A few weeks ago I asked my facebook friends what I should plant in our backyard. We have a sunny backyard with a tall privacy fence and patchy grass. It resembles a prison yard. The kids have been known to fashion shivs out of their plastic shovels. Sometimes I catch them dragging sticks along the fenceline, singing “Nobody knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”. It’s pretty depressing.
I thought I would try to soften up the appearance of the old prison yard. You know, add some color and break up the view of that tall fence. I wanted to start with one big plant and then add more over time.
When I asked on facebook, I specified that I usually kill plants, so what I plant needs to be hardy and able to withstand abuse. I got a few votes for a butterfly bush, which seemed perfect. Butterflies! Purple flowers! What else could you want in a plant?
So off I went to Lowes, where the associate there was very knowledgable and assured me that the butterfly bush will be an endurance plant, once established. He repeated the phrase “once established” several times as we talked, and told me what I needed to do to get it “established”. He had full confidence in this plant working for me, ONCE ESTABLISHED.
Established. Got it.
I followed his directions to the letter. I dug the hole, added manure and compost, and planted my little guy. I watered with a “pencil-thin” stream of water for an hour, every other day. Less when a big rainstorm passed through.
This is what we’re looking at now.
This confirms my suspicions about me and plants. I have lost my desire to carry on with planting things, since the first thing I tried to ESTABLISH was a dismal failure. I feel resigned to the prison yard. Scrubby grass? Dead plant in the corner? Who cares.
Should I persevere? Try to bring this thing back from the dead? Or just accept my black thumb and turn my attention elsewhere? Maybe there’s a market for kid-made shivs on etsy.