Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

In August I stumbled upon a Dutch bulb company while researching colors of amaryllis for work.  This happened to be during one of the hottest weeks of the year and my garden at home was looking as horrible as the neglected patch of invasive weeds in my neighbor's yard.  My garden was surely in need of a life makeover, and I was dreaming of cooler fall weather.  After browsing the online catalog, I put together a wish list and placed an order later that weekend with Nick.  We were excited (ok, honestly I was excited; Nick just thought ordering some plants was nice) for our future fall planting project in early October.  I also liked the fact that next spring we would have flowers for fresh cut bouquets.  The order confirmation noted the bulbs would arrive in late September.  Sweet!

Poppy Anemone Mixture
Poppy Anemone 'Mixture', one of the items I ordered (and really want to plant)

In September I decided to schedule a week off from work for early October.  I was past due for a vacation and decided October would be a great time to have a stay-cation to spruce up the garden, put together some fall combination planters, and plant the order of bulbs.  Then I got an email from the bulb company: "Important Update Regarding Your Order."  The delivery date was MOVED!  Moved to LATE OCTOBER!  I was crushed with my plans for an idyllic gardening vacation thwarted.

The bulb industry side of horticulture is so different from the rest of the industry -- it seems to have a bit more whimsy, more magic, something you can't quite put your finger on but spark curiosity.  In college we learned about tulips and how they were a form on currency in ancient cultures, where different colors yielded different monetary values; if I remember correctly, one of the first "market bubbles" was the tulip market.  Seems almost too good of a story to be true; perhaps great tulip industry branding efforts?  Other parts of the industry just seem so unorganized.  My undergraduate advisor would receive shipments of free bulbs to use for research experiments.  Some years there would be more bulbs than research and my friend Cheni and I would spend part of our summer composting bulbs that had gone unused and rotted in the greenhouse coolers.  Then there's last year's Dig, Drop, Done campaign that was so campy I to this day have no idea whether consumers bought it, found it appalling, funny, whimsical, or just plain stupid.  Kind of like the email confirmation when my bulb order was placed: "For Zone 6a, expect your order to arrive between September 15th and November 15th."  It's amazing that the bulb industry can operate so lackadaisical, when the rest of the horticulture industry demands live inventory stats and immediate order confirmations.  Maybe this is just a bad experience with this particular bulb company (that's been in business mind you since 1818, or so their website states), but I seem to remember other bulb companies having similar work ethics.  Am I missing something here?  Do I just have over-rated expectations because I, like other Americans, sometimes have "I want it NOW" consumer habits?  Are the Dutch onto something with their more laid back attitudes?

At any rate, I still am missing my order of bulbs. Please send ASAP.  ::Sigh::

Plant on,

Song for the Garden: Now Generation - Black Eyed Peas
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