Sunday, May 15, 2011

The (plant) Will to Survive...

Now that the existing plants in the gardens have been strategically be rearranged, I've been on a mission to start picking off/purchasing the plants on my "2011 Wishlist".  As I've been rooting through my garden tools, my husband started straightening the garage.  Low and behold he uncovered this......

This poor thing had been buried under a stack of 'stuff' by the lawnmower.  It's been buried - alive, smashed with something on top of it, covered in darkness for at least 6 months (...just a guess??...) with no water!  I feel terrible!!  How could this have happened?!?  It's lack of photosynthesis makes it tricky to identify.  There are very few 'key indicators' of what it might be - other than it's leaf structure.  It didn't have a plant tag and looks more like a 'friend gift' than a purchase (which makes me feel even more neglectful).  So, I immediately brought it outside in the light and gave it water.  It resembled a Hosta, so it's sitting over in part shade - just in case.  I'll post updates on it's recovery (wouldn't the joke be on me if it ended up being a weed?).

"Wine and Roses" Weigela
Obsessing over the extended forecast for the last couple of weeks, waiting for a decent weekend - I decided to seize the moment and took last Tuesday afternoon off.  First stop - the garden center at Lowes to see what was what.  There was a gift card burning a hole in my wallet.  I found a couple of Weigela - to set as book-end anchors in my "Sun Garden".  There was a Patriot Hosta with my name on it, for the new garden under the front bay window.  It will take your eye from the West to the East in the front yard.  Then there were (3) little lime Sweet Potato Vines that said "buy me" - so I did.  Who can refuse a $3 plant?!   After the heat of an unseasonably warm (92 degree) day, I spent the late afternoon planting.

'Morning Light' Maiden Grass, Candy Tuft and Bee Balm
The weather crashed and burned this weekend, but that did not dissuade me from hitting one of my favorite nurseries yesterday.  In the cool 55 degree wind and drizzle, I wandered around Platt Hill Nursery with a cart.    It is highly recommended to come prepared with a list of plants that you want to buy - for two reasons:  (1) you never remember what you need without it, and (2) it slows temptation to buy everything you see!  My eyes are always bigger than my budget - so I bring 'cash only', to slow the insanity.

Anemone, Butterfly Bush, Amsonia (Blue Star) and Phlox
By the way, after rubber-necking a fellow plant shopper's cart, THIS was an impulse buy.... (and I swear, I was not stalking her cart - pinky swear!)

"May Breeze" Phlox
I only made it partially way through the "sun plants" list (with the exception of the Anemone) before the cash/math said it was time to stop.  Looking at those treasures - just waiting to be planted - gives me an adrenaline rush.  Today will not be that day.  It is currently 44 degrees, cloudy/rainy with 30-40 mile-an-hour winds.  It's gloomy out, but there were still some photo ops in the garden....

A flowering Ajuga reptans - 'Black Scallop' Bugleweed
The Double-Pink Knockout Rose -
is recovering from bunny near-annihilation, thanks to bird netting 
A little creative planting - with Variegated Ribbon Grass in the Shade Garden
(growing it in shady conditions keeps it in check, it's aggressive in sunny ares)

The "Berri-Magic" Holly is flowering
(there still has been some winter damage, so next cold season - it gets covered up)
In quick summary, here are a few other plants 'in progress' on a cold, windy day....

From top left.... Royal Purple Smoke Bush (finally budding), new Patriot Hosta, Center Glow Ninebark, Dappled Willow (recovered from last year's slugs and bunny snacking), Asiatic Lilies/ Rudibeckia/Yellow Day Lily, Hosta ('Gold Standard' ? or 'June Plantain Lily'), 'Fire & Ice' Hosta, Pink Guara, Japanese Painted Fern and Vicary Golden Privet in the center (also recovering from near-fatal bunny decimation)

Here's to garden planting ... sooner than later would be nice!


  1. The garden is looking wonderful and I can never go plant buying with a is always impulse especially for containers...the creative process I guess but then again it may save my wallet if I did...i agree it looks like a hosta to me...hardy little souls...

  2. I love plant shopping in the Spring. Imagine how it is for me since I work at a nursery? A kid working in a candy store.

