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Garden Reports and Rejoicing – May 13

Every time I look at my rain garden I shake my head. Perhaps I’ve written about the red twig dogwood in this garden before…the one on the left is an over-achiever that reaches for the sky. The two on the right, five short feet away, are about half the size.

This garden is planted with varieties that don’t mind being flooded now and again. That’s what a rain garden is for, after all. It catches the runoff so that it doesn’t go to places where we don’t want that water to run: city drains, low places, and local bodies of water for example.

At Poison Ivy Acres this area catches the runoff from the driveway, along with all the various car emissions and droppings that we don’t want to be carried down to Lawrence Pond. This water and all it contains is allowed to drain and filter into the ground well above the lake.

But whether plants are placed where the soils are frequently swamped or not, we humans are often mystified by discrepancies in growth. One plant shoots up or is beautiful while another, placed just a short distance away and planted at the same time, is a fraction of the size. Sometimes that second plant is dead.

Every parent knows that within a family the children, raised in the same household, have completely different personalities. Every person who has a sibling or more than one dog has had the same experience. So why do we imagine that our plants will all be the same? Isn’t the problem our unrealistic expectations?

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