Gardening with Galligan: Sometimes you have to make concessions

CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTO | These are tuberous begonias, happy in my shaded window boxes. They’re wonderful plants, come in many colors and have only one drawback – they’re subject to blight, and the more humid the weather, the greater the risk. This can be forestalled by spraying with an anti-fungicide, but you have to remember to do it.

CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTO | These are tuberous begonias, happy in my shaded window boxes. They’re wonderful plants, come in many colors and have only one drawback – they’re subject to blight, and the more humid the weather, the greater the risk. This can be forestalled by spraying with an anti-fungicide, but you have to remember to do it.

Today’s subject, my fellow gardeners, is compromise; having just sent in my bulb order for this fall and having great difficulty paying the exorbitant amount required for the 100 bulbs I wanted passionately, I was forced to compromise, and I did. Although it was painful. But to begin at the beginning …

I’m heavily into muscari and I recommend them to you. They’re spring bulbs, varying shades of blue from pale through bright through almost-navy, only a few inches high but absolutely wonderful with daffodils and all the other spring bloomers. My current obsession is the one, single muscari that is not blue; it’s pink. Yes, pink. Have I ever actually seen it, other than in pictures? No, I haven’t. But if it looks like its pictures, and I’m convinced that it does, I have to have it. And I know exactly where I want to put 100 of them. On one side of the stretch I walk from where I park my car to my front steps. As in every day. Probably 10 times a day some days.

Muscari are not expensive; in fact, they’re inexpensive. For example, you can have 100 Muscari armeniacum, around for ages, tried and true, for $16.75 from Scheeper’s. Bling Bling, a newer one, an award-winner, a “shiny violet-blue with delicate blue-white rims” at $35.75 for 100. Still, not bad. Guess how much the only pink one costs – for 100. Thirty anything? Forty anything? Fifty, sixty or seventy anything? No. A hundred Muscari, Pink Sunrise costs $126.75. And I’m stuck with having to have it.

So, time for compromise. My first thought was only to buy 50 and I gave that up immediately. If you’re going to have only half of what you want, what’s the point? So, no, it would be 100. Each year I’ve been planting as many daffodils out by the road as I could afford. Guess what had to go.

This year, there would only be 100, and muscari, Pink Sunrise, would be in the driveway, between two large tree trunks. I told myself it was a compromise and then began to think about compromise in general, and was comforted by the thought that not only did gardeners have to compromise, but gardens often did as well.

Take my pyracantha, for example. For years, I had been berry-dependent on two Very Close Friends, one for orange ones in fall, the other for red ones at Christmas. Then one of the VCFs died and the other moved away. Life can be that way. So I bought my own pyracantha and some holly. I knew the pyracantha wouldn’t get the amount of sun that every single book said it had to have. And of course for years, it sulked and came across with only a few handfuls of berries in the fall. They were enough, although barely enough, for my few baskets of fall décor. But I gave it extra food and fed through foliar feeding, i.e. directly onto the leaves, so it didn’t even have to work. Eventually, it accepted the compromise. Finally, with grace. Now, it gives me so many berries, I could actually give some away.

So, there’s most likely a lesson there. Happy summer, my fellow gardeners, the weather seems finally to have turned in our favor! Enjoy these long days and pleasant evenings! We’ll talk again next month.

Comments

comments