  3. I always tend to buy too many plants, but somehow I find places for them. I hope you figure out what plant that was hiding away.

  4. Most gardeners can identify with the giddiness you feel at the nursery...I'm notorious for cart stalking, striking up conversations at the nursery with other gardeners...we're a friendly bunch! So sorry to hear you're so cold's crazy this weather.

  5. Shyrlene, It looked like a hosta to me, too -- and if Jim (our resident hosta expert) thinks it's a hosta, it must be.
    I like your strategy of keeping plant buying under control by only taking cash to the nursery. I always go with a list and allow myself only one impulse purchase that is not on the list. My favorite local nursery now has a feature that you can save a wish list on their web site. When I'm ready to visit the nursery, I can either print out the list and take it with me, or I can send it to them and have the plants ready for me when I get there. I probably won't use the latter option; I like wandering around the nursery with my wagon checking out all the new plants while I look for the ones on my list. -Jean

  6. Jim - thanks for the confirmation! (I sure hope it this lost plant survives.)

    Donna - this is the 1st time I've been successful 'following the list'; there are usually multiple flats of annuals that follow me home, to name a few!

    Tufa Girl - I could NOT work at a Nursery! You are my hero... :)

    Sage - is there such a thing as 'too many plants'? I refuse to believe it!! (Not enough cash - yes!) The new "Cottage Garden" is barely started and I'm thinking of making it bigger.

    Cat - we are a friendly bunch, aren't we?!! Hopefully tonight will be the last of the super-cold weather? I'm ready for a 70 degree weekend again!

    Jean - thanks for the feedback! When I saw Jim's endorsement, I felt encouraged too. (Hopefully he will forgive my egregious mistake, with the mis-handling of that poor, neglected hosta?!) The idea of your local nursery keeping customer 'wishlists' online is brilliant, and I agree with you -- much of the thrill of plant shopping is wandering the aisles for new treasures (my "Fire & Ice Hosta was such a find).

  7. Hi, Shyrlene! I agree the ghost plant looks like a hosta. I once had a similar experience with a tiny crepe myrtle bush. It was in a pot put on the carport, covered up, dried up, taken for dead, not watered for months, then suddenly new growth appeared. I put it in the garden and now it is flourishing and has produced several offspring.

    You have some beautiful plants! How well I know that adrenalin rush, and also the need to take cash or else!

  8. Gorgeous Phlox - and I speak as a fellow rubber-necker! Cash only is how I survived Malvern without incurring the wrath of my other half, so that made me smile too. The only thing that makes me happier than buying new plants is placing and then planting them in their new homes, so I hope you have loads of fun, and I look forward to seeing the results in future posts. And to seeing what the mystery survivor turns out to be!

  9. Hi Deb - thanks for your crepe myrtle garden success story. I need hope for my poor 'ghost' plant (perfect name, btw!).

    Janet - Phlox was the flower/plant I never knew I needed! ;D ...I cannot wait to get planting this weekend!

  10. You chose well!
    I am an addict when it comes to Perennials etc.
    I had to have great restraint last night at Lowes...only bought fencing and it almost killed me. :)

  11. I think your plant is a Hosta. They're tough specimens aren't they, lol. I just came from the nursery, and I have to admit I have very little self-control with purchasing, but I did okay. Only because I had 45 minutes before closing. I should try this more often, I saved a ton of money!

  12. Hi Shrylene,
    You're going to love the Amsonia with the early spring flowers and gold colored foliage in the fall. Very drought tolerant too.

  13. The list is vital..many trips for me have turned into budget busters!!

  14. Rosey - thanks! I finished planting my stash of perennials and IMMEDIATELY wanted more!

    rmgales - the mystery plant has greened up incredibly and the 'Team' called it! It's definitely a hosta... I am SO impressed it came back from certain death! BTW - it took all my control to not stop at "Prestige Nursery" today.

    Heather - thanks for stopping by (I love your blog and all the cool info you have up there)! I'm so stoked for the Amsonia - it's barely in the ground and I just L.O.V.E. it! :)

    Indoor - good to have you come by for a visit! "Budget Buster" is such a good way to put garden shopping for me! ... who needs a $4,500 celeb purse when I could be in plant Nirvana!


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