Well, chalk up another one in the ‘Dead as a Doornail’ column for me. Daisies, hale and hearty just last summer – they never had a chance, poor bastards. They are, however, in good company. Whether perennials, annuals, succulents, shade-seekers, sun-bathers, dry climate or moisture-lovers, it matters not – I have left a trail of withered flora in my wake, stretching from the Midwest all the way to the Front Range. In gardening circles I go by the nickname “Agent Orange.” If there were a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants, I’d have been dragged off amidst outraged public excoriation long ago.
For further proof, I present you with my Russian sage – a favorite here in the Centennial State, there is hardly a yard you will pass that doesn’t feature these thick, perfectly symmetrical bushes tipped in delicate violet flowers that reach out and up toward the heavens. From the CSU Extension website: Russian Sage is a plant that was tailor-made for Colorado’s climate and growing conditions. An import from central Asia, Russian sage thrives in our high, dry climate, bright sunshine and alkaline soils.
Obviously, they don’t know who they’re dealing with. That’s mine on the right, in case there’s any confusion.
Lest you doubt my deadly powers, here are a few more examples. My euonymus is going on its third summer…
And this cluster of twigs…
…is all that’s left of a spirea bush that simply lost the will to live.
And while I know many of you would offer well-intentioned advice, suggestions on what I might do differently or tips that yield spectacular results in your garden, they are all for naught. After decades of spreading slow death like some botanical grim reaper, I have come to the realization that gardeners are born, not made.
One might think that, with such a track record, I would be happy about any form of plant life that could thrive in my presence. One would be wrong.
There is a lone tree in my front yard, an evergreen of some sort, and it is the bane of every mowing day. It not only disrupts my rhythm, it openly mocks me, dropping dozens of pine cones that – if I don’t rake them up first – explode in the blades of my mower to send shrapnel spraying every which-way across the lawn. The branches extend from the trunk in great upward arcs, the lowest of them guarding the grass in a 5-foot radius at its base, while those above gleefully slap me in the face with every pass. To mow around it is, I imagine, similar to wrestling a hydra with only one hand.
Look, I’m no lawn nazi, like those guys who cut their grass in a cross-hatch pattern – at precise 45-degree angles – so that when they’re done it looks like the outfield at Fenway Park. Me, I just want to get around the yard without slicing off a sprinkler head or stepping in a dog turd. But this foe has turned a mundane task into a WWE bout. It has to go. I’m thinking some dead hydrangeas would look lovely in its place.
Photo of ‘normal’ Russian Sage compliments of cherrygal.com, all others by Agent Orange.