Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Karen’s post titled “The Stars of My May Garden” led me, as her garden posts often do, to contemplate my own gardening experiences⎯as well as to admire hers. I have recently been struck with how the highs and lows in my garden follow in rapid succession, if not simultaneously.

A high followed by a low: In preparation for the blooming of my many clematis this year, I moved some outliers. Years ago, before I knew that clematis were fussy, I just dug them up with only minimal care and moved them and they thrived. Now I continue the process, ignoring all the advice about how careful one needs to be, and it works. This spring I moved three plants that were five feet tall and a number of other smaller ones that were growing where they didn’t really belong—among the raspberry bushes or lolling on the ground without support. They all did well and bloomed, but for some unexplained reason three other old clematis simply died⎯healthy one day and dead the next.

A surprise: I read that clematis look pretty twining in a rose bush. I couldn’t quite imagine it so never tried, but the clematis and the wild rose took matters into their own hands. I’m very pleased with the effect.

Another surprise: In my little front yard and with a quick glance, I thought the lilacs were really spreading and had produced white ones as well as purple. On closer investigation I realized that the white blooms were not lilacs at all. I sent a picture to Karen, who said they looked like apple blossoms, but the landscaper who came by said the plant looked like a pear tree. How did I get a pear tree? And, more important, what will I do with it? It’s very pretty and so far is not interfering with the lilacs⎯they seem quite happy together. I think I’ll wait to see if I get edible fruit before deciding whether or not it should come down. And that way I’ll at least know from the fruit what it is that I have.

A low followed by a high: A few years ago I got three mail order poppy plants. Two died. I notified the company and then sent me three replacements. Two of them died and one is languishing. But the third one is worth all the previous problems. The flowers last for only a brief time, but they keep coming and are astonishing.

So I live with the lows, cherish the highs, and enjoy the surprises.


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