It didn’t just die… You fucking killed it. ~ Edition #001

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the remark below, I would be retired by now. I wouldn’t be writing this blog post, I’d be shopping or sleeping in the middle of the day or whatever else extremely wealthy people do with their time. Basically, I’d be really, really rich.

OK – here’s the remark:

“It just died.”

But it’s never simply, “It just died”. It always comes with a parenthetical indignant face and flippant mannerism. An honest question, concern or interest in knowing why plants behave a certain way, doesn’t bring out a fiery rage from hell in me – but this phrase, in this inflection, is what a therapist would called a trigger for me. For any gardener, really. Who wants plants to die? Definitely not the people who give them to you, or who work hard planting and caring for them in your garden. But plants and gardens take interaction, thoughtfulness and care. It’s alive, it belongs to you, so thus it needs your care – even if it’s only a bit.

But, “it just died”.

My general, albeit mostly-in-my-head-but-sometimes-out-loud response is, “No, you fucking killed it”.

Mostly I can get away with sounding like an asshole with a little wit and a jovial tone of voice, then quickly offering follow up questions with how to solve this statement/question/demand/situation. I haven’t mastered the Dr. Wayne Dyer zen of continually offering help no matter the accusatory attitude being tossed my way. But for now, these episodic blog posts will be a step in that direction. A correction in how to really see your garden and why things sometimes go wrong.

Plants die sometimes. Sometimes we try really, really hard and other times we don’t give a glance in their direction. Either way, here are some tips of how to care for your garden and own it when you are a plant murderer.

Are you a gardener or plant lover? Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Comment below and tell us your tale…

Edition #001 – Echeveria

The Echeveria succulents that line my front garden fence are in a horticultural contrast between happy and not happy. I planted them about 5 years ago (from cuttings and 1 gallons) and since then have taken a ton of cuttings (as have neighborhood plant thieves). Dogs pee on them daily, people pluck chunks from them and half the time, I totally forget to water. If I watered them even a little more consistently (let alone if I ever fertilized), they would be much happier.

What does happy mean? Happy means full, growing, brilliant in color and sturdy in the soil. That’s a happy plant.

Below is a picture I took of happy Echeveria along the fence. Notice how full and bright blue they are.

Now here is another shot, further down the fence. The Agave attenuata start to cover and shade the Echeveria, not allowing as much water to penetrate. You can see how they are starting to look shrunken, duller in color and leggy. You can clearly see that one side is happy and the other is not. The plants on the right side are showing signs of dehydration and looking tattered. The plants on the left are doing pretty well.

The picture below is a good shot of dying Echeveria. They are shriveled up and looking like shit (a technical term).

The good thing is, the ones that look like shit can be saved. I have already cleared the dead leaves off the stems (that’s why the necks look naked) and if I fertilize and soak them, they will fill out like the others. I can’t just water and fertilize once and be done with it. I need to keep the area relatively clean, clear and I need to consistently hand water (with my climate, that’s about once a week for 2 months). Basically, given a little weekly care, these succulents will come back quickly and be hardy again.

dying plants echeveria garden maintenance how to care for your garden In the Garden It just died plant killer succulents

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