Report From PIA – October 14
Yesterday I wrote about endings and beginnings, and today this subject is right in my face. A frost is predicted tonight, and until this afternoon, I hadn’t yet brought all of my plants inside. So I scrambled around looking for the saucers – why don’t I clean these in the spring when I put the plants outside? – and to find places to put these plants for the winter. Once again, I have greenhouse envy.
Finding places for all of the orchids, epiphyllums, tropical’s and houseplants that went to summer camp is a challenge. But sometimes it’s even more of a trial to decide what stays outside. Not every plant can be saved.
For some, it’s almost impossible to let a plant die. “It’s living!” they’ll say, or, “But it’s looking so beautiful.” Yes, but sometimes it’s appropriate that plants look beautiful, and live outdoors, in the summer only.
I know that it’s hard to admit that we can’t save everything. To be more complete, we can’t save everything or everyone. I once asked my friend Ellen B, who is both a teacher and a gardener, if there were any parallels between those two jobs. She said something like this: “We need to acknowledge that there are some things that we just can’t grow.”
I love you, Ellen, and I couldn’t have said it better. We can’t change people who don’t want to change, we can’t help all the people we wish we could, we can’t always accomplish what we’d like to and we can’t keep every plant alive.
The tricky thing is first acknowledging that this is true, and then stealing ourselves to act on that knowledge. We need to remain vigilant, willing and optimistic, but set realistic priorities.