Posted by ngs123 | Posted in Generally Speaking | Posted on 20-06-2011
I am a patient gardener. I grow shrubs from cuttings, knowing that in just 3 or 4, or 5 or 6, years, I will have a wonderful lush shrub where there are now only four leaves protruding from the ground. I am also big on plant rescue. Just like some people have 14 dogs and 8 cats because they can’t stand the thought of an animal being homeless, I have been known stop the car to pick a houseplant from someone’s trash because I know it still has some good years in it. It just needs someone to love it and bring out the best in it, someone to believe in its greatness. It’s kind of like codependence, with plants.
I also love to shop what I call “death row.” Some local big box stores and garden centers have racks of bedraggled plants, one step from the grave, marked down to practically nothing! I patrol these shelves all summer, and so my garden, much like my closet, isn’t a perfectly planned and coordinated whole as much as it’s a mish-mash collection of things I love. And although I’ve learned to pick up objects at yard sales and mentally walk through my house wondering where I’ll put it, and if not finding a spot, leave it, I have no such discipline with plants.
Who can resist the siren song of a Nikko Blue hydrangea for $4.00?? Crape myrtles for $2.00? Sign me up! I once bought a ton of bags of bulbs at the end of the season for 50 cents or $1.00 a bag. I potted them all up and the following year wandered around mumbling to myself, “Now where am I going to PUT these???” But there is always a spot somewhere, and if that spot doesn’t work out, it can be moved and moved again if necessary. That’s the beauty of gardening, it isn’t an exact science, and a garden is never “finished.”
When I worked in landscaping a fellow project manager stopped by one day to see how my project was coming along. In the back of his truck I spotted 3 bedraggled Knock Out roses that had been planted in the shade and were replaced with something more suitable for the situation. “What are you going to do with those roses?” I asked. “Take them back to the shop and throw them in the dumpster” was the answer. “Oh no you’re not!” was my indignant reply, “I’ll take them home with me!” And I did. I put them in pots to allow them to recover their root systems, and they became part of my garden rescues.
My mom and dad could never stand to see a leaf fall from a plant without putting it in soil or water to start a new plant, and I have inherited their tender heart toward the struggling and unwanted plants of the world. So even if my garden isn’t a coordinated, meticulously designed showplace, it satisfies the rescuer in me to see that those who were given a second chance are gratefully thriving there.