Some things take a lifetime

There are lots of reasons for not adding certain plants to your garden. One of the commonest, and one that I have overcome, is that a plant takes a long time to mature or is very slow growing. This is not a reason to procrastinate, rather we should plant these immediately! The years fly by and just because something is slow to grow is definitely not a reason to delay planting.

Another reason could be because something is alleged to be hard to grow. No garden is right for everything and we can’t grow every plant we want to. Most, common plants will put up with a wide range of conditions but others are more specific. But they might find your garden just what they want. So look at the requirements of a plant, do what you can to please it and then have a go – you may be successful. Other plants may be invasive. Be careful with these but do not avoid them all. Euphorbia cyparissias is commonly known to be an awful thug. But I have never had a garden where it behaved badly.

Another reason is cost and I admit that I am irrational here. I will pay a fortune for a rare plant but I am never going to pay ten euro for a pot of cosmos. There are some plants that I covet but are always expensive so I walk away. I am scared to spend lots of money on hardy slipper orchids, so far. I know they are probably easier than I think but I need to get the basics in the garden sorted first. But the plant that I have waited longest to get is Aralia elata ‘Variegata’.

Aralia elata is a hardy, suckering shrub with huge, pinnate leaves and clusters of tiny white flowers in late summer, followed by tiny black fruits. The white-variegated and yellow-variegated forms are grafted and, being sparsely-branched shrubs, I assume that propagation material is not abundant. So plants are devilishly expensive. Twenty five years ago, on leaving a job, I had a wad of cash to spend on plants and almost bought one, but plants are always at least £80 for a stick in a pot and I bought several other trees instead.

Every time I see one I hesitate. But I can’t justify the cost, even though the plant is hardy and quite tough. But the desire to have one is always there.

So, earlier this week, I visited a nursery and they had reduced their one plant, presumably because it was looking a bit scruffy and had not sold. And it was considerably less than half price. It has taken me 50 years of gardening but, at last, I have an aralia. Now to decide where to plant it!

10 Comments on “Some things take a lifetime”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    September 26, 2021 at 1:35 pm #

    We were in Limerick some years back and saw a beautiful specimen of variegated Aralia there. We came home without it (a two hour drive) and returned the next day to buy it! A fabulous plant though it suckered everywhere and we took it out.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 27, 2021 at 10:33 am #

      Maybe I know what my post in two years will be!

      • Paddy Tobin
        September 27, 2021 at 5:53 pm #

        We saw a beautiful specimen in the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, today – and not a sucker in sight! So, live in hope and enjoy it.

        • thebikinggardener
          September 28, 2021 at 9:24 am #

          That is good news! I need to pop up soon – I have not been for ages.

  2. Mitzy Bricker
    September 26, 2021 at 7:16 pm #

    That is fun and exciting! Good luck!

    Blue Rock Horses Frederick County, Virginia

  3. Kerry Winter
    September 27, 2021 at 5:51 pm #

    I’m an English person now living on Vancouver Island (Canada). Our climate, and even day to day weather, eerily copies my cousin’s in Norwich! I too have a new garden, six months old now and am contemplating buying a small (12″!) Quercus garryana, your post inspired me to go ahead👍

  4. kerrywin8gmailcom
    September 27, 2021 at 8:10 pm #

    I am an Englishman now living on Vancouver Island (Canada). Our climate and even day to day weather often eerily parallels my relatives’ weather in Norwich so not so far off yours I imagine. I too have a new garden, six months old now, and just getting the bones in place. I look forward to following your bloggings.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 28, 2021 at 9:23 am #

      Hello. I have not been to Vancouver but I have been to Washington State so not so far away. And I was born in Norwich. Here in the South East of Ireland we have a relatively Continental climate for Ireland – well hotter in summer and colder in winter, than the west. I hope my posts prove to be useful.

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