Friday, May 30, 2008

My garden's a large petrie dish

I once read that if you're a perfectionist, you shouldn't garden. If you're a control freak, you also shouldn't garden. Good thing I'm neither.

And as I was walking around my yard, purveying my army of greenery, I was struck with just how true that is... a garden is really just a large petrie dish so be prepared for anything to happen.

Here's what I found:
  • 2 identical plants, planted next to one another, 1 thrives, the other one lives but not as strong. Example: 2 heucheras I planted last summer.
  • A plant that is happy all season and then decides not to come back. Example: my 3 lady's mantle were all happy, but 1 of them decided not to join the club this year. Maybe there was a garden with better dirt down the street and he jumped ship?
  • The Lazarus syndrome: plants that die when you plant them but the mysteriously come back the next yr. Example: my 3 painted ferns. 2 of them died after I planted them, but then rose from the dead this year looking great. The one I planted that was awesome last yr, came back as a shoot and then promptly died back. What gives?
  • When you transplant a plant, but you didn't really get all the roots and so it grows again. This is my favorite form of dividing plants because I get 2 plants for the price of 1 without even trying not to kill one of them. Example: The peony that appeared out of nowhere last yr (a remnant of many owners past), now that area is shady so I moved it last Fall and low and behold it appeared again. Apparently, I didn't dig out all the roots. And the best part, it has a huge bud on it.


Apple said...

I had several plants that I thought had died last year that came back strong this year. Wish I hadn't given up on them and planted other things in their spots - now I have to sort things out and make some moves. I am happy to have them back though!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I'm so familiar with the problem of 1 plant thrives, the other dies, that it looks like I'm a repeat offender for violating the odd-numbers of plants rule. (I swear I planted 3, but now there are only 2.) I do feel sorry for all those control freaks who struggle to replace a dead bit of Boxwood in a knot garden. I've never thought of the garden as a petrie dish (though I have thought that about some of the containers in the back of the fridge). That peony looks almost ready to pop - mine opened this morning.

Annie in Austin said...

From Elizabeth Lawrence, "I cannot bear for people to say ...that I am better at plant material than design; I cannot help it if I have to use my own well-designed garden as a laboratory, thereby ruining it as a garden..."

I've got experiments going on too, Rosemarie - and am too interested in what happens to reorganize the petri dish - love your wording!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose