Sunday, September 9, 2007

Plant the Crap Wherever and Pray

That's what every website and plant tag should say. Seriously. My lord. You buy a plant, and most people just do what the tag says. My thinking is that's not smart. You don't spend on average of $15 and just follow the tag. You Google it. Everybody should Google (sicko).

Of course, then you find out that, oh, let's say, you're sedum album coral carpet is a zone 6, no wait, it's a zone 4. Then, well, it's green. No, not really, it's also coral red, but only when it gets cold. But then, wait, also when it gets hot. Or, no, when it gets too much water since sedum likes it bone dry 90% of the time. But wait, not just red when stressed, but red in poor soil, like my clay. Wait. Wait. Now it's red ALL the time even though my 36 little multi pack plants are green. WTF. Honestly.

This happens with almost everything I research, thinking that if I put the right plant in the right spot I'll have an improved chance of seeing it next April. Does anyone actually grow, engineer, monitor, or in any way OBSERVE over several seasons and with multiple variables what these plants do? Are there ANY standards? "Geeze, look, a new cultivar. Get it out to all the nurseries ASAP and make it cost a few bucks more. What? I don't know how it best grows. Here. Use my wheel of horticulture I spent three years designing. Neat, huh? Lights up and makes noises, too." Sincerely some dork face in a greenhouse lab.

4 comments:

Nan said...

Hey now, Benjamin; you need to be careful saying stuff like this! Sure, it's the truth, but it goes against the common "wisdom" that gardening is supposed to be fun and easy. Suggesting that folks ought to actually do some research, or--gasp--just *plant* something and observe it for themselves, is darn close to heresy, you know. (Not to mention that it would put a whole lot of garden writers out of work....)

Benjamin Vogt said...

Nan, thanks for your note. I'm quite heretical, though, in a lot of things (though I often don't speak my mind openly). I'm certainly no gardening pro here--that's my preface as a newbie to both my very young garden and blog. But I believe nothing worthwhile is easy: writing, loving, gardening. It's the process--so when I think of garden writers who are helpful, dare I say good and meaningful, I think of those who show the journey via tribulations and successes, failures and joys; those writers who include the reflective emotions along with the practical advise. Creating a garden isn't about the garden. That's the metaphorical poet in me talking. But maybe your note was tongue in cheek, too?

Nan said...

Oh, yes--tongue planted firmly in cheek! I am ceaselessly amazed by people who feel that it's their right to have a lush, beautiful, problem-free garden with no significant emotional investment; that it should be that way just because they want it to be. Those same people wouldn't expect to be able to dance or sing or paint without spending years of sweating and struggling in training and practicing their craft...or heck, maybe they would. How else to explain the allure of American Idol?

Anyway, keep up with the heresy and all the rest. I enjoy reading your posts.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Ah. American Idol. Don't get me started on THAT....