A lot of information, and too little self discipline can be a dangerous combination. I speak here, not of matters of grave importance, but of a barely controlled passion for adding new plantings to the garden, no matter that good sense should dictate delaying purchases until spring.
As daylight dwindles to just minutes following my daily return from the work that affords the garden’s extravagances, December evenings are occupied reading of plant explorations in Southeast Asia. Already impatient with a winter that has just begun, I am inspired and energized to do something. Anything. So on a mild weekend, I am transplanting to an area that is just a few feet beyond the borders of the property.
The property’s edge, just to my side of a small creek, is not well defined. It is unlikely anyone will know, or care about this minor encroachment, and my wife continually suggests that I beg neighbors to allow me to plant on their lots rather than cramming more onto this one. If the neighbor in the farmhouse far uphill should complain, I know where to point he finger. It’s her fault.
In the evening, filled with inspiration, I break from reading to explore websites offering out of the ordinary and often marginally cold hardy plants. The temptation is too great, so an order is formulated, with plans to push the button to give the go-ahead in another month, perhaps two. But this source ships first come, first served, and surely these treasures will be gone by March. And, it’s sixty degrees today, so ignoring that much colder days are forecast ahead, the order is placed with a nursery in the much warmer Carolinas.
Once in hand, I have few worries that exbucklandia, rhodoleia, and dendropanax will survive the winter, in the greenhouse or the basement, though delivery in the cold might be a bit risky. Planting in protected areas in April will give each of these tender and slightly tender evergreens a decent chance for survival a year from now. The first winter might require additional protection, but that effort is a small sacrifice.
And why bother with plants that are questionably cold hardy? My wife has an easy answer to this one, but please don’t listen to her questions about my sanity. There is, of course, a calculation in planting marginally cold hardy plants. I do not intend to toss money to the winter winds, but other tender plants are managed by protecting with baskets of leaves, or dug and brought into the small greenhouse. This garden is a hodgepodge of natives and plants from around the globe, and no other reason is necessary except this is what I like.