It’s Alive!

First, the good news. As a result of frequent applications of the Stare of Life, several of the plants on the winter death watch have broken dormancy. Specifically: both my two year old fringe trees (Chionanthus virginicus), the bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Longwood Blue’}, the ‘Blue Adonis’ compact butterflybush (Buddleia), and the ‘Conca D’Or’ orienpet lilies. Though only three of the five lilies I planted are up so far – but hey, I’m not going to complain.

Still dead: the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) and the three serviceberries (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’).

Peony 'America'
Peony ‘America’

All this goes to show that patience is an essential virtue for gardeners. A virtue I do not have, but an essential one nonetheless. Or, as an old colleague used to regularly tell me: never panic. It also shows the essential perversity of certain gardeners (OK, I mean me), because I now am suffering from just the slightest twinge of disappointment because I will be unable to buy replacements for the plants that were actually not killed by the severe winter. Some of us can just never be satisfied.

Now, the bad news. This is a terrible time to leave the garden, but I must leave early tomorrow morning and not return until Friday. This means that some plants could easily reach and then pass their peak while I am away. For example, I returned home today to find the blooms of peony ‘America’ opening. By Friday they could easily be done, especially if we have some warm, stormy weather. The same thing could happen with my ‘World Expressions’ tulips. And I will most likely to be gone for almost all of the remainder of May.

It’s a hard life.

Do you have to abandon your garden at crucial moments, and if so, how do you handle it? And do you have plants coming back from the dead?

59 Comments on “It’s Alive!”

  1. Ha! You crack me up! I will never get over the stare of life! It gets me every time! And yes! The redbud forest pansy that I thought was a goner is now actually showing signs of life…I replanted him in a more sheltered area and planted a crabapple up front where the redbud once was…they should event some type of garden cameras that you can stake by your plants to watch them evolve! Hope you don’t miss too much!

  2. Plants are so full of surprises. Between day length and soil temps, they have a lot to consider when deciding to pop or stay still. So glad to hear there’s good news. Keep an eye on the base of the dogwood. Could just be that there’s life below ground.

    Believe it or not, we to the far southwest of you had snow and lows in the 20’s for mother’s day. Talk about confusing signals to send the garden!

  3. Nice peony. It’s so true how things progress quickly at this time of year. You’re going to have to set up a webcam in your garden that you can view it online from wherever you go–one that let’s you point the camera around the yard through your computer or phone.

  4. Laughing out loud at this post. So sorry that you have four things that are still dead. Maybe you’ll be able to replace THEM though.

    Having to leave our gardens, even for a few days, is just the worst! Especially this time of year when everything changes to quickly.

    As for me, I am fairly certain that my lavender ‘hidcote’ is not coming back this year.

    Cheers, Diane

  5. Glad to hear the Caryopteris and Adonis Blue made it – the butterflies and bees will be pleased. I have difficulty leaving my garden for just a whole day at this time of year, so I sympathise… you need a couple of webcams set up at various strategic positions so you can log in to check on progress while away! 😉

  6. Glad things weren’t as gloomy as you thought. Sometimes plants come back from the base too so even some of your other plants might survive. I hate leaving the garden when it is performing at its peak, being away in August is probably the best as then I don’t see everything suffering from the drought.

  7. Hurrah! I haven’t anyone to look after my garden whilst we are away, the children in their 20’s water in a fashion, so careful planning is needed. Although a mild winter here I have lost several perennials mainly to voles and my stupid digging blitz on ground elder which resulted in some plants being lost too!

  8. It is hard to leave your garden at a critical time like spring. I have some traveling to do in June, but I think it is easier to be away then as opposed to now when the garden is just getting established. I love the species tulips in the last post by the way. Must add some this fall.

  9. Maybe you could consider marketing the “Stare of Life” glasses for those of us optically challenged gardeners? I, like some of your other gardening minions, find “the stare of life” a possible valuable new tool for our gardening war chests.

    As you know, I spent the six (brutal) winter months sequestered from my garden. It is difficult then; now I think it would be too harsh! I hope this has nothing to do with your recent medical situation and you are still recovering.

