So today I happened to be cruising Des Plaines, IL, and found time for a shopping trip at Pesche's. Let me draw you a quick analogy.
Plants: Pesche's :: Thoroughbreds: Kentucky Horse Park.
Pesche's is a rambling, palatial estate of a greenhouse that offers separate rooms for indoor and outdoor plants, indoor and outdoor tools, indoor and outdoor curatives, and indoor and outdoor pottery. They also have special areas for garden tchotchkes, seasonal/holiday paraphernalia, and lady's fashions. If you buy a pot with your houseplant, they will whisk it away like Christmas elves to their giant indoor potting benches and bring it back to you daintily assembled, with two little mints sitting on the topsoil. They have terrariums so big, you could grow vegetables in them. If you come in and tell them that you need a systemic that prevents unicorns, they will have it.
I'm exaggerating a little, but not much. The only downside to the magic that is Pesche's is that it is wicked expensive. A 5" or 6" pot of even the most common crassula will run you about $18. Really, you get what you pay for (the plants are all in great condition) but that doesn't make them more accessible to a fabulously poor girl like me. Fortunately, you mostly get treated the same regardless of whether you're there to buy a thousand dollars worth of espaliered trees or five dollars worth of twist-ties. One employee was kind enough to show me their SUPER-COOL garden microscope, which takes photos and videos. If you bring in a suspicious lobe/frond/leaf, they will pop it in the microscope and reveal whatever frolicking critters reside there.
In an uncharacteristic show of restraint, I decided to ONLY purchase the tools and chemicals I needed, rather than a glut of plants. I received some really interesting suggestions from the employees, and I'll share the results of these experiments in upcoming posts.
I did buy one tillandsia (noid). But I don't think that counts, do you? It's teensy.