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“If a Plant is Growing Well…”

ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARILYNNE ROACH

My personal gardening failures seem to center around choosing unwisely. But it’s not my fault! Well, kinda not…

Upon the recommendations of various experts who wrote about planting for wildlife, I put in an absolutely wonderful bird hedge along the entire eastern edge of our Illinois yard. The flowers are fragrant, the plants filled in quickly and thrived—the idea actually worked as planned! We’re talking at least 160 feet of…

…Autumn olives and bush honeysuckle.

You’re groaning now. Not as much as I am, the chump who has to take out all those wildly invasive plants.

Then there was the delightful—and sterile—‘Morden’s Pink’ lythrum. Sterile, but, it turns it that it helps pollinate purple loose-strife, which is choking all our wetlands! Out came those beauties.

Colorful chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordota), a lovely ground-cover I planted? It tunnels under sidewalks and thrives in cold or heat!

It strikes me as ironic that of the plants that don’t accidentally die by my hands, some have to be slain by me, their mother and nurturer, who paid for them and spent precious time and energy caring for them.

Could this be Murphy’s Law of Gardening: “If a plant is growing well for you, it’s probably a plant you shouldn’t be growing at all”?


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