Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Beauty of Making Mistakes

Perennial Snapdragons with Salvia

The day my little Snapdragons bloom is a happy day, indeed. These 3-year-olds are not supposed to grow here. I had to get on the phone and throw a little hissy fit with the company before they'd sell them to me. (They sent me a letter saying 'no can do' since they guarantee their plants and these were absolutely inappropriate for my area.) Each summer I'm surprised to see they're still alive and kickin'.

These perennial Snapdragons are blooming down the path from the Azalea, the Hibiscus and the Wisteria - none of whom are supposed to grow here. (They won't win awards, but they're doing just fine, thank you very much.)

I know all this because I went to Master Gardening classes - where I learned a whole lot more about what I was doing wrong vs. right. But, that doesn't mean any of their teachings actually sunk in.

I've been AWOL from the Salt Lake City Master Gardener Association for quite some time. Actually, forever. Since graduating, I've barely found the time to pay my dues, (6 months late, this year, a new record!) much less attend a meeting. Catholic guilt kicks in every once in awhile - like yesterday when I was invited to lunch at Karen's house. That's because some of the nicest people I've ever met are members of the SLMGA.

Like Karen. Her landscaping is so lovely... and complete! I have a good 2 years of digging in the dirt before I can claim the same thing. Not only is her garden gorgeous (wouldn't you know it, I forgot my camera) but her dogs are well-behaved, too! Wunderkind.
Prairie Fire Crabapple Trees (behaving like bushes)

And, Traci. Such a bundle of energy, I get tired just reading her emails. I don't know Traci very well, yet I think of her quite often. Traci spraypainted her dead trees, thus transforming a glaring 'mistake' into a colorful conversation piece. Now why didn't I think of that?

My trees aren't dead. They're happily growing in a horizontal direction. The wind is too abusive for the ornamental trees I originally planted. I am not ready to surrender in my war with Mother Nature, so I chopped the trees down to 3 feet and encouraged them to behave like bushes. They look great!

The thing about mistakes is that we should make some every day. We are the sum of all of our accomplishments and I don't believe we'll ever accomplish much of anything if we're content to follow the safest path and never take a chance.

So, there you have it. In spite of everything I now know, I still fully intend to plant another Bechtel Crab tree next spring. If it dies, I'll spray-paint it pink - because you just never know until you try...

Sage advice for the risk-averse:
You can NEVER go wrong with
Jupiter's Beard (Centranthus):

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kit, Thank you for the compliments. I think we all think our gardens are works in progress. Can't wait to see yours. By the way, one of my well behaved dogs ate my living room chair while I was at work today. Glad they were good for your visit at least. KC