Tag Archive | garden

Seven Years and Two Transplants Later . . . .

The duchess with her friend Queen Victoria.

The duchess with her cousin, Queen Victoria.

Some of my friends believe I have a low-level sanity problem. They are probably right.   Truth to tell, it’s probably worse than they imagine.

Seven years ago, I was given five Duchesse de Nemours peonies as a Christmas gift. I  kept them in pots on a patio. They greened up, but didn’t bloom.

The second year, I moved them all to semi-shaded spot in the back garden. But one died of pot to garden transplanting.  The third year all four sprouted. But as mine is not a peony friendly climate; two died off of heat prostration and the other two greened but never flowered.

The fourth year, the two came up again. But again they did not flower. The fifth year only one came up. I tented it, to keep it from the extreme heat, I watered religiously, and though it survived got a bit bushy, it didn’t bloom.

The sixth year, I discovered peonies did not like afternoon sun (thank you, P Allen Smith!), and as I was moving anyway, I dug up my last precious plant and took it with me.

(Anyone who tells you bloom where you’re planted is a complete moron. You bloom where conditions are right or you never do. So if conditions are not right, you must transplant yourself! Duh.)

This time I placed it in the morning sun, with perfect peony conditions. It survived the very late season transplanting, doubled in size, but eventually died back without flowering.

And now it is year seven. I have just discovered my duchess sprouting up again. And I am hopeful for a blossom this year, perhaps in May or June.

I know not many people would wait seven years (or more) for a single blossom. But that’s who I am. I don’t give up on things I love. Not ever. I have infinite faith, infinite patience, infinite endurance.

I suppose it does sound odd, especially coming from me. But if you’d ever seen the Duchesse or even caught a whiff of her scent in passing, you’d understand. Some things are worth all the bother . . . now that sounds like me!


Today I killed a Bonsai.

For reasons I don’t quite understand, my bonsai died, though, I doubt it was the *peep’s fault. One day I walked out and the top third was all rust color. Then a few days later, the middle turned. Then at last the bottom turned, and it was gone.

The tree had always been cared for in the proper manner. It was 4 when I recieved it, and about 16 when it died. It was given to me one Christmas by 2 friends, one of whom died the following spring.

I must confess I felt a certain obligation  to keep it alive, as if the friendship was continuing through the little tree. In time the other friend moved away. After about 5 years, we lost contact. It’s over 2 since there’s been a text or tweet or any sign of life.

As I looked at the tree last night, I thought, why am I hanging on to something that’s dead? And so I went to the market and picked up some cheap and cheerful potted plants –a  miniature red rose, two persian violets, and an orange begonia — to which I  have no attachment.

This morning I plucked the dead tree from its pot (which I am keeping) and threw it out. I repotted my 99 cent flowering plants and stuck them on the bench where my bonsai had been. I felt amazingly better.

Every time I look out my kitchen window and see those happy living things between the two chaise lounges on the back porch, I think of all the good times with good friends that I’m going to have, not of the good friends I’ve lost over time.

I think we often hang on to dead things in our lives, not realizing we ought to let go. I think I’m going to be throwing out a lot of things this week. And then I’m going to invite some friends for champagne and seafood in my newly perfumed garden.

*The peep continues to reside al fresco, under the rosebush.