Never give up in the garden

Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

On The Way

by Olivia Fowler

I’d like to know what our yard would look like if everything ever planted out there had survived. The yard would look like a botanical garden.

I can’t tell you how much money has been spent on roses, ornamental trees, foxglove, hollyhocks, gardenia bushes, lavender, hostas and other things that grow.

A lot of things lovingly put into the ground to beautify our surroundings had one brief season of glory before being massacred.

There are a number of ways to kill a plant.

A weeping cherry tree was ordered and planted near the back door. It wasn’t large when it arrived, but was beautifully shaped and lived almost long enough to bloom. And would probably be alive and well today if someone hadn’t staked the horse in the yard to graze a little too close to the tree. The horse managed to loop the rope around the tree’s slender trunk and snap it off below the graft. And that was that.

The Blue Angel rose planted near the Leland Cyprus lost its life to an overzealous person wielding a weed eater. It was trimmed level with the ground. We did get to see it bloom once.

Three pink azaleas planted near our camelia bushes met a similar fate when grass cutting was delayed one weekend until late in the afternoon. The lawnmower did have headlights, and that was good, but if the driver of the mower tries to cut most of the yard after dark while in high gear it isn’t surprising for various and sundry flowers to meet a grisly end.

And humans weren’t alone in wreaking destruction. We once had beautiful healthy hostas planted on each side of the front steps. Beautiful, that is, until our cocker spaniel went berserk in the border trying to catch one of the cats.

The hostas were literally shredded. I dug them up and relocated them to a safer place, but they never did well after that.

Finally, they quit coming up. I guess it was just too difficult to try to stay alive in such a hostile environment.

Not every plant loss can be blamed on human or animal interference. Some things just have an aversion to blooming where they’re planted.

Over the years I’ve learned that some things just don’t like the dirt, location, the temperature, the light exposure or the amount of water made available.

Some plants have traveled the yard looking for a place they can be comfortable in.

We had one climbing rose that we moved four times before finding a location that it felt happy with.

But we’ve learned a lot and certainly know more than we used to. It’s important not to quit when growing discouraged.

Plants have a lot to teach us if we don’t give up on them. Every morning when I go outside and see a new green shoot poking up or a new bud forming I feel the thrill of victory. When things go right in the garden, it is a happy day.