Wednesday, July 2, 2014

They Were Right

So hot and dry -- it's been three weeks now without any rain and the lawns all over the neighborhood are looking patchy, ours included. We run the sprinklers, but the grass in spots is browning and the gardens are stressed despite the hours I spend trying to water the most vulnerable plants.

Not mine. It could have looked this way someday, though
I hate it when sources are discouraging about something I want to plant . . . like the people who said a pagoda dogwood was difficult to grow.

I had trouble finding a nursery that would sell Cornus alternifolia, and when I asked Bartlett they tried to discourage me. They said they don't do well, although they are native trees that grow wild in the woods. In landscapes for some reason, they perish.

I found a species pagoda dogwood at Broken Arrow in 2011 and put it by the dry creek bed, nestled among the pretty blue forget me nots. It got shade in the afternoon in summer. It did okay for two years, it flowered and the fall color was great, but it had some signs of stress.

This spring it died. It did not leaf out at all, not even one leaf. It did try to flower, with a lot of stunted, half formed blooms.

I took it out and will not put anything in that spot. Earlier this spring the bed of forget me nots by the creek looked a little forlorn without the pagoda dogwood there any more.

(Before the Cornus alternifolia there had been a small redbud in that same spot, a strongly variegated one called Silver Cloud that they said was difficult to keep alive and very prone to die. They were right. Mine died the first winter.)

They were right about the sensitivity of yellow flowered magnolias too, and last spring I lost my beautiful magnolia 'Elizabeth'.

I hate that they were right about clematis 'Henryi' and clematis wilt. Many large flowered clematis are prone to this incurable fungus, but 'Henryi' is often mentioned by name as a susceptible cultivar.

Of course they were right and my 'Henryi' got it. New shoots wilted at the top where the emerging blooms were, then the leaves blackened below, and last night I had to cut the whole thing down.

The big white clematis flowers were so striking. But they were right about its disease susceptibility and of course my pretty plant succumbed.

How I hate it when sources predict there might --- might -- be trouble with a plant, and then it always happens to mine.

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