Monday, January 11, 2010

To All Of The Flowers I've Known And Lost

Just call me Mrs. Brown Thumb.
What is that old song that says
"To all of the Women I've Known and Lost" ?
Well after going through my flower picture files and
notes this is and apology to all of the flowers that
I have known and lost.
Even with all the best intentions and with all of the
knowledge I possessed at a given time in some poor
plants life, it seems that I have lost quite a few over
the years.

How you might ask does one kill a hardy, tough,
grow anywhere perennial like Hollyhocks?
Well moving them three times in one summer
and then forgetting to water them just might be a clue.
Planting them in the shade behind the garage does not
seem to help them grow to great heights and form
beautiful blooms.
They were moved once again last Fall to new sunny
location. Will this red one be amongst the six replanted?
Who knows but one can always hope.
Then let us not mention the six 'Queeny Purple'
dwarf hollyhocks that were started from seed.
They grew wonderfully all summer in the garden
but every one of them failed to come back last summer.

Now this little anemone just disappeared into
thin air. I think a garden fairy loved it so much that
it came one night to borrow it and forgot to bring it
"That is my excuse and I am sticking to it."

Now this hardy Geranium I remember well
and it took a lot of work to get rid of this lovely.

There has been many perennials that have been
lost and I will not bore you with them all.
Thank your lucky stars that I do not have pictures
of them either. The carnage is too horrific for
innocent gardeners to view.

This dear 'Ruutel' Clematis only lived to
the tender age of two summers.
And least we forget two 'Autumn Joy' clematis
have met there demise by my hand.

I will take full credit for killing this Trumpet vine.
After years of growth and suckers coming up 30
yards away, not to mention the drainage lines it clogged,
I tried and tried for five years to kill it and its little suckers.

But it seems I am more famous with my brown thumb
by the name of ' The Killer of Roses".

'Queen Elizabeth' did not like her visit to my

'Irish Gold' literally turn red with anger.
Well it could have actually been it froze back
last winter to the graft and turned red.

'Senior Prom' did not stay for the final waltz.
And an 'Autumn Rose' did not stay to the following
Spring let alone the next Autumn.

Alas 'Pink Beauty Rose' was a beauty.
Maybe it is that the color of pink in roses that
just hate me. I do see a color theme here in the roses.
No excuses , I just managed to kill them all somehow.

How in the world does someone kill a knockout rose?
Again you just move it three times in one summer and
forget to water. Simple really.

Two Mimosa trees have gone to early deaths.
One do to the mess it left.
Note to gardeners: do not plant them in garden
beds or near roofs and sidewalks. They are beautiful
but messy. Another one due to a new septic system had to
meet its Waterloo.
No they are not invasive in my yard

and two others are planted FAR, FAR away from the house.

Caladium's bulbs just will not over winter in my
basement. Maybe they are too stuck up to stay
among the cobwebs and dry air.

Now it looks as though 'Capistrano' Rhododendron
may be bidding me a fond ado after this winter.
She has slowly been disassociating her self from
me the last two years and this winter her frail limbs
are broken from the snow and wind.
Losing her will be so sad.

The number of flowers I have lost over the years
are too many to even write them here.
As gardeners we know you win some
and you sadly lose some.
" Oh come on now, don't you all stand there
all puffed up and tell me you never lost a plant ". LOL!

Good Luck and Happy Gardening Everyone!


Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Hi Lona, great post!! My thumb is alternates between green & brown, some plants love me, others don't. I have lost many over the years, but the more you plant the more you'll lose, right? I expect some casualties from last year. I don't fertilize enough (ie hardly at all). I really should develop some sort of program. No finger wagging here, I'm in the same boat! :) Rebecca

Christine B. said...

I don't think there is enough space on the internet for me to list all the plants I have killed. I've definitely "offed" my share of roses, Clematis, and lilies.

Christine in Alaska

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

I'm smiling and nodding in sympathy, Lona, especially over the hollyhocks. I'm an expert at killing them, but there are others in your loved and lost group that have also bailed from my garden. They just go to sleep and neglect to wake up. Ah well, there are lots of others out there...

