Friday, September 25, 2009

It seemed like a good idea at the time

It was originally intended as a decorative element but somewhere along the line I decided that by planting these Dasylirion Wheeleri and Hesperaloe in partially buried Terra Cotta pots (pictured below) I had increased the drainage and that was helping to keep these drought tolerant/loving plants alive during our wet winters.
Perhaps, but the problem was about a year ago I started to hate the way they looked. I averted my eyes when I passed, which is difficult since they are right along our sidewalk. Three perfectly wonderful plants were being ignored because they were planted in ugly pots with even uglier Sempervivum. It was finally time to free the innocent plants.
Well it turns out I was right about the drainage. The roots and soil inside the pot were dry while the surrounding ground was quite moist from a recent rain. It’s a trade off. Now I enjoy looking at these plants and hopefully they will still be happy, maybe even spread out their cramped roots and grow, and not mind a little more moisture. I hope.

Why did it take me so long to do something about it? You don’t ever put off taking care of something in the garden that you’ve grown tired of, and even started to hate. Do you?


  1. Oh, no, I would NEVER do something like that!
    Even though you feel you put their release off too long, the results are beautiful now. And the Hesperaloe and the Dasylirion Wheeleri will still have some time to settle in.

    I do like them sans the sempervivum, though. Not because I agree with you that they're ugly, but because such symmetrical plants are stars in their own right, and they look so nice solo with your rock mulch.

    So now I need to get on with moving a few of my own perfectly-sited garden denizens (not!) Archtostaphylos Austin Griffiths.

  2. Yes, it's kind of sad how I manage to stare at the same problem spot for quite a chunk of time until I finally act. Of course, sometimes the plants do me the favor to die, and that usually gets my attention ;->

  3. Uh, no...never. I'm always on top of things, DG. [Chuckle, chuckle.] The two most significant procrastinations in my backyard would have to be trimming the towering laurel hedge. [Not fun and in need once again.] And the removal of a stupid and ugly wild plum tree that, in my naive years, seemed like a good idea but proved to be the biggest, rangiest eyesore EVER. It's been gone a few years now but I still have suckers to deal with. I are smart.

    Love the look of the Dasylirion and Hesperaloe. It looks to me like the drainage should be fine...fingers crossed.

  4. Hey, it's cool that you experiment and are willing to change things up when you or the plants decide it's not right. You are gardening on the edge there with all your zone-pushing and climate-shifting, so you have to see what works and what doesn't and be willing to expect a certain amount of plant death as just part of the deal. I'm glad someone is brave enough to try it, I'm too much of a chicken! Oh geez, I am still not done ripping out the dead trailing rosemary (100 sq. ft. of it) that was the biggest winter casualty last December. Kept hoping it would come back (tiny patches did, but no more) but finally am getting it done, inch by extremely painful inch.

  5. I didn't mind the pots, but they look very liberated in the ground. Surely your drainage will be enough for them? It takes me forever to get around to taking care of the garden problems. I stare at sun plants and shade plants I've put side by side, knowing one of them must be in the wrong spot, and still I can't decide what to do. I'm always so happy when I finally do move things around and fix a problem spot.

  6. Do I? Hah! My excuse is "waiting for inspiration"...sometimes it arrives, sometimes not.

  7. Jane, oh I LOVE sempervivum, just not those particular plants and the way they were looking. I think they were too hot and too dry, since I never watered the pots. In the rest of the garden sempervivum are favs, and everywhere.

    Town Mouse, yes their dying would certainly put an end to the need to act!

    Grace, laurel yikes...I guess it is a mixed blessing that our neighbor tore out the laurel that created a natural fence between our yards (it was on her side), I hear that upkeep can be quite expensive. But it was beautiful.

    Karen, "zone-pushing, climate-shifting" I like it! Yes I suppose you are right, I need to expect that a certain amount of the plants won't make it. Why do I always forget that? Your rosemary tear out sounds most unpleasant! I bet it smells good though!

    Megan, sun and shade next to each other? Who would do that? (oh, I hope the drainage will be good enough. I'm always torn between adding pumice/gravel to increase the drainage and then the fear of creating a "bathtub effect" where the water doesn't drain into the surrounding ground. If we were starting all over again I would have mixed piles and piles into the whole yard before planting. But, alas, I was not that smart then.

    ricki, that is a great excuse!

  8. I bet they are saying " Free, Free, Free at last".
    I hope their freedom is long lasting. I've killed one too many Dasyliron by planting them in the soil with poor drainage.
    Long life to your newly liberated plants !

  9. You're scaring me DD! I do have one other that is in the ground and has been for a couple of years. It's very happy but is in an area that drains well.


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