Stubborn persistence

To avoid discouragement, the gardener must accept repeated failure. Despite best efforts, plants will be lost to cold or drought, to wind and ice, and occasionally to neglect. Others will suffer with circumstances less than ideal, showing meager growth, but managing to survive without too much concern by the gardener.

Mophead hydrangeas have suffered in recent winters, dying to the ground but recovering substantially be early summer. Here, 'Pistachio' hydrangea has its first flower, a bit late, but many more buds will assure flowers through the summer.

Mophead hydrangeas have suffered in recent winters, dying to the ground but recovering substantially by early summer. Here, ‘Pistachio’ hydrangea has its first flower, a bit late, but many more buds will assure flowers through the summer.

The non-gardener complains of his black thumb, but plants are lost in every garden. The gardener is distressed by losses, but not discouraged. Instead, he marvels at the successes.

Variegated sea oats

After two severe winters a splendid yellow rose was lost. Instead, variegated sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium ‘River Mist’) were planted to fill the space. Thus far, the variegated grass has not seeded like the green version that becomes a bit of a nuisance.

To survey this garden, losses from three decades are barely evident, though the gardener is occasionally reminded of disappointments. Visitors, and perhaps readers, are likely to suspect that losses are rare, that the gardener has an innate skill that avoids common frustrations. Wrong again. If there is an attribute that keeps the gardener satisfied for decades, it is stubborn persistence.

Pumpkin hypericum has died to the ground in recent winters, but it grows vigorously and flowers in early summer. The colored fruits that follow are distinctive.

Pumpkin hypericum has died to the ground in recent winters, but it grows vigorously and flowers in early summer. The colored fruits that follow are distinctive.

No doubt, the gardener earns some credit for selecting the correct plant for a location, just as he kicks himself when neglect through a dry spell kills a freshly planted toad lily. In recent years, more plants than I care to admit have been lost to overly damp soils, and several treasures have been toppled by wind or ice. There seems no alternative but to press on, to plant again and know that joys will outnumber miseries.

The top third of the low growing 'Shaina' Japanese maple was killed a year ago. My wife argued that it was too unsightly to remain,  but the garden is a long term project and a year later it is much more presentable. In two years the damage will no longer be evident.

The top third of the low growing ‘Shaina’ Japanese maple was killed a year ago. My wife argued that it was too unsightly to remain, but the garden is a long term project and a year later it is much more presentable. In two years the damage will no longer be evident.

 

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3 thoughts on “Stubborn persistence

  1. This was a timely read for me: this weekend was one of self-recriminations, and I forget to celebrate the successes! Thanks!

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