The big box stores are notorious for this. Your story way really funny and a great read this rainy morning.

  13. GWGT - It's raining here, too! Wahoo!

  14. I am still chuckling about the way your title fits with the rest of the post. :)

  15. It looks like a hibiscus. It's very pretty and now I'll know to look for rock rose;)

  16. It does look like a miniature blooming hibiscus. I hope you find one. Slow to get started in the summer, it blooms when it's hot, and it's very drought tolerant (a must here!).


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