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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – September 7

How long do you give a plant to truly show what it can do? For that matter, how long do you give other people or yourself? Plants are easier, but people are tricky.

Most of us are familiar with the “First year sleep, second year creep, third year leap” garden philosophy. There’s wisdom there, to be sure, even given some exceptions. A few plants wait at least six years for their “leap year” and others shoot out of the gate the second season, bound and determined to put on an immediate show.

There are some plants that never measure up, however. I get calls on GardenLine all the time about certain rose of Sharon that never fully make it into bloom. These plants are called “mules” in the trade, as in, “stubborn as a…” If you’ve got one of these it’s probably a good idea to dig it up and toss it out.

The deadline for waiting on non-performing plants is easy when compared to people. How to tell if someone will finally get their act together, or receive the perfect break that allows them to move ahead? Is it possible to truly know if we should continue to plunge ahead with a project, relationship or career that hasn’t jelled so far?

Most of the time we blunder ahead with hope, faith and courage, hoping that the performance we desire is just around the corner.

Here's the plant that has me thinking about performance today. Lespedeza thunbergii 'Spring Grove' - last year, a wimpy show that I excused because the weather was cold and wet. This year was hot and dry, and still this plant is a disappointment. I'm thinking that next spring I'll move this elsewhere and see if it does any better. The fountain-form is nice, but so far the flowering is pathetic. I'm impatient...

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