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Gardener's Grapevine 2012.08.29

on . Posted in Gardener's Grapevine

This past week has sure been a busy one. I’m still learning a new computer charting program at work and it has drained my brain every night. Just when I think I’m pretty foxy and have a handle on it, I get thrown a curve ball by the IT trainers. It is a program that builds on itself and is not an easy process. After 25 years of using the same paper charting process, this has been an extreme case of having patience.

Patience is something I struggle with in every aspect of my life. In the gardening world some things give you quick gratification and become large and in charge quickly, at times too quickly. A good example is a plant called liatris. My friend Mary Johnson bought a start of this because she thought it was pretty. The first year it was pretty, the second year it was a huge patch and the third year it went nuts. It came up everywhere.

My aunt planted a ground cover that came up quickly and filled in the space rapidly, choking out everything in its path. It was beautiful when it bloomed, but crazy aggressive. She called it Michigan kudzu.

On the other side of the coin are plants that seem to grow so slowly you’ll be dead a hundred years before they reach full maturity. A prefect example of this is my grandmother Katherine’s Japanese maple tree. She has had this tree in front of her house for probably 10 years and it is only about a foot taller than when she planted it. We were visiting on Saturday and I mentioned how slow it grows and she noted that she did not know it took so long to mature when she bought it.

When purchasing an addition to your property it always behooves you to do a little background on the plant. If the intended use is to hide or cover something quickly you need to make sure what you purchase will do just that. However if you love a plant and it’s a slow grower, plant your landscape around it like my grandma did with her little maple tree. By planning out your landscaping ahead of time you can make sure one plant does not overtake everything and ruin your plans. Also if you choose to plant a prominent tree or bush like a Japanese maple I hope you are a patient person.

My aunt had an interesting butterfly bush that was yellow. I had never seen any color other than purple and thought it was the coolest thing going. Well, I had to run out and find one. I didn’t ask her questions like how fast does it grow, does it like or dislike certain other plants or types of soil. I bought it, brought it home and then decided where to plant it. Apparently one of two things are going on with it as it is not very big after about five years. Either it is a slow grower or it dislikes one of its neighbors. The birds however did plant a butterfly bush near our basement entry that is huge and has the largest flowers I have ever seen on one.

I am not a very patient person, as I said, but in the gardening world you just have to wait and see or do your homework prior to purchasing. Most plants can be thoroughly researched online for no cost. I Google so many things you’d think I’d be a computer pro, until it comes to computer charting. This old dog is learning a new trick and refreshing the use of an old one: patience.

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