Round Robin: Plant Greed


| April/May 1996


LANSING, New York—How is it that you have time to sit down and read a magazine? I, for one, hardly have time for meals. But perhaps you had a kinder autumn last year than we did. First, we had a very long, hot, dry summer. It remained so warm through September and October that my gardening friends and I couldn’t bring ourselves to cut back the perennials: they were so green and were so obviously enjoying getting a bit of rain now and then that we felt it would be too brutal to chop them down. I did finally cut the iris, daylilies, and some of the other plants back, but just as I was setting to work seriously weeding and cutting, winter came. While many of the shrubs and trees still had all their leaves, a terrific wind- and snowstorm hit, breaking many branches, including those on my precious buffalo berry. “Oh, it’s only the first of November,” I said, with authority. “We’ll have lots of warm weather yet.” So much for my reputation as a weather wizard; it was a cold, snowy winter from then on. (Oddly, many trees never shed their leaves.) Jobs that should have been done last fall, including cleanup, have to be done now. If only I had a crew.

Back in the house, I hover over my seed flats, yelping joyfully as little hillocks erupt, announcing that germination has taken place. It never stops being a thrill. As usual, I planned to cut way back on seed planting, but then the catalogs began to arrive, and my bare-bones list got longer—and longer. Now it’s time to start scrubbing little pots to hold the purple angelica, the purple basil, and all the others that I couldn’t resist.

Plant greed is a hard thing to conquer. It’s especially hard to resist the catalogs and lists from all the new perennial nurseries being launched by young people who really seem to care about plants, not just money. They are making an effort to identify their offerings correctly and to tell the truth about their appearance and performance. They don’t tell you a flower is blue when it’s actually mauve or lavender, nor do they say it “blooms all summer” when, like most perennials, it flowers for only two or three weeks. They don’t tell you it’s easy when it’s difficult or that it will do well in the border when it’s a stoloniferous brute that will spread 5 feet in all directions, relentlessly swallowing up its neighbors. This new development in plant merchandising goes a long way toward counteracting the feeling many of us have these days that virtue and honesty are lost causes. That alone makes me want to buy lots of plants from these young people, but add to it the interesting plants they’re introducing every year and it’s clear that my efforts to cut back on new acquisitions are doomed.

Now I have a question for Herb Companion readers: What is the botanical name of that furry white culinary sage that is used around the Mediterranean instead of Salvia officinalis? Its flavor is sweeter and more delicate. If I could find the plant, I’d make a Mediterranean slope for it for the summer and take it indoors for the winter. Nothing would be too much trouble.









mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE









Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265