Beautiful but Tough

    My Echinacea Purpura wilting in extreme heat in spring.

Problem – it’s not quite summer, but with all this climate changing going on, who can predict or work with what we always knew? Being it’s still spring, logically we can still plant some perennials without the consequences, but now the point in time where the weather will not, I repeat—will not—cooperate, how do you handle a late-spring sale at your favorite garden center!

I had the urge to buy a couple of echnicea after the classic turning point of early spring, and put them/him/her in my perennial areas in my front yard. it got hot. it got so hot that I couldn’t go outside to see what was happening with the new additions to my garden.

Revived plant after multiple watering and application of some mulch around the stem.

Echinacea is one of those items that are necessary for wildlefe, i.e., bugs and butterflies and even gnats or whatever tiny thing, to replicate what they have evolved to exploit. So I felt an urge to replenish this little ecosystem in the earth I am empowered to steward.

Hence my new planting! But all is not well in my so-called paradise. Come a heat wave, rolling in from the south, with no relief in sight at least for the wary, and certainly for me with my oh so refusal to sweat even a little bit.

So this heat wave comes in, and I notice that I have a drooping echinacea on my hands.This is a plant, mind you, that actually enjoys full sun, an exposure that grants it lots of the bright light that our sun is capable of well, in full summer. But it’s only spring, and the roots of my plants haven’t even figured out where they are!

So, here is the solution. water, water, water. And mulch, if late, actually saved the day. Some grass clippings which ordinarily are verboten because of their spewing of nitrogenic-ness into the area of the roots, didn’t make a big difference. After all, we’re talking echinacea here. A tough, really tough, yet beautiful addition to your native perennials. 

Just like the saying – when the going gets tough, the tough get going…well consider this. You are the provider of the salvation that has been granted this plant during difficult times. Adjustment to any environment is not easy. But, with some hand-holding, i.e., watering and mulching and careful monitoring of the existing conditions, the plant is better off. And it’s all because of you, The gardener.

And this care will not only make it thrive, and be the type of perennial that gives not only succor to the wildlife/biomass/bugs and butterflies that love it, but to you. When you see how you have helped to nurture and protect this life-form, you will be the better. You have promoted the success of this living thing, and in turn, it will provide honey and shelter for countless unseen life. You may never see all the benefits you have provided, but they are there, and the blessing you have called in is far greater than the worry over watering, timing, pest control, garden management. it’s all copacetic.

So, the garden, as in life, needs to be resilient. But I  do think that having friends, family and supporters make it a lot easier to navigate the drought, heat and other unpleasant side effects of situations we find ourselves in. With an acknowledgement of the gratitude we feel for those who have helped us through a drought, a period without moisture, without inspiration or hope, we appreciate all the watering/nurturing/sustenance we get from those who care, whether it’s the gardener or a friend, it’s a part of our experience in life, and for that we are grateful.

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