Sunday, March 20, 2005

A Sad Tale

In walking through the garden, there are lots of plants to see; some common, some uncommon, and some that are downright astonishing to find growing here in the middle of corn country. But, if you were to wander unattended down a back pathway, you might come upon a little pile of plant labels, and wonder where these plants might be; the sky blue corydalis, the diminutive primrose from the high Himalayas, the dove tree with its stark white floral display like so much laundry hanging from its branches. Well, sadly this is my plant graveyard, and let's face it, we all have a lot of chlorophyll on our hands. Of the plants I've lost though, one in particular is still painful to recall: Cypripedium formosan, perhaps the queen of hardy orchids. I have about six different terrestrial cypripediums that grow in the garden, but had always lusted after C. formosan, daunted by its cost, and the liklihood it would not survive our climate. I finally ran across one, though, at a price just below breathtaking, that I was pretty sure was greenhouse propagated, not plucked from the wild, and I sprang for it. I planted it in the fall in the very best spot in the garden, in a shady, moist ravine, with good drainage, and right by steps leading down to a bridge.Surprisingly it returned in the spring as if it was right at home, and it was beautiful, in all its pleated-leafed glory! I'd find an excuse to pass by it several times a day, and pictured myself casually pointing out the (by then) large colony of cyps to garden visitors, mentioning of course, that it was considered extremely challenging to grow by most gardeners, but had become somewhat of an invasive pest here, so that I periodically had to take the weed-whacker to it. Well, one day as I was gazing at it, I decided that what it really needed was a big grey boulder just behind it on the uphill slope to better show it off, and...
Well, as they say, whom the gods would destroy they first make proud. I have a nice little trillium planted in that spot now, but I still never walk by there without flinching a little. Of course I can hear you saying "Well of course I'D never do anything that dumb!" Ha!

I loved that "chlorophyll on the hands" thing. I don't know if you just made that up, but it's a jewel nonetheless.

I have been responsible for wholesale slaughter of plants - always my fault for poor placement, lack of research, etc. May they rest in piece and keep their dark secrets.
I made up the chlorophyll line, but I doubt it's original... surely it's been used before (what hasn't).
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