A friend and I walked through my backyard the other day and he was horrified to find a series of dead or dying plants in clay pots sitting there. “Why don’t you water them?” were the first words out of his mouth.
I smiled. They did look pretty pathetic. And then I explained. “Anybody can grow great plants. But my readers want to know how tough they are, how much abuse they’ll take so at the end of the growing season, before the frost kills them, I stop watering and do drought testing.”
He was shocked. “But they looked so good. And they were all new varieties.”
Japanese blood grass in a container doesn’t like drought
“Yes, but now I know how to kill them, I can tell folks what not to do. And I can tell them which plants are safe to leave for a weekend and which aren’t,” I said.
He shook his head as deliberately killing plants was not something he’d ever considered. “But wasn’t it tough to watch them die?”
“Nope. After you’ve grown your first million or three, it’s just another plant,” I said.
“How many?” He couldn’t quite get his head around the number.
Multiple containers on drought testing
“Well, think about it. I ran a successful commercial nursery for 25 years and we sold a ton of plants. I’d retail something between 1600-1800 different perennials and 600-800 different annuals every year from 20,000 square feet of retail space. Plus I’d get seed from all over the world and start between 200-300 new and different perennial and annual plants for my trial gardens to see which would grow or take a serious Canadian winter. Over 25 years, that comes out to growing a lot of plants and killing almost as many,” I said.
He was quiet and just looked at me trying to wrap his head around the numbers. “That’s a lot of plants.”
I nodded. “It is indeed. But now you know why I don’t worry if I kill something. In this case, it’s all to helping my readers. In other cases, there’s always a better plant to fill the space.”
“Let’s have a beer. I need watering,” he said.
You can find other notes on my garden blog right here
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