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I will not tell you I never lost a plant because I have lost many! I was looking at my pictures last night from summers past and thought to myself, "I wonder what happened to that plant, and that plant..." The multiple moves and forgetting to water is probably the easiest way to kill a plant, at least for me.
At least when one dies it leaves space for a new one.
I do hope your rhodie pulls through!

Amy said...

Well, you are absolutely not alone in that circumstance! I just wonder what plants I have left after this cold spell. At least you have beautiful photographs to remember them. :) Enjoyed your post.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Amy; I hope this old cold spell doesn't do too much damage.I am afraid there are going to be a lot of people in your shoes.

Catherine: I sure hope the rhodie pulls through or sends up new shoots next spring. It was such a pretty yellow.

Jodi: I guess it is just something all gardeners have to face, I sure hate all the roses I have lost ;-)

Christine: It must be a chore to get plants that survive in your cold Alaska weather. Brrrr.

Rebecca: I really need to ad amendments to our old clay rock hard soil. I am not a great composter and I hate to by dirt. ;-)

Noelle said...

I think all gardeners alike have had plants meet their deaths by their hand whether intentional or not. It helps us become better gardeners in the process, don't you think?

NellJean said...

All of us have killed things. What's bad is when we continue to make the same mistakes.

Caladiums will winter over fairly well in an old styrofoam cooler, layered in newspaper. Since they're rhizomes rather than true bulbs, they can't be allowed to totally dry out, so store them without drying completely.

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

What a great post, I was shaking my head in agreement and recalling all the little beauties that I was a negligent caretaker off.

Of course last year, it was the extreme cold that took my babies away. The fact that I didn't winterize early enough might have something to do with it. Or the -17C temperatures were just too cold on a concrete deck.

My Japanese annemones have all bit the bucket also. Very disapointing since I had some nice varieties.


Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Noelle: That old live and learn or plant and learn in this case.

NellJean: I figured what destroyed the bulbs afterwards. That is a good idea on storing them. Thank you. Maybe I will try again sometime. That old stubborn hate to give up is very real when it comes to something I cannot grow.

Jen: So many plants, so much lose. LOL!

Carol said...

At least you planted all your plants Lona! The slugs and bishops weed are ahead of me but I am close at third in the killing race. It is so sad to think of my loses. Your writing and photos are wonderful. I love especially your sorbet clematis ... the light is delicious!
;) carol

Balisha said...

Great post...I am a rose killer. I confess. I have 3 knockouts in my front garden...let's see if they come through this cold winter OK. At least I can put the blame on Old Man Winter if they don't.

Anonymous said...

I can see why the fairies took off with the pink anemone! I would like to sneak a piece too. So funny to bring up flowers loved and lost. I have a long list too. Many plants I lose because I don't stick to my zone, others I just get weary, plant in the wrong spot, etc. There are some real beauties on your post ~ does seeing them make you want to try again?? Sometimes that happens to me and the second time around I have better luck (or try harder).

JulenaJo said...

Thanks for a great post. I found it wonderfully comforting to know that another gardener out there kills things the way I do. Oddly, I usually tend to think it was something, ANYTHING, but certainly not ME responsible for the demise of a beloved plant. RIP!

Stephanie said...

I think one thing that stands out is the flower names. They are so aptly named :-D It is funny that you mentioned that the caladiums were stucked up... yes, they are! They like to hibernate and only show up once in a while in my garden. It is quite a plant. The second pic of caladium that has pink veins and pink leaf is pretty. I like it very much. I hope the rest of your plants that you are over wintering now will all stay cool and calm ok.

Dirt Princess said...

Ok.... I was totally with you until I got to the knockout rose! LONA!!! How did you kill a knockout! I guess the temp is different there. Here you can't killa knockout or mimosa with gas! I have lost more plants than I have gained!

Bren said...

Your HollyHock image is wonderful... it brought tears to my eyes because I miss her bloom so!

Happy Near Year Neighbor!

Kylee from Our Little Acre said...

Lona, don't feel bad. I did a similar post a couple of years ago. It's sad to lose a plant, especially if it was one you loved. I, too, go back through photos and get misty-eyed over things I've lost. Maybe I'll do another post like this, too. Misery loves company, right?

By the way, I have 'Senior Prom' too, and it never looks like a really healthy plant, but it manages to eke out a few blooms each summer.

Anonymous said...

