Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Many Happy Returns July 31, 2010

Did you ever give up on a plant and find that, despite being left for dead, it pulled a Lazarus and came back to the land of the living? I had two such pleasant surprises in my garden this week.

I managed to resist the Phormium craze for ten solid years of gardening; then I saw ‘Sundowner’ and my resolve gave way. When I planted it (as well as about $75 of trailing Rosemary to replace a huge stretch that had died of frost), I reasoned that no winter could be as cold and harsh as the one we had just endured. Ha.

Of course I was wrong about the winter, and thought the poor flax had been a casualty along with the rosemary, the new plants of which all croaked. Then, this week, I noticed signs of life and growth:

Struggling flax

Sometimes, the whole “wait until June” thing is right, only it should be “late July” instead! Maybe we will have a “normal” winter this year and it can establish itself a little better. Well, a gal can always dream!

Another one I thought was gone for good after one happy summer was Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Rainbow.’ I was super bummed, I really liked that gaudy plant with the silly name. But as spring turned to summer, its spot remained empty and I gave up.

But then, about two feet away in my daughter’s veggie patch in the parking strip, looky here:

Gaura volunteer?

Could it be?? I had thought this plant was cold-hardy but maybe it’s not. Or maybe it died for some other reason. In any case, I’m happy to see it has given itself another chance at life in my garden.

Any cases of “oh no, it’s gone… wait, wait, it’s back!” in your garden this season?


8 Responses to “Many Happy Returns”

  1. Yep…some successes and some failures. Guess it will always be so.
    Wanted to let you know that the homes and gardens section of The Oregonian featured three parking strip gardens last Thursday. I think you can access the article online.

  2. Jen Says:

    I love when that happens. The happy surprises. This year I saw a strange weed in my flower patch and something told me not to pull it. Low and behold, some of the seeds from my purple pincushion flower must have floated down there from my deck, and it’s blooming now. Sometimes good to take the “wait and see” approach.

  3. Aerie-el Says:

    What a great surprise! I’m a big fan of ‘wait and see’. After doing so recently, I ‘discovered’ plants whose seeds I had forgotten I had sown!

  4. Sadly, I’m unblessed with surprise survivors this year. The past winter was even harder on my garden than the winter of 2008-2009. But I keep planting and replanting the things I want in my garden. Third time lucky?

  5. First week of August I discovered 3 small Colocasia leaves emerging from different plants. August!? Well I thought they were dead so I’ll take August over never. I’m with you…maybe a “winter-lite” will allow all of these struggling to hang on plants to come back strong. We deserve it!

  6. Racquel Says:

    I’ve experienced that so many times it’s not funny. Glad to see your Flax survived, congrats! 🙂

  7. Grace Says:

    My phormiums all gave up the ghost. I’m happy to see yours alive and kicking.

  8. Scott Says:

    Ha…totally, happens to me all the time…usually, though, it’s just me being impatient and forgetting how late some plants break dormancy. This year it was my Purple-leaved Grape Vine, which didn’t emerge until almost July. I was pretty sure it was a goner and had already picked out a replacement when I realized it had FINALLY put out some growth…live and learn 😉

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