It's summer. Already there have been terrible bushfires and some very hot days. I continue my practice of watching, mulching but not watering. If plants die, there's no decision to be made. They just couldn't cut it. Wrong plants for this particular ecosystem, for this particular climate.
|Unimpressive Correa lawrenceana|
The problem is with plants that don't die but don't thrive either. I have to decide how long to wait before I ditch - or rather compost - them. Sometimes it's easy to get rid of them because I'm not particularly attached, but other times it's a wrench because I had great expectations for them.
Near the fig I planted Dodonea viscosa, a Hop Bush from New Zealand with burgundy leaves. Unlike the fig, thankfully they seem to be doing okay in this difficult spot and are growing larger by the day.
It's a very difficult spot. There's a mature wattle growing there. Wattles are not particularly long lived. When this one dies I'll leave it to provide habitat for wildlife. When its roots die maybe the soil will improve ... yes, I know, such sentiments are wildly, naively optimistic...
Another disappointment is the Phlomis italica in the front garden. I fell madly in love with this plant and bought a couple, also about 3 years ago. I thought they would be tough. Admittedly they did not have an ideal start. They got moved around quite a few times before they were given a chance to establish themselves. Maybe they lost their trust and are paying me back. They are now barely larger than when they arrived and they're supposed to grow to a metre. They've never flowered. I'm getting impatient. I know us gardeners are supposed to be patient - so much for stereotypes!
I'm linking this to Beth's Lessons Learned meme in her blog Plant Postings. At the end of each season gardeners all over the world share what they learned. So what did I learn during the last 3 months? I think I learned more about the challenges of garden time and transience. I'm not gardening for now. I'm not into instant gardens. I love it looking 'potential' and watching the vision evolve into the picture I envisaged, or into a different and unexpected picture. But when everything's low and there's not enough height and variety, it's easy to forget that it's all transient and ever changing and it's easy to get discouraged.
So the lesson is: don't forget that nothing lasts. When the garden's looking gorgeous, the gorgeousness soon fades and when it's looking crappy it's only a matter of time before it becomes gorgeous again. Except when it doesn't - as in the case of the fig and the phlomis.