Even with our occasional inclement spring weather, local gardeners are out in force buying plants. (Photo: Zelma Brezinska, Shutterstock).


By Mary Lynn Bruny

After months of tantalizing gardening catalogs being sent to them, Front Range gardeners have been let loose from their winter slumber to lunge toward gardening establishments with gleeful abandon. Mother’s Day weekend seems like the official starting flag of the outdoor plant acquisition race.

Fueled by their natural spring high, gardeners are now out in force gathering up leafy babies for the season. Clad in sun-bleached bucket hats and well-worn gardening clogs, they are descending upon nurseries like energetic locusts. It’s quite a scene.

There is no place on earth more joyful than a well-stocked local plant nursery in spring. Who knows what new beauties await there? What new hybrids have those clever plant people cooked up to introduce this year? A periwinkle poppy? A polka dotted peony? A plaid petunia? (Wouldn’t that be something?)

Even a long checkout line does not deter folks’ enthusiasm. If anything, it multiplies it.

“I’ve really busted my budget today,” an older man behind me in line with a big box of blue delphiniums and pink echinaceas happily confesses.

“I rationalize this as a healthcare expense,” I tell him while trying to balance my heavy box of ‘Indian Summer Raspberry’ heucheras and ‘Big Red Bronze Leaf’ begonias. “Gardening keeps me sane and limber.”

“Do you think I can use my medical FSA (flexible spending account) to buy these?” asks the woman behind him, laughing while holding her box of orange and yellow blooms. Medicinal marigolds. That makes sense to me.

There have been numerous reports of more people losing their patience during the pandemic resulting in all kinds of horrible stuff: an increase of road rage incidents, domestic abuse and homicides. But here at a local pop-up nursery is a checkout line of more than 15 people holding some pretty hefty boxes of foliage and no one seems unhappy or impatient.

Apparently, the gardening nursery is a happy zone. No one is threatening anyone else with a weeder tool for grabbing the last yellow pear tomato plant: “Drop it or that ratty, faded shirt you’re wearing will be smeared with more than sheep manure compost!”

It’s like being surrounded by plants – along with other smiling gardeners – makes folks release a wave of feel-good endorphins. That’s probably not too far off the mark. Gardeners often talk like they are joyfully addicted to plants, like plants are their drugs of choice.

“I know I don’t need this but I just have to have it,” one man in line says gleefully about a purple passion flower vine in his clutches. (It is spectacular.)

This reminds me of what my late father, an over-the-top gardener, used to say about buying plants: “What’s need got to do with it? Buy what makes you happy.” I obviously have taken his advice in spades. (No pun intended.)

“I just can’t come here without going crazy,” admits the woman in front of me who has four overflowing boxes of plants on the checkout counter. “But it’s a good crazy. It’s a happy crazy,”
she explains.

Happy crazy is good, right? (It’s so much better than sad crazy or mad crazy.) Plus she’s supporting a local business. She’s practically a hero worthy of praise: The Goddess of Greenery Giving the Greenbacks.

I’ll bet she and a lot of these gardeners standing in line will probably be back within a week, fingers with dirty nails grabbing “just a few more” leafy gems. You have to buy happiness while it’s in stock.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics for At Home Colorado. Email her at [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to athomecolorado.com/