When I moved into my new apartment, I was so excited to get my own private deck. The other two apartments I’d lived in before I moved here I didn’t get my own private porch. I’ve always loved gardening, and with my own porch I thought it would be fun to put out some potted plants. I had some empty pots and filled them with soil and bought some flowers. It was after I bought the flowers and planted them that I realized my deck never got sun. All the plants that I got died. The flowers that I had bought pre-potted and bloomed all died immediately due to the lacking sun on my porch, and the seeds I planted never grew at all. My first spring and summer at my apartment I had to stare at seven pots full of dead plants or just plain soil. Nothing grew at all, except for my sedum.
My sedum plant was given to me by my mother-in-law. For years it had graced her own patio, and she gave it to me as a housewarming gift to grow on my back porch. It was the only thing that grew, and when none of my other pots sprouted flowers, I still had my sedum. The thing was, while I loved my mother-in-law’s gift, I thought the sedum was dull because I really wanted flowers, not a plain green plant, and so for the spring and summer, all I had blossoming on my deck was this boring plant. Then in the fall, to my surprise, it flowered. Beautiful white star-shaped flowers came up from the dull green plant and gave my porch the flowers I’d hoped to have.
But that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted huge lush flowers that made my whole deck beautiful.
That winter, the tree by my deck fell because it was heavy with snow. After it was gone, I foolishly believed that the tree was what had caused the shade on my deck, and now that it was gone, I could plant flowers. So I bought more and planted them. Of course, these never grew either.
The tree that fell had not even been responsible for the shade. Turns out the shade was caused by the other apartment building. Now that the tree was gone, I was able to see that. All the other decks get at least a couple hours of sun but mine. My deck is in full shade, which to some people would be great because the apartment is cool in the summer, but to me, this was a catastrophe. All the shade-tolerant plants I saw were ugly in my opinion and I was so mad that for the first time I had my own private deck, I wouldn’t be able to grow the flowers I wanted on it because all those flowers required sunlight and wouldn’t grow in the shade. Once again, I had to spend a spring and summer without plants on my deck. All the flowers I’d planted died because they needed the sun. Again nothing grew, except for my flourishing sedum, that seemed so happy on my deck.
That fall, it offered me even more white flowers than it had the last year. Beautiful star-shaped white flowers sprang up all over it.
But those beautiful flowers were not the garden oasis I wanted, and I wanted my garden oasis!!!!
This year I was determined I was going to have flowers on my deck. I did my homework this time, and spent an hour on the internet researching shade-tolerant flowers and I made a list of them. A few days ago, I spent fifty dollars, yes, fifty dollars, on shade-loving plants to put in my pots outside, and I planted all of them. I put clematis in a flower box that contained daffodils that won’t ever bloom. I put out some hoya plants in a couple pots. I put out some strawberries (those probably won’t do so well) and I found a box full of shade-tolerant wildflower seeds. I also found some lilies of the valley.
I planted all of my plants, but I ended up getting too many plants for my pots, so I decided to plant the lilies of the valley in the pot that my sedum was in, thinking the plants would just grow with my sedum.
A day after I planted the lilies of the valley, I discovered that these plants were invader plants. They would take over and spread all over the place and if they were planted with any other flowers, they would kill the other flowers. Once put in the ground, and sometimes even before they are planted when they are still in the bag, the roots will start to spread and the plant will start to colonize its area.
Immediately I ran out to Walmart and bought a pot and put on my gardening gloves to remove the lilies of the valley from where I had thought I planted them. I dug up my entire pot of sedum to look for those lilies of the valley pips, but they weren’t even there. I found them in the pot I had full of daffodils. After pulling out the pips and putting them in their own pot before they destroyed the clematis I had just planted, I looked at my sedum plant that I had dug up unnecessarily to rescue them from a plant I didn’t even put there.
I had broken the roots and the dull green stems of the sedum hung lifeless. I took them out of the pot, careful not to break the roots even more, and placed as many as I could fit into some jiffy pots and I brought them indoors to protect them from the rain so they don’t get root rot. Sedum is a hardy plant and a whole new sedum plant can spring up just from some cuttings of it. Every garden site I went to said my sedum should be fine. But should be and will be are two very different things. Right now the plants are in the jiffy pots lining my windowsill, and I am hoping that they re-root but they are completely limp. They may die, and it will be entirely my fault if they do.
For three years, I had this sedum gracing my porch, giving me flowers when all the other plants died. But I didn’t appreciate it when I had it. Now my very dependable plant may not even survive to give me its beautiful star-shaped white flowers this fall. At the price of trying to create a garden oasis, I may have killed the only thriving plant I had. And there is no guarantee if the other flowers will even grow. If they don’t, I will once again spend a spring and summer with no flowers, except instead of seven dead pots, this time I might have eight; the eighth being where my sedum should have been.
The lesson I learned as I desperately try to get my sedum to live is this; we don’t appreciate what we have, and often don’t even realize what we have until it’s gone. Through my sedum I already had a garden oasis, I already had blooming flowers. But I wanted more because I foolishly decided that more flowers were better. People take so much for granted, and only notice it when it isn’t there to be noticed anymore.
Always appreciate what you have, even if it doesn’t seem like very much, because you could always have less.