The holiday and Karin Bugge's recent Patch article (Why You Should Plant a Native Garden) inspired me to work in the garden yesterday. I want to create a native plant garden but I've decided not to buy any new plants until I figure out how not to kill the ones I've already got. It gets frustrating--these two thumbs I have, which are the color of pale flesh. The closest they ever get to green is garden envy.
But learning involves making mistakes. Or you could call it failing or, in my case, killing. This all takes a lot of time. It's okay, I'm not going anywhere.
About ten days ago I moved a small, weedy bush to the rear of the yard and transplanted a bougainvillea in its place. The weedy bush was a volunteer--it was kind of ugly and spiny--and despite the nice hole I dug for it and the compost I planted with it, it died. Ungrateful little bush.
I didn't care. What I cared about was the bougainvillea. I moved it from a place where it was getting too much water to the spot vacated by the bush, where it would get good sun and the dry soil it likes. I had read on the web about how to transplant a bougainvillea. I knew it might drop all its leaves.
It did. It died.
Today I dug up the weedy bush and put it in the yard waste bin. I smoothed over the hole with a shovel. A volunteer pumpkin or squash or something is growing there. I watered it. I decided it was best not to transplant it.
Then I went to dig up the bougainvillea. I didn't want to. I felt bad about killing that plant. I don't know why; I can get another bougainvillea. But it seemed like another failure, maybe because it didn't volunteer--because I yanked it from its perfectly nice pot and planted it first in too much shade, then moved it to another place with too much water, then moved it to a third place, stressing the poor thing to death.
I make fun of my garden failures, but honestly I want to be done with them. It's a story I tell about myself: "I'm not good with plants." I don't want it to be true anymore. I'm tired of the emptiness, the lack of life, in our back yard.
I leaned down to pull the dead bougainvillea from the ground. Close up, I saw tiny green buds on its branches.
My bougainvillea is not a failure. I am not a bougainvillea killer. I am one step closer to telling a different story about my garden.
**************************************Susan Campisi found a pair of gorgeous dogs on Saturday. They're at the Pasadena Humane Society, for now. Are they yours? Would you like them to be? Click the link, please, their time may be limited.