I’m really missing the days of untrammelled plant acquisitiveness. They were the glory days – that period of time when I lived in one big happy world of new and interesting plants – all of which had to be purchased and trialled.
I’m just way too sensible about it all now. No, it’s not sensible, as such. It’s a new place – a place in which plants aren’t so much enjoyed for themselves, as what they contribute to the larger scheme. I don’t think there’s been a net passion loss. The passion has moved to other things.
This must be due, at least partly, to the guilt of having killed way too many of my impulsive purchases. They’d sit around in their pots for a year or two, and that would mean almost certain (but probably slow and painful) death for any plants in my care. I’m in awe of friends of mine who keep a huge collection of plants in pots and never – and I really mean never – overlook their need for water.
I’ve come to see that the non-planting of my plants was never about laziness. It was always (well nearly always) a result of not having an appropriate spot in the garden to put them. They shouldn’t have been purchased in the first place. And when I say that there wasn’t a spot, I don’t mean that there wasn’t any room for them, as you can nearly always find room for anything you can’t live without. The challenge is providing a suitable context. The fact is that I’m never likely to have a rock garden (though as I write, and start to wonder…why not?), and there’s so many diminutive alpines and bulbs that simply have no other place to go. They’re not at all cut out for the rough and tumble of garden-life around here, being bullied by the explosive growth of nearby grasses that go from ground level to three or four metres in a couple of months.
Nor is there likely to be a good place for any really large shrubs or trees that take my fancy.
So you see the problem. You’re probably facing it yourself.
But I really miss those days of irresponsible, irrepressible plant lust.