That wasn’t smart 5.0

I’ve been neglecting my ongoing series regarding the stupid moves which I perpetrate in the garden, and trust me it hasn’t been because of a lack of material.

The blue poppy (Meconopsis species) is a nearly legendary sky blue flower from the heights of the Himalayas, and their amazingly perfect blooms have lured many a gardener (and photographer) into an awkwardly greedy and covetous state.  The blue flowers are also well known for their difficult and fickle nature outside of any region where the thermometer rises above 80F (26.5C) and summers take on a more serious tone.  Here in my Pennsylvania garden the thermometer has been going well over 90F this month, and I don’t know why I didn’t see this coming back in December when I ordered the seeds… or back in February when they were sown… or now when my last seedling is wasting away to nothing.

meconopsis seedling

Go to the light little poppy.  You’ve put up a valiant struggle.

I briefly debated placing a window unit air conditioner into one of the workshop windows and seeing just how long I could drag this out but then finally came to my senses.  I’m sure I can kill other plants just as easily with far less trouble, so until I move North or become insanely rich I think I’ll pass on the next seed offer.  Fortunately this latest stupid move didn’t involve blood and from now on I suppose I’ll keep myself happy enjoying them via Pauline blogging about the ones in her Devon England garden (I believe they’re practically weeds for her) or just enjoying the ones Longwood Gardens forces into bloom each spring.

So a lesson learned is a lesson learned, and on today’s trip to the nursery I picked up something far more sensible.  Under “Growing Conditions” it’s as easy as part sun, plant 24″ apart, so I’m sure my new Australian Tree Fern will be no problem at all.  Later on I’ll just have to figure out what to do with the “reaches 20 feet tall, up to 10 foot long fronds”.

Australian tree fern

Even a 10 year old can see there are too many plants on this deck, he told me last week.

We will see where this goes, but in the meantime have a great week, and may all your decisions be sensible and well thought out 🙂

20 comments on “That wasn’t smart 5.0

  1. Christina says:

    Isn’t the tree fern rather tender for your climate? It can you keep moving it inside each winter.

    • bittster says:

      The tree fern is absolutely tender here and will need a good spot indoors to survive the winter. Trust me it should have plenty of company since I’m always adding way too many new tropicals plus all the old ones grow much larger each summer.

  2. Pauline says:

    I wish Meconopsis did grow like weeds for me, our problem is too much rain in the winter when they like to be dry! But as they are so beautiful, I keep trying. Good luck with your tree fern!

    • bittster says:

      Your poppies are always such a sight, I hope they continue to do well even If they’re not entirely happy.
      My fingers are crossed for the tree fern. I know nothing about it other than I needed to buy one 🙂

  3. Peter/Outlaw says:

    You could always move to the Pacific Northwest! When they’re happy here, they’re very happy. They also seem to love it in parts of Alaska where I saw them growing in swoon-worthy profusion. When smitten by a plant, one seldom makes decisions that are sensible and well thought out!

    • bittster says:

      I never judge others for the plants they buy. I have such a record of bad decisions I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on!
      I guess as long as we’re dreaming here I think a small island or spit of land into the ocean would be as good a place as any to grow perfect poppies. I would think they’d love the fog and breezes, although I’m not sure how they would feel about salt spray.
      I’m picturing it now, a bed of blue poppies and a bright white picket fence. You don’t see that every day 🙂

  4. Cathy says:

    Ha ha! Sensible decisions are for the unadventurous, and now you can say you have at least given the Meconopsis a try. I don’t think I would like your climate much either… our heat is bad enough. 😉

    • bittster says:

      I like the “adventurous” label. So unlike me as I ferry the kids to and from games and birthday parties in our generically sensible mini-van. I guess I shall live the wild life in my garden 😉

  5. They’re not stupid moves, silly, they’re OPTIMISTIC! Good luck with that tree fern–I’m interested to hear what your wife thinks about the 20 ft. tall potential!!! (Surely it won’t get there THIS year!) Also, please tell me whether I should cut off the one large, quite bleached out leaf of the Elephant Ear you gave me, and whether I should move the plant to a less sunny location.

    • bittster says:

      My wife will never need to know about the mature height of the fern. Chanced are it will not live to see 3 feet let alone 20!
      I sent an email but I’ll say it again, cut the leaf off! -but I think the spot is fine. Mine are in full sun, and as long as they have plenty of fertilizer and a decent amount of water they’re good to go. I don’t think you can overfeed these things!

      • Yes, I saw the email, but just haven’t had a chance to respond yet. I’m going to put the gloves on and cut that stalk today! Also, I have some of those slow release fertilizer sticks for house plants. I think I’ll give it one! I do give it a lot of water! Hey, have fun in the Sunshine State!

  6. Alain says:

    I suppose we all try Meconopsis, at least once, even when we know they will not like hot summers. It is funny how you can forget what is not convenient to remember.

    • bittster says:

      There’s a good chance meconopsis will be grown here again. They survived far longer than I ever thought they would… and I never thought the seed would germinate in the first place, so dare I say there might have been a few bits of success here and there!

  7. I can’t remember if you ever read the weekly postings from the Scottish Rock Garden club. Meconopsis and every lust-worthy plant beautifully grown. And the hybridizing and seeds etc. I just enjoy it like a work of fiction. In the dumb dept. I just went to move my huge Dahlia which is in a pot to a brighter spot. Lifted it up without thinking there were branches above me as I heard the biggest bud snap off as it hit a branch. Lesson learned.

    • bittster says:

      I was addicted to the SRGC forum and Ian Young’s bulb log for years and it was quite a surprise to realize I nearly went a month without checking it. Of course I visited immediately, but usually I’m right there on the day the bulb log is published 🙂
      Sorry about the dahlia. I usually do the same thing with iris except it’s usually my end which comes down and does the snapping off of buds…

  8. You mean like the “sensible and well thought out” decision I made in 2009 when my favorite local nursery held a going-out-of-business sale and I was able to actually justify buying a 3-ft tall Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) to plant in a mixed border within a 1/2-acre plot?

    The new owners of my former house probably have no clue what it is……

    • bittster says:

      Hmmm. My plot isn’t all that much larger, and I have the redwood as well. Sometimes you need to live on the edge and I’m of the belief that the danger of large trees on small lots is very overrated.. now as far as shade, that’s a different story. I love having full sun here (until all those other tree seedlings start to put on some weight!)

  9. karen says:

    I”m afraid all my gardening decisions are not always sensible. Despite being a rather boring, sensible person in all other aspects of my life, for some reason I just go slightly mad when I see a plant totally unsuited to my temperature/ soil conditions/ abilities to nurture. I must have wasted a small fortune of seeds and little plants that have just shrivelled and died. It must be the optimist in us all 🙂

    • bittster says:

      I think nearly all gardeners who last are optimists. Anyone else would throw the towel in and call it a day a dozen times before August rolls around.
      I made several more mistakes this afternoon. I had been good for a while but just picked up another rather costly mistake 🙂

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