Life’s Too Short to Grow Bad Plants

Struggling Beach Rose

I had a brief detour down the New Jersey shore recently. It wasn’t supposed to be brief but that’s a whole other story.

I went there to have a Memorial service for my mother, who passed away in January. She is buried, but because of the pandemic, even I wasn’t able to be at that service. So my sister came east from Oklahoma and the rest of our family was finally able to gather at the church we all attended.

The plan was then that I would stay at the beach to recover from my surgery. But like everything else we tried to do this June, the universe had other ideas. At least the family was able to gather for the memorial.

In my short time at the beach, however, I did notice the struggling beach rose in the photo, above.

Struggling hydrangea

I also talked to a cousin about her struggling hydrangeas. And what I told her is the title of this post: life’s too short to grow bad plants.

Non-struggling hydrangeas

When compared to the poor little pink hydrangea above, these are doing just fabulously. And it may be a question of which side of of the newly raised staircase they are now on. The two in the above photo are sheltered from the most vicious northwest winds by that newly raised staircase while the struggling pink on one is not. But that that’s something that’s only going to be revealed by time.

While I was away, I had 5 more dead plants pulled out of my yard and I came back to find a few more that I am going to jettison. I am too old to look at struggling shrubs. It’s bad enough that I am struggling right now and need someone to do this for me!

So the last thing I want to do is to try to nurture a struggling whatever through yet another dry summer. I would rather look at a gap in the landscape and plant next year when ideally things will be better for everyone–and not quite so dry either.

Gardening for me is all about learning what works and what doesn’t. If suddenly we’re going to have drought a lot, I had better rethink my planting plans.

So another year to think about plants–and maybe recover in a lot of different ways–can only be a good thing.

2 thoughts on “Life’s Too Short to Grow Bad Plants

  1. tonytomeo July 2, 2021 / 10:11 pm

    I am sorry about the lack of a properly timely funeral. My mother did without also. She passed away in August, while the situation was getting worse again, and I was stranded at her home afterward because my region was evacuated for the CZU Fire. I am in the process of relocating many of the plants from her garden to the public gardens here. They just happen to fit particular situations. It is rather gratifying to put her double white angel’s trumpet at the chapel at work, with her white agapanthus out front. The garden at the chapel features exclusively white bloom.
    Anyway, I still grow many bad plants because I like them. There are three Eastern red cedars out there that I enjoy just because I brought them back from Oklahoma. I am not concerned with how unappealing they are, even while healthy.

  2. gardendaze July 3, 2021 / 6:33 am

    I am sorry for your loss as well. This pandemic really has been something. Even if we did not lose loved ones to the virus, it just complicated things in monument ways.
    Immediately after the service, I needed to come racing home to Connecticut even though I was supposed to stay with my family at the beach to rest up from my surgery 2 weeks earlier. I hadn’t been able to reach my husband by phone and when I finally did, he wasn’t at all well. Very long story: he’s just gotten back home after 2 weeks of hospitalization and rehab for sepsis caused by a kidney stone. June was the month that just kept on giving horror. I am grateful it’s July.

    As for your plants, you sound like you are blessed to come from a family of gardeners. That’s very special. And there’s a very distinct difference between ordinary plants that are just planted because we like them and plants that are given to us by someone that we grow–or that we brought back from somewhere. Those sorts of plants with memories or a history (sometimes I think half my house plants and a good number of my perennials consist of those! ) I would not casually discard for any reason!


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