Or, The Great Garden Ponzi Scheme
Hey, the Sad Sack Rack in the Big Box Garden Store had bunches of plants on sale today.
Is that good news or bad news?
Good, of course. But I only found one plant I really wanted. It’s in good shape, though. Not like those waifs I’m always rescuing.
Only one plant? Now that is good news. I’ll get the shovel and we’ll get this done right away.
Hmmm, just let me wander around for a while. I want to find just the right spot for it
So I should put the shovel away.
Not yet. I actually have one place in mind that could work very well.
But there’s already a plant there.
I know, but I can’t remember why I put that plant there in the first place. It’s obviously not right.
Looks okay to me.
Not really. It didn’t grow much. Not getting enough sun. Or maybe it’s getting too much sun…Or maybe it’s not getting enough water. Or maybe it’s getting too much water.
Sounds finicky to me.
Well, let’s try it over here.
But won’t you have to take a plant out to fit this one in?
Well, actually, three plants.
Yes. They’re small, so you can’t just move one of them out. The three of them need to move as a group.
Why, are they friends?
Wait. I think I’ve got it all worked out. If we take these two, the bushy ones out from over there, then there will be just enough space for the three small ones. Then we can find a good spot for the bushy ones.
The bushy ones? What bushy ones? I thought we were only planting one plant.
While we’re at it, we should move that plant over there, too.
Haven’t I moved that one before?
Yes, a couple of times, I think. That’s probably why it looks familiar to you. It just doesn’t seem to like this garden. It droops in sun. It sulks in shade. It wilts. Its leaves get spotty.
Do you think it might be happier if you just, maybe, left it alone? Or, here’s a thought, how about throwing it out?
Oh I couldn’t do that.
So how many plants, exactly, are we moving?
I’ve kind of lost track. But it’ll go fast because some plants will go right into holes left from other plants we’ve dug out.
That makes me so happy. What plant comes first?
Maybe before we plant we should get out the loppers. If we limb this bush up and take the plant out that’s under it, then we can fit those other two underneath it.
What other two? Hey, didn’t you just put this plant under there – you said something about great color combinations when they bloomed.
I know but it didn’t work. They only bloom together if the sun, moon and stars are aligned.
Okay, is this plant standing straight in the hole?
Yes, it’s fine, but it has to be moved over by 6 inches.
Six inches? Around here it’ll grow six inches in a week.
But it’s not centered in the bed.
So how many more do we have to go?
Seven or eight? Maybe?
But you only started with one.
I know. How does that happen?
(Let’s pause for clarification of sorts. I hope that some gardeners will see a small bit of themselves in this narrative, though I imagine the more organized and knowledgeable among us will be appalled by the lunacy. Most gardeners will, however, immediately recognize this as dialog between the gardener of the queenly “we” and the digger-in-chief. Let us continue.)
How nice, you’re kneeling to give the plant your blessing?
No, I’m kneeling to chop a root so this plant can go into the hole. But I may as well tell it now – Do NOT get too comfortable, because you’ll probably get moved to another spot.
Well, actually, that particular plant was doing too well where it was.
If it was doing well, why did we dig it?
Because it was always sprawling on the path and flopping all over its neighbors.
But don’t we want to celebrate plants that actually grow?
Yes, but we can’t have plants flopping all over each other.
You have a pretty wide open spot over there. Why don’t we just dig a trench for all these plants, fill it in and call it a day? They could have a jolly time flopping and comparing war stories.
Don’t be silly. Anyway, it’s too sunny for most of them. Oh but I have an idea. We could dig this other plant that behaves itself and put it near the path.
That plant looks familiar. Didn’t we just put it in?
Yes, but it’s not quite the right spot for it.
Looks pretty happy to me.
But it’ll look so much better here.
Didn’t you once have a plan for the garden?
Next year will be better, I promise. If we just make these few changes now, each plant will finally have a real home.
(In the interest of accurate reporting, these conversations actually occurred over a period of days, weeks, months, or even years, but for narrative purposes time has been condensed into an afternoon.)
Well, you didn’t think all this could happen in one afternoon. Even in our garden.
Or did you.
(The idea for this narrative came from a conversation with our son, who, as digger-in-chief in his own garden, has lately become adept at transplanting. And our daughter, somewhat hard-hearted, who now limits a plant to three moves before she stops rationalizing and starts tossing.)
It’s all a part of a gardener’s genes.
The slide show below represents plants that have participated (for better or worse) in these round-robin games. Azaleas and hydrangeas were refugees from Isabel, the rest were either flopping, drowning, drying up, burning up, sulking, or were targets of our sudden aha! garden moments.