What a hoot, Lona! Loved it! It seems you are especially good at killing roses, your name, Killer of Roses, almost looked to me like the name of a rose we had to kill, called Killer, Alberic Barbier, although it lives in the compost pile at my daughter Semi's house. Moving stuff in summer and not watering will do it nearly every time. But the loss of Capistrano, oh the sadness! I always look at that in the catalogs and nearly order it. It has never been seen at a nursery, or we would try it. Maybe not after reading this sad tale. RIP to all the losses.

Anonymous said...

I can just hear Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias singing to our flowers! Yes, I've lost many. Many were seeds that didn't even bother to come up! But I do know one thing, I don't move things around all the time, maybe that helps. That's why I can't weed anything until late in the summer. I'm never sure which little seedlings are actually supposed to be there!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Carol: I usually get them in the ground but I can never make up my mind where I want them or where they want to grow the best. ;-)

Balisha: Your Knockouts will be fine. I just did that one poor Knockout very wrong.

Kathleen: I usually stick to my zone because my plants are tortured enough without trying to stick them in a different zone.
That was such a pretty anemone too ;-) Wish them fairies would bring it back. LOL!

Julena: LOL! We gardeners can do no wrong.It is the plants. ;-)

Stephanie: It is so cold here they have to be brought in over the winter. I just did not store them the right way.Poor things. I may have to try again. Stubborn lady that I am. ;-)

APRIL , girl I know! Hey, I had to try hard to kill that Knockout. It was a fighter though LOL.

Bren: Isn't it a sad state of affairs. Poor Hollyhock. Hopefully it is one of the puny sun deprived ones I moved back to a sunny location ;-)

Kylee: I think I will reach back to a zone 4 rose then maybe I can keep them. Especially the pink ones LOL.

Frances: Hey girl,I need that Killer Rose of yours. It may actually have a chance in my garden. LOL!

Robin: WILLIE NELSON! I could not for the life of me remember who sung that song. LOL! I was beginning to think I dreamed it ;-)
Good advice not to move them. I just can never make up my mind. It would have been alright if I hadn't forgotten to water the poor things afterward. Oh, I hate to think of the ones I may have pulled up too. Ugh!

CiNdEe said...

There isn't enough room to post all the ones I killed over the years! LOL
A mimosa went bye bye for that exact reason at my house too!
Some things just don't make it here and I think I will try it anyhow. Oh well its all fun right?

T Opdycke said...

My condolences, Lona, for all your losses, especially the lovely pink roses. Your post made me smile and laugh. I feel your pain, but refuse to go down the path of numbers when it comes to how many murders and accidental deaths I've inflicted on unsuspecting plants.

~the girl said...

Wonderful blog topic! I have tried to repress the ones I have lost, but I do keep an old ginger jar in the garden with the plant markers from the dearly departed. It is a cool conversation piece!

P.S. The header of this blog is GORGEOUS! Great job!

Darla said...

What a great post and a wonderful idea. I might have to borrow it...this is a good way to STOP buying plants that you know are not going to survive!

Kate said...

Now that great, old song is running through my head. :) I am a serial killer of Azaleas and Wisteria - neither plant grows here but I remain the eternal optimist and plant a new one every year!

Janet said...

Of course it was Willie... :-)
I blame my losses on the four legged critters that come into my garden, above and below ground. That is my story!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Cindee: LOL! It is fun and there are always more to take their places.

T: I would like to blame it all on our retched soil in Ohio, poor memory and old age or the fairies ;-) But I am so guilty of neglecting many of them.

The Girl: Ugh! I have a whole plastic zip-lock bag of my own. Now that is depressing LOL! Thanks for dropping by.

Darla: You are so right. After tallying up your loses it dawns on you, hey stubborn woman that will not grow you are wasting your money. LOL

Kate:Oh you brought up a sore subject. I have two wisteria vines that are over eleven years old and they have not bloomed. Last summer I trimmed the dickens out of them. Dug around their roots to shock them. If they do not bloom this year they will become trellis's for the clematis vines I planted by them. LOL.

Janet: Hey girl you stick to that story. I understand perfectly. LOL.

A rootdigger said...

That post could have been mine. I wonder too some days all those plants I enjoyed tried and they passed. if only I had known ahead, etc.