I was raised by a gardener. She knew everything about every flower, plant, tree, shrub, and weed. She could tell you that if it said full sun, then it did not mean full “Florida” sun! She knew when to transplant or move to a new location for a plant that wasn’t doing well. She could tell you about the roots, the watering, the trimming, the sunlight, and every other requirement needed to have a happy yard. She talked to her plants. She said they were sad when they were wilted and she would water them and tell them they would be better soon. She planted each flower with love because she believed it would help them grow. I watched her my whole life working in the yard and tending to her plants. Some things I was sure were dead but she would always say wait until spring because it may come back and it usually did. When she trimmed a tree or a flower she would always meticulously go through it. You can’t cut too much of the main part of the plant or it will die. You can’t cut too many branches. You have to go to the little green knob and cut right above that and it will then be ok. It will grow thicker and fuller. When planting you can’t disturb the roots too much but just enough to encourage them to branch out. I loved the plants like the wisteria and the redbud that were all just sticks until the blooms came. The blooms came before the leaves. And my althea that she planted in my yard blooms year round with these carnation looking flowers. The roses, she taught me how to trim at just the right spot to encourage growth and flowering. The hydrangea looks dead all winter. Just a pile of sticks. But blooms the most amazing blue/pink blooms in the spring. You have to plant other plants around the hydrangea so that during the winter you aren’t looking at just sticks. You are looking at other things that are still in bloom or have green. The yard always needed green amongst the dormant and leafless winter plants. I planted my yard the same. In each month something will bloom. An azalea, a camellia, mimosa, one at a time so that there is always something beautiful to look forward to. I look forward to my blooming plants and trees through each month of the year. The gardenias and honeysuckle and jasmine have just finished and now we are on to the crepe myrtles.
Thankfully I planted those perennials that are now considered established plants. They will bloom no matter what I do. My yard has been otherwise neglected for almost 2 years now. The perineals, They have the perfect shade/sun/water ratio so they will be fine.
I recently killed my loropetalum. I cut back too many of the branches. I did angry trimming. I had no strength to be trimming nor had I trimmed anything in years. But this was so overgrown you couldn’t look out the window or see the house number. So I just started cutting until I fell into a heap in the grass. I didn’t follow the rule of cutting down to the little green spot and leaving some leaves. I just started cutting and a few days ago we noticed it was dead. When my husband dug it up it had a good root system but the inside was brown. He transplanted the one I had next to it so it wasn’t so asymmetrical there. He may have cut too many of the roots so I’m not sure if even enough care and water and perfect sunlight will save it. Two new matching loropetalum were planted in their place. I broke all trimming rules and death ensued. Poor loropetalum. I feel sorry for him.Just like my mother would have. He was a beautiful lush plant until I butchered him with trimming shears.
And THAT is EXACTLY how I feel right now!
See that beautiful blooming red bud tree that I have pictured above? I was that tree. But someone started plucking flowers off when I was a little girl. Then a few other people picked off the leaves, some before they could even fully emerge.By the time I was 20 I had been over pruned and under fed. As soon as the new flower bud came, another person picked that one too, petal by petal. Lightning struck a few of the branches when I was 30 and I barely survived. I wasn’t watered enough or spoken to in the kind words to help me feel like I could be strong again. I got butchered.
Butchered by person after person who decided to take a little piece. Whether they did it to look at what was pretty and put it in a vase or wack it back out of anger. It was still butchered. I was a beautiful red bud once. I still have some roots. Hopefully they are not too damaged by the constant rocking of the passerbys. I have a few green leaves trying to reach to the sunlight.
I don’t want to be transplanted loropetalum with the weakened roots. Just a waiting to see if next spring a leaf will rise. But my branches have been broken off too far. I definitely have not received enough sunlight. I feel like the sticks of the redbud, waiting for spring. Waiting for that first bloom.
Hoping that life has not butchered me too badly for one petal to emerge.