To fully embrace Independence Day, I finally threw out all my old plants. Yes, the same deader-than-dead stems that grace my blog header, which have been “living” on my basement shelves and planting table all winter. Not really sure why I hung on to the crispy, dried-out specimens so long. Maybe I wanted to preserve them as cautionary tale to myself… try harder, self! Don’t kill plants. Watch for clues, assess signs of decay and take proactive measures! If you’re going to foolishly attempt to challenge the limits of your meager abilities by wintering-over annuals, for God’s sake, bring them in BEFORE the frost. And then, do give the poor dears a little light and, ahem, water. A fighting chance.
If those dead plants could talk… that’s what I think I’d hear. (Or maybe I’m just going easy on myself. Maybe they’d be really angry that I uprooted them from their happy nursery homes and all their pretty friends just to, uh, kill them.)
This weekend, I finally released myself from all this guilty, one-sided, crazy-lady talk. I got a big trash bag and tossed the corpses in, gently shaking them out and saving the containers for the toddler to play “garden” with.
Goodbye crispy purple sweet potato vine, I reveled in your pretty blooms last summer. Later, purple spike. (Who can kill that? Really?) Adios, Mandevilla. You really broke my heart. I will never understand why you didn’t care for that sunny pot, why all your beautiful red flutes fell off, and then your leaves turned yellow and dropped too, and you never climbed that lattice on the patio. And oh, hibiscus. Was it not enough sun? Too much? I had such hopes for your tissue paper plumes. But most of all, farewell pink speckled Coleus. You, I totally get. I sincerely regret leaving you in that cold basement window all winter and not watering you. We could have had something, I know that now. God knows you tried. But I was careless. And now… you look like sticks in dry dirt…
All wallowing aside, it’s not all sadness and failure this weekend. Witness, above, a pretty pink picture of success — a hot pink bee balm I first planted unsuccessfully near my too-shady front steps last summer. The Reaper came quickly, but I moved fast, transplanting it to my favorite bed. (The one scorched in the car fire.) And voila! It thrived. And came back this year, delivering these gorgeous flowers.
I’ll take it.
P.S. I can’t help but mention a garden mystery that also popped up today. Looked out the window and noticed some of my freshly-planted red Celosia in an odd position. Headed outside asap and sure ’nuff: one was broken off at the root, laying in the dust like a little corpse… and two other plants were completely dug up and laying on their sides, their roots still molded in the shape of the six-pack they came in. Vandals? (That bitter question came to mind first, I’ve been hit before.) A-holes? (Same thing, really.) Squirrels? (My husband’s suggestion.) But wouldn’t a critter eat them? Or maybe they don’t taste good?
The Celosia will remain under observation. I need cameras.