Gardening Magazine

Taking What You Are Given

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0

Obnoxiously Nasty Ground
That is a much more appropriate, and entertaining, moniker for this blog than the one I originally crafted three years ago (And let me salute you, Oklahoma Natural Gas, as the original ONG).
I know, I know, I sound like a broken record when I bitch and moan about my soil all the time. There are days when I accept what I have to work with and intend, with true sincerity, to make the most of it. 
And there are the other days when I want to pack up the family and our belongings and get in the car and ignore the wet soil staring at me in my rearview mirror. 
Today fell somewhere in between.
As I walked the grounds looking for any new signs of plant life after this never ending period of cold and rain, I discovered a lot of this:  Taking what you are given
And this:
Taking what you are given
And this:
Taking what you are given
They are all perennials I had planted last fall in hopes they would hold on through the winter and come back to life this spring. I knew these plants were not very wet tolerant, but how can you resist the end of year sales when you can grab these plants as cheap as a $1.99 a piece?  
But as is the case year after year, my wet soil never allowed them to gain their footing and now they are very, very dead. Or maybe they heaved due to the frost/thaw cycle. Either way, they are goners.
You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now but every once in a while, a plant survives against all odds. Like this Amsonia 'Blue Ice':
Taking what you are given  
In fact, six of these survived the wet winter (not too mention the swarms of deer) which serves as yet another reminder to stick with what works. Or I should say, stick with what your conditions allow you to grow successfully.
Speaking of deer (and you knew I was going to go there too), don't plant a bunch of Liriope and expect those darling creatures to ignore them:
Taking what you are given
And don't plant heucheras right in their path and expect them to say "no thanks":
Taking what you are given
Add a redtwig dogwood to that same equation: 
Taking what you are given
I repeatedly smacked myself upside the head as I walked into my garage, trying to determine why I make the same mistakes year after year, when I came upon my most recent plant order that arrived in the mail this week. I took a quick inventory of what I had purchased:
Taking what you are given
Nothing but ornamental grasses and a few boxwoods. Hmmm ...
Maybe I am not too far off.
Maybe I realize what I need to do after all.
Maybe I'm taking this all a bit too seriously.

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