I stood in front of my two “indestructible” ice plants and considered.
They were badly wilted. Dying. Holy crap. I bought these because they were supposed to be un-killable.
Not at my house, apparently.
The lady at the garden shop had admonished me NOT to water them as the roots had to go seeking.
Apparently they did, and didn’t find much. That despite the fact that I had indeed watered them, as well as followed my planting steps to the letter, including that big fat bag of expensive Colorado-specific compost.
At the back of the rock garden, my newly planted, guaranteed-to-live-two- years and VERY expensive forsythia plant had crisped new growth, the leaves drooping badly.
It had been in my garden for…..four days.
The Homicides Spread
I walked out front to visit the once-tall, happy, orange flower thingie for which I have no name. She was also leaning over badly, drooping, dying.
I’d bought every single one of these plants based on the weather that is coming, not what we’ve had for centuries. Colorado is getting right damned hot. By mid-century this part of the American West is likely to look a great deal like the OK Corral.
Some numbnut moron was in an elevator with me once and I made the comment about the changing weather. He stated flatly that I had no clue what I was talking about. Well of course not. What are forty years of observation of changing weather patterns, increasing heat, longer summers and very brief autumns traded off for hot-as-hell Septembers and early Octobers? I recall being able to wear over-the-knee boots in September when I first got here. Now that has to wait until November. Hotter? Naw. I just spent my entire adult life here. Come from a farming background where we studied the weather because we had to. Am a pilot who also studied weather, clouds and weather patterns. What the hell do I know? The difference between a cumulonimbus and a cumulative numbnuts, that’s what. Idiot. But I digress.
As in today, one hundred four degrees. Several days in a row now.
Of course that was after a rainy weekend in the sixties, which is coming again this weekend. No wonder my plants are giving me the stinkeye.
Hotter and hotter, drier and drier, but with classic Colorado burps into the sixties. Just not long enough. Mostly, just like Arizona. I’m planting for Arizona.
Sh*t. Maybe I should invest in a few Saguaro cactus.
Yet even my Arizona-loving plants are not exactly having a party in my yard.
So I padded out in my jammies and turned on the water, worked out all the kinks from my very expensive guaranteed-not-to-kink-hose, and commenced to stand in bemusement while I flooded the forsythia and splashed the wilted ice plants.
Then I slopped out (socks tend to soak up garden hose runoff) to the driveway where my tall orange flower thingie was hanging its poor head. I ran a spring shower of water on her, and onto her roots. Remarkably, all the ice plants next to her were blooming and thriving, all having been planted at the same time.
I have absolutely no idea what’s going on here.
I called the garden company and was referred to the “plant doctor.”
He quizzed me on what I had for soil.
“Dirt,” I said.
“Well, is it dirt or sand?” he pressed.
“What the hell is the difference?” I asked, facing a nearly one-hundred-dollar plus plant loss, plus all the time and effort I had invested in planting all last weekend, which had caused my healing rotator cuff to scream in agony by nightfall.
He went on to describe the difference with all the authority of One Who Knows and is trying to educate the Great Unwashed.
I listened, feeling stupid (I’m sure that was the desired effect). I still have no clue about the difference.
After I had him listen to my crushing the crunchy, dry, new growth leaves from my wilting forsythia next to the phone, he admitted to me that he had no idea how to help me.
“But when you picked up the phone, you said you were the plant doctor,” I pointed out. Careful what you claim, I’m thinking. I may not know dirt from dysentery but I damned sure heard what you called yourself, Mr. Know-It-All-But Not-THIS-Problem “Plant Doctor.”
“Well I just can’t help you,” he said. “You need to bring us a soil sample. You’ll have to talk to Jeff. He’s out ‘til Friday.”
In other words I am talking to Plant Intern. He can carve up a cadaver but not tell you how it got dead. Great.
Two more days. I’ll be conducting funeral proceedings by then.
I would like to do to that so called “plant doctor” whatever the sun has done to my expensive new plants. Perhaps a little first-hand experience might increase both his wisdom and his patience. In other words, kill off the “Plant Doctor” with the same skill I’m wiping out my new family members.
I padded wetly back outside, leaving wet sock footprints in the kitchen.
As the sun rose, and so did the remarkable temps I noticed that my forsythia, my struggling ice plants and the orange thingie were all holding up signs.
“TAKE US BACK”
If plants can stage a strike, this would be it. I hardly blame them.
As soon as I padded damply back into the house, I noticed that they had all reversed their signs so that passersby could see them:
“HELP! HELP! SHE’S KILLING US!”
I padded back outside and turned the hose back on. Including on my jammies. Might as well give the neighbors something to talk about.