Sunday, March 27, 2011

Here's the story: I have every expectation that this 'Heritage' birch will live to a ripe old age

Sure, things could have been done differently; it could have been potted up two years ago, or lined out, or better yet, planted, but it's going to be all right. I'm not a plant pamperer, but that doesn't mean I think it's a good idea to push them to the limit. I do think though, that it's important to understand what those limits are, just how far things can go before....we really have to worry.

This was a gift from a friend, Lynn Title, who had neither a use for it nor the heart to get rid of it. We're replacing an 80 x 60 truncated triangle of bamboo that formerly occupied the back of the yard with more civilized plantings. The birch will be part of that project.

I guess my point really is, that sometimes we do more than we need to for our plants, provide unnecessary inputs. Plants are tough, many of them very tough. They'll live if you give them the slightest chance. Maybe not lady slipper orchids, or franklinias, or daphnes. There are demanding taxa, but most of the plants in our gardens are survivors. They've been evolving for over 300 million years and in that time have accumulated some skills and strategies for getting thorough lean times. We aren't doing them a favor if we overwater or overfeed, we're just creating spoiled individuals that are less able to stand up to adverse conditions when and if they do occur.

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