Sunday, March 9, 2008
Take these daylilies, for instance. They don't look like much right now, do they? Daylilies are resilient plants, hard to kill even. They thrive in this hot dry spot, even planted in rocks. They're self-sufficient. Sure, they need to be divided every few years. OK, I know, their foliage is messy. I didn't say they were perfect. Clearly, they don't look great in winter. But they really don't take much, and in June they'll be glorious. And they'll survive most droughts even if you never water them. They need a little attention to be their best, but even without care they come back every spring.
Some plants struggle no matter how well you care for them. You can tell from the start they don't like it in your garden. No matter when you plant them or how much you water, they're wilting by afternoon and soon wither and die.
You consult your books, go on Amazon, buy a few more. You wrack your brain and burn up the internet searching for answers. Not much will thrive in the hot dry shade tangled in 40-year old roots.
One spring day the Johnson's Blue you carried from gardens ago just up and disappears. A resilient plant, you're convinced it will make it. You find just the right spot, just enough sun. You amend the planting holes and divide it, and water in well. Then you have lunch. By the time you come back your geraniums are gone, dragged away by evil yard monkeys who steal more of your plants than the maples kill.
Unexpected storms come out of nowhere. Some are more predictable. There's an ominous feeling when sky turns green. You gather lightweight items and head for cover. On days like this you miss your screened porch.
No matter how hard you try, no matter how well you plan, no matter how many evil yard monkeys you swear at or how well you amend your soil, no matter how much you think you know or how well you tend your garden, there are forces of nature outside your control. You wonder sometimes if this garden is worth it. In spring you begin again.