Today I’m on a mini-rant. I say it’s a mini-rant because it’s not really that earth-shattering and all-important. I mean, c’mon, it’s about tulip bulbs, so how much angst can any one person really generate around that topic? But in truth, this did piss me off, just a little bit, and I thought I’d share it here to see what you guys think. Early Christmas decorating woes at Wal-Mart turned me into somewhat of a Scrooge, or is that a ghoul? I’m not sure anymore. It’s almost Halloween, but I was looked at nativity scenes and Christmas trees this weekend.
I usually do my weekend grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, king and queen of all that can be bought in this world. Because it’s Columbus Day weekend, and I always planted my spring-flowing bulbs on Columbus Day weekend, I decided to wander into the garden area to see what colors they had left and what I might add to my flower garden.
I wandered into a winter wonderland…in October. Early Christmas decorating had struck!
The entire garden center area, save for a small, dusty back corner, had already been transformed into Christmas! If I wanted an artificial Christmas tree- they had it. If I wanted a package of non-breakable ornaments, it was on the shelf. Garland? Stockings to hang by the chimney with care? Got it.
Tulips bulbs? Daffodil bulbs? Crocus?
Not going to happen.
I asked the cashier. She shrugged and said, “No, we were sold out of those a long time ago.”
Good Lord, lady, I wanted to ask, how many did you have in the first place? And did anyone bother to tell those poor souls buying tulip bulbs in July how to store them properly so that they wouldn’t sprout early? I mean, early Christmas decorating may help sales, but what about your customers?
Here in south central Virginia, you can safely plant your spring-flowering bulbs anytime from now until the ground freezes solid. If you plant them too early, you run the risk of having them sprout early. While they won’t die, they will expend precious energy growing leaves that will only be nipped by the fall frost.
I’m neither a killjoy nor a purist, but it seems to me that you could have your garden center remain a garden center until, say, Halloween. Then you’ve got three weeks to prepare it for Christmas. If you work the overnight shift, it can be done in one to two weeks. How do I know this? Simple. I was a marketing manager for a major garden center in the northeast, and that’s how we transitioned several departments from gardening tools and supplies into the Christmas Shop!
In the meantime, however, I’m stuck staring at trays of glittering ornaments, red velveteen bows, and ceramic Christmas houses nicer than my own.
And nary a tulip bulb in sight.
Oh, well. At least they had cat litter and apples in stock, so my shopping trip wasn’t in vain. But I did have my heart set on adding more flowers to the garden next spring. Looks like I need to plan better next year and order from a catalog…probably in July…to make sure I have what I need after all.
Does early Christmas decorating bother you, too? Leave a comment here!
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.