    I would recommend purchasing a brand new gardening book to take with you, maybe something by Val Easton or Richard Dake? And of course, adopt and take in as many gardens as you come across as possible. (Knock on doors, if you have too! Ask to see the garden! You know how gardeners are!) And of course, attempt to pretend you are on a plant safari and collect specimens or seeds if possible. The last may be difficult if you have a need to travel light, of course.

  10. Every time I passed my Caryopteris, I would send a Message of Life from mine to yours to revive! Revive and live! Guess it worked. And yes, May trips are always tough, mostly because of the risk of missing peony blooms.

  11. I hope you’re at least going somewhere good!? It kills me at this time if year when I have late work days and other obligations tying me up. Apparently getting outdoors for spring involves things other than gardening, such as birthday parties and t-ball games. Whatever happened to people sitting home in front of the tv and not bothering me?

  12. What a horrible time in the garden to be gone for so long. I hate to say it, but you are going to miss a lot. Is Judy staying home, or is she coming with you? I’m just wondering if she can at least take pictures. I’m going to have to be gone for a little over a week in July. My main concern then is that things won’t get watered. Our winter/spring rains will have shut off completely by then, and they are predicting a hot summer for us. I bought a couple of digital timers, which I’m going to use on a couple of areas that I’m most concerned about. But I fear that I am definitely going to lose some plants.

  13. So the Stare of life really works does it? Does that mean you haven’ t been applying it to your Cornus Florida? It is very difficult to leave the garden, specially at this time of the year. I love that Peony. I hope you will be back in time to catch it. Go and glare at it crossly, that might slow it down a bit.

  14. It is hard to leave a garden but one thing that is nice is seeing how fast everything can grow in my absence. I think some plants actually shy away from my ‘stare of life.’ Don’t give up hope on your plants just yet. I once had a duranta that I was sure was dead but it finally leafed out in MAY when things here usually come to life in March.

  15. What an enjoyable post. I can relate to the disappointment of not buying new plants. I have added several new plants this year and really enjoy the planning/executing part. My wallet is grateful to be finished for the season, however. I am planning my watering for June as I expect to be traveling nearly every week it is 56 here and rainy today ( unusual) but yesterday was 89. June can be very hot and I hate to be away at that time

  16. I love the Stare of Life. I’ve been doing that a bit lately as well. I wish my grasses that I think are lost would decide quickly so I can get something better in their place. I think I’ll be disappointed if they suddenly come to life. I’m also staring at one of 2 lavender plants. It has 2 more days to shows some signs of life or out it goes. At least it looks cool and wet while you’re gone so everything should be fine. The trees may surprise you yet, some of my things are just now budding. The upside of this crazy weather is things seems to be holding their blooms a little longer in this weather. Have a good trip!

  17. I’m glad your plants are coming back. Yes, it’s tough to leave the garden sometimes. It’s part of the reason I don’t like to leave Wisconsin in May … and also because it’s such a beautiful time of year here. Sorry about the Flowering Dogwood — I hope it comes back for you soon!

  18. I’m so happy that some have decided to return to this life! It’s an awful thing having to leave the garden at this time of year but I have to leave regularly and the most troublesome worry is whether Rudolf is going to eat my roses…

  19. I’m glad some of your trees are alive, Jason. I think you will see your garden in good health when you return, and the peony are well too. I had some dead plants as well, for example my rose ‘Waltz’ was completely dead.

  20. Well I have my fingers crossed that more plants pull through! I was smiling at you being disappointed re not being able to buy more plants!!! I hate leaving my garden, especially when things don’t last very long. Hopefully pictures will be taken for you to

  21. I thought one of my ‘Betty Corning’ clematis was kaput, but it is showing signs of life. Like you, I’m a little disappointed as I thought of LOTS of replacement possibilities. Two of my *brand new* blueberry plants look dead, but they are late-bearing, so I will wait before complaining to Stark Bros. The Rose-of-Sharon always tries my patience – last to leaf out.

  22. So glad to hear about your caryopteris – mine is a golden variety and it finally, finally started leafing out on May 12th. I was beginning to panic, too.
    My serviceberry has thrown me into a tizzy this year by not blooming in April when it should have, and finally getting leaves just this week along with only 3 scant bloom clusters.
    Ditto with my mountain ash – leafing out simultaneously with late blooms, and very scant.
    I blame it on a terrible, terrible winter and late, screwy spring.

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