Monday, April 11, 2016

In a Vase on Monday - "learn from my mistakes" edition

I killed a Magnolia. On purpose.

I have no before pictures to share, because I had to kind-of "back into it" – not admitting I was really going through with it – even as I started to cut, and cut and cut.

So that the beautiful plant wasn't completely wasted I cut every branch for a vase.

It's been awhile since I featured a really juicy "learn from my mistakes" post and as always the hope is that by sharing my gardening "short-comings" someone else won't make the same mistake I did. Or at least if you do, you'll know that others are out there doing stupid things too!

So see that Magnolia laevifolia below? The skinny thing center of photo? Well I planted it back in 2013 and then it died. Or so I thought. So I bought another one and planted it in the same spot, without bothering to dig out the dead one. Why? I don't know...laziness maybe?

But the first one came back (and strong), it's the trunk on the right, below. You can see where the second one was growing, on the left. Now just a scar in the soil since I cut it down – will it come back? Only time will tell, but there was no way I was going to dig it out and risk injury to the roots of the other plant.

How did I decide which one stayed and which one received the death penalty? Well it was really telling to compare the two, side by side (and yes, a photo would have been nice...I'm sorry...bad blogger!). One had darker green leaves, the other looked a little chlorotic. Looking at the buds and the overall vigor of the plants this one was the clearly better plant. And yes, it's the one that I had originally given up for dead.

Not any more!

This is the same type of plant – Magnolia laevifolia – in another spot of the garden. Its blooms always precede the others.

Gorgeous!

The remaining plant, from another angle...

Now that the deed is done I am so glad I finally righted the wrong. To have two small trees growing right next to each other was just bad juju. I've known that I needed to do this since late 2014 when I saw they were both growing and competing for the same space, but I just kept putting it off. Here's a vase I filled with branches...

Some buds about to open.

Hopefully they all will eventually.

It's a bit big for the space between the two chairs, but it's a soft plant...not spiky.

There were so many branches I filled a second vase. I was not allowed to waste any – my penance for being a lazy gardener.

Oh! I also wanted to share a new addition to the Royal Copley collection – a small black and white planter my parents picked up for me when I was in Spokane a couple of weeks ago. And the begonia leaves still look good (from almost a month ago!). I wonder if they're rooting in there? Is that even possible? Suppose I should check.

Another Magnolia shot...

Before we move on to the ferns, another mistake...

There were so many gorgeous fronds unfurling around the garden that I wanted to create a fern-centric vase.

I cut a nice little collection.

And put them together in the vase.

Then I uncovered a hidden Hellebore stem and plopped it in there too...

But the fern fronts all started wilting after a couple of hours and this became a very sad vase! Now I know that new fern fronds don't like to be used as cut stems (learn from my mistakes...)

No doubt if you visit Rambling in the Garden (our hostess for "In a Vase" Mondays) you'll see lots of successful vases to make up for my failures.

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

29 comments:

  1. Well done you for being brave enough to cut the other one down - although from your experience of the first it is of course possible it will come back to haunt you too! In the meantime it actually looks most effective in a vase - you must be pleased with the result of this. I wonder how long the woody stems will last and if many of the buds will open. Thank you so much for sharing your exploits today, Loree!

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    1. I'm on day 6 (sorry...I didn't actually do this on Monday) and things still look good, although some buds are dropping. I should have probably waited until it was in full bloom to do the deed, but had I who knows? I might have chickened out again.

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  2. held my breath as I read. so happy to hear the reason. those branches with blooms look gorgeous in a vase. hope you'll keep us posted on their longevity.

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    1. Day 6 and still good...(have you bought one of these?)

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  3. I have actually dug out trees and bushes to find them growing again years later, from a small root I missed. We think things are dead and then they surprise us. That vase is a stunner, wow! Too bad about the ferns in the vase and good to know...you have quite a collection of beautiful ferns in your garden.

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    1. I've surprised myself with my fern collection. I didn't really mean to amass so many!

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  4. I understand the omission of the "before" shot - I launch into projects I dread for one reason or another with the same kind of sudden abandon. But you made excellent use of your "mistake"! The vase looks great. Are the cactus at its base intended to keep Lila out? Come to think of it, I could use some spikey protectors for a number of my vases and houseplants as Pipig is always sticking her nose (and claws) into things she shouldn't.

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    1. Ha! Lila couldn't get up there if she tried...the advantage of having a small dog. No the cactus are just for fun.

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  5. This made me laugh. Thanks for the cautionary tale. I wonder if the begonia leaves have rooted? They do make new plants very easily from leaf cuttings so I wouldn't be surprised.

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  6. A couple of years ago I planted something on top of another plannt that's late to appear. Luckily I managed to save them both. Always something to learn or undo in the garden. Love those chairs and the fabric.

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    1. "always something to learn or undo"...so true!

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  7. I've had a Redbud and a Sourwood die back (seemingly) completely, only to come roaring back, stronger than ever, from the roots. I like your philosophy of never letting cuttings go to waste. Those are fragrant, too(?)

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    1. They are fragrant on the plant, but not so much indoors (bummer).

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  8. I have to admit to gasping at your opening sentence, but it's certainly understandable! And the vase is a nice extra to come out of completing that task!

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    1. I still can't believe I did it, but walking into the back garden and seeing only a single plant growing there, well I know I did the right thing.

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  9. oh god is that green number a Cal-Art Bauer ?

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    1. Hmmm...I don't know! It's one of the "new" Bauer...I have a small size (tumbler?) too. Is it a Cal-Art thing?

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    2. Cal-Art is a series -or an era if you will..I have some Bauer 2000 too-no one can afford a cobalt blue original ringware vase !

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  10. That's a beautiful Magnolia species. Well, sometimes things happen with plants, what can I say. ;-) LOL several times for this post.

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    1. Good...gotta keep 'em LOL'ing!

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  11. Sometimes a gardener's got to do what a gardener's got to do, even if it means murdering one of her children. It was such a relief to learn that this was intentional! Good to know about new fern fronds.

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    1. You always can crack me up Peter.

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  12. That magnolia is new to me -- not hardy enough for the Washington, D.C., area -- but, wow, gorgeous!

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    1. It is super lovely...and now I just have to be happy with two in my garden, instead of three. (I'm lucky!)

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  13. The Magnolias are so pretty in a vase, with their glossy leaves and so many flower buds in every direction. The flowers are really cute too, I have trouble warming up to my spaced out Magnolia rustica rubra flowers, over my head and hard to photograph. I like your little C-shaped planter for the little cacti, so cute in front of the vase. It's like my garden philosophy, win a few, lose a few, but keep growing. I know the IaVoM people say to sear the hellebore stems, but I don't know if the hellebore sap would poison the ferns and make them droop?

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    1. You might be on to something there Hanna, about the Hellebore. I shouldn't be so lazy and should do things like that.

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  14. At least the magnolia bounced back - has to speak well for your garden and climate! I'm still mad at myself because I took out a probably-only-dormant Senecio "Blue Fingers" last summer, thinking it was dead, not knowing they go summer dormant here... aargh! Haven't been able to find that particular variety again so far despite saving a place for it in the garden. Am treating my newer Senecios with more respect and hoping for the best through the heat!

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    1. Oh man! Who knew? I would have done the same.

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