Unsolicited advice, Pt I: If it bails on you, bail on it

Some of my classic unsolicited garden advice. Part of a continuing series, with no definite end point.

june5 (3)I’ve experienced a lot of gardening failures over the years. I’ve probably lost more perennials than I have currently alive in my garden. (If you find yourself asking, do the dead outnumber the living? This article from BBC News has the answer for planet Earth. In my garden, it’s yes.)

< These asparagus are all dead now. All, all dead. Like in this poem:
“Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.”
-Mary Elizabeth Frye

In the first few years of my garden, when a plant died, I would then go out and buy another one of that plant and plant it in the same spot, like some kind of glutton for punishment. In recent years, I’ve realized this is crazy behaviour. A plant that can’t survive in your garden is not the plant for you. Whatever the spot, something will grow there. But if you keep trying the same crappy plant in that spot, you’ll never find the amazing one that will stun you every [season] with its [attribute]. And in the meantime, the dead plant will not have its chance to fully become diamond glints on the snow (see poem, above), because you’re forcing it to keep re-living its failure.

The exception is if you have a passion for rare orchids or fancy hybrid roses or something; or if, like me, you’re trying to collect seemingly every hardy succulent variety under the sun. If the plant in question is something you’re passionate about, then go ahead and re-plant it. Otherwise, move on. There are lots of plant-fish in the garden-sea.

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