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Mind Trap

3 a.m.: I can’t sleep. I keep thinking about the weigela in a pot on the porch. Last one unplanted of this spring’s purchases: where to put it? Trademarked Midnight Wine, this shrub — with pink flowers in spring and bronze leaves all summer — is supposed to stay dwarf: 24 inches tall, 26 wide. Will it?

I want to give it maximum sun, for deep leaf color. Let’s see... it could go beside the front door, where the pachysandra get too much sun now. But that soil is poor, making it a perfect spot for the silver-and-blue Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia_), which has never had enough sun or lean enough soil, in all places I’ve tried it. Is there room for both there? Or rather, room for both of them plus something else, since two makes an awkward group, three is much more interesting...?

I could put Midnight Wine in the rich soil where the Russian sage is now, weigelas are versatile about soil. Maybe there’s enough sun there.

But what about the pachysandra by the front door? I was so happy when it covered that bed completely; before then the rain used to drip off the bay window roof and splash mud up onto the walls of the bay. Now the pachysandra prevents that; what’ll I cover the ground with if I rip it all out?

Last August it sunburned, with the maple dying. I’m not looking forward to seeing it this August. Pachysandra has a reputation of being difficult to transplant. But I’d sure like to get some started in the deep shade under the maples beside the garage. So far nothing will grow there, but I suspect this would. If I’m going to dig a hole in the pachysandra for the perovskia, I’d like to put what I remove by the garage.

It’s a special variety of pachysandra, more finely cut leaves; I’m attached to that plant. Maybe if I get some shrubs in the bed beside the door, they will give enough shade that I can keep some of it healthy while a tree to replace the maple grows up? Then when it does, move the shrubs?

Once I likened the process of moving plants around in my garden to a game of musical chairs. Now it seems more like multidimensional chess. My mind keeps going “if”, “but” , “and then”... around and around obsessively. I love my plants, I love seeing them thrive ... but this is ridiculous.

© Copyright 2004 Catherine Holmes Clark

Published in the six Nashoba Publications papers on Friday, 16 July 2004

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