This is why I love gardening!

WendyB(5A/MA)October 25, 2009

In 2006 I bought an Oakleaf Hydrangea PeeWee for my rear foundation (Northeast exposure - sun til 1)

In 2007 its grown nicely... I don't expect blooms for awhile, if at all, in my climate... kinda borderline for blooms.

Alas, 2007-2008 winter knocked her for a loop. She's broken up over it.

By June, this is all the strength she can muster:

I can't find any more photos but I think that piece of green got a little taller and then poof- died off. I think another speck of green was present or something made me think I couldn't dump her in the compost pile.

So I found a less conspicuous spot in a filtered sun, moist in spring, dry in summer location. Checked a few times and nada.

But today I was in the area clearing up some overgrown stuff and miracle of miracles... she lives!!!!!!!!

Thats why I will continue to love gardening even though I am truly sick of all the work, the expense, the repetition, the frustration, etc. I will continue to be amazed at the power of Mother Nature.

never say never!!

Do you have a similar tale?

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wendy, what a nice story. :-) I do love those oakleaf hydrangeas and bought two of them about the same year you did. Not the 'peegee'. They have had a time of it too, even though I am in zone 6. My garden is pretty dry. I placed them in too much sun and exposure the first time and one of them took a real hit one winter too. This year, they both looked very good in better locations. They grew a lot this year. Yours will look great again before you know it!

I can't think of a similar experience for some reason this morning, but I'm sure I have a few. I'll be back later. [g]

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 11:03AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wendy, I am surprised to hear you say, you are truly sick of the work, the expense, the frustration. You have such a beautiful garden! You sound like I was feeling some time back in May. Nothing was pleasing me in the garden and I was sick of how often my 'plans' were not working out, sick of the work, definitely. I get so disappointed when a plant I enjoy starts having problems. I don't remember what happened that helped me get over it, but I didn't feel that way for long. [g] I have to back up sometimes and stop looking at the big picture, because I find it difficult to be satisfied. But I always find pleasure in the actual plants and growing, even when design is just not going the way I want it. Spring bulbs coming up, the first time Hellebores bloom after waiting two years for them, foliage turning colors in autumn, watching seeds sprout. Every month there is something to be happy about. Even in winter. Then every once in awhile, you have an exceptionally happy day in the garden and it goes a long way toward helping you forget the work and the frustration.

I've probably told this story on the forums before. It's a small story. I have grown sedum Autumn Joy in pots by my front steps many years. I have a metal canopy over the steps and the water really runs off one corner, in a stream. One year, I had not had time to dig out the sedums and plant them in the yard somewhere, so they were left in the pots. I had not noticed that one of my large pots was under the corner of the canopy and it had gotten filled up with water at a time when it was getting very cold at night. The next day, the pot was a solid block of ice. [g] It was not my only sedum AJ in the yard, so I just thought, oh well, that won't come back next year. What a surprise to see it start growing the next spring. It sat out there all winter, freezing and thawing. I felt the delight that you sound like you felt when you saw your Hydrangea come back. :-)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 7:24PM
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Well, I actually feel EXACTLY the same as you. Its all about the plants and I do find joy in them on an individual basis. Couldn't I just walk around my garden and watch them? Couldn't they just magically always be in the right place with the right neighbors and the right sun/soil/water/etc and alwasy be perfectly pruned/deadheaded/staked/fed and never outgrow their space.

I have been here 17 years and the lot is kinda big. The existing gardens are no longer a novelty. Everything keeps growing!!! I do enjoy them, but they are not exciting (except for the glory of a particular plant strutting its stuff). Renovating them is too much to take on. I want to start over in a much smaller setting with a blank canvas. (and then in 5-10 years, I'll be sick of that and want another blank canvas...)

yes, never satisfied does seem to fit the bill.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 9:00PM
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Nice story, WendyB. Maybe if I look harder, some of my camellias will actually be alive? Maybe not.

But DO be careful what you wish for with oakleaf hydrangeas! I have a half dozen or so of them; one is sited in WAY too much sun, in an area that's far too dry, and right along the street where its crispy leaves and too-fast fading flowers are seen by every passer by. After delaying for several years, the time was finally right and I headed out there early last spring (2008) with the intention of putting the poor thing out of its misery - there just isn't another nice shady location available for it.

No way in this lifetime will I be able to move or remove the thing, unless maybe I get myself a bobcat. I must have spent 4 hours trying to get anything like a root ball that could be lifted, or chopped into pieces to lift. I had to abandon the effort, toss what little soil I'd been able to dig back on the roots, offer my apologies to the monster, and head back into the house. Utter defeat.

Believe me, it was completely unfazed by my efforts - the thing bloomed its head off that year (and this year too). You would never guess, to look at it, that it was the victim of an attempted murder. That's probably not why *I* love gardening, although I do actually like the way things are sometimes taken out of the gardener's hands - dealing with living things makes gardening a very different kind of activity than most.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 9:17PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

DtD, thanks for the warning on the oakleaf hydrangea. I better make sure they are in the right locations, while they are still young. [g] I just do not have enough moisture for them to be completely happy. I did a fairly good job of keeping both of them watered this year, so the leaves did not 'crisp' up, but one day in September, I turned around and there were those 'crisp' leaves again on one of them. I thought I had watered it enough, but the whole yard was too dry again. It doesn't seem to help to water it after it is 'crispy'. Now why couldn't that happen? [g] The other still has healthy, pretty burgundy leaves at the moment, which is the first time. I don't enjoy the flowers turning brown early either. ....Sorry to hear about your camellias. I thought they were hardy there in zone 7?

Wendy, you hit the nail on the head, a little magic wand or a nose like Samantha would do the trick. [g] We ripped everything in our backyard out and started with a blank slate in 2004 and it has been so much fun. Mostly. [g] Gardening as DtD points out, is very different because of dealing with living things. It's not like someone who paints or creates pottery. You have to wait to see things grow into the idea you started with, a LONG time. And then if it's not right or the way you like it, you could be in big trouble. lol You purchase plants based on limited information sometimes. From a photo and a description that might not be good enough. I often buy plants out of bloom and then when the next season, which could be 9 months away, it finally blooms, it is not quite what I was hoping for. And let's not forget we have to plan the sequence of bloom too. Then by some miracle, you get it right, the next season, a hoard of rare caterpillars show up and defoliate one of the plants that make the whole thing work. [g] I think there are few things that are as complex and exasperating as creating a garden.

I keep digging up and moving all the time. I do see that some areas are becoming more permanent and there are some shrubs that I finally think I am finished moving. Something that helps my frustration, is that I keep a 15x15ft bed that I just keep experimenting with. I don't plan on being satisfied with it. [g] Every spring and fall, there's always something I am ripping out.

There is something to be said for a mature garden though. I won't be experiencing that satisfaction for quite awhile, but I don't think I would be content without something to start over with either. That's why I plan on keeping my 15x15 patch just for that purpose. It is never too big to start from scratch.

Wendy, it sounds like you might be ready to join a community garden club and start renovating the town square. Or I'd be happy for you to come help me. [g]

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 2:43AM
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