Monday, April 28, 2014

Defying the Odds

In the last week, I've spotted no less than five separate green Anole lizards in my backyard. I wondered if they were an omen of sorts, and then some strange things started happening in the garden.

Those of you who are regular visitors to the blog may recall that I wallowed in gardening self-pity last week. The beans, the beans had gotten me down. I had identified their apparent killer as bean leaf mosaic virus. The websites suggested it was fatal. I was instructed, in no uncertain terms, to pull out all of the plants and burn them.

I am known for being a little defiant.

I decided--since I didn't really know what I was doing--to leave the plants in so that I might learn something from their decline. I have to admit this week that I have learned absolutely nothing, largely because they seem to have recovered, which means I misidentified their ailment and basically have no idea what I'm doing. The leaves are flattening out; flowers are blooming, and I've even found some beans.

Leaves are recovering

This made me think of so many other plants in the garden that once seemed certain to die. There was the Japanese maple that worked so hard but was always knocked back by the heat and sun (even though I bought that specific one because the nursery claimed it was ideal for the heat of Florida). I dug it up last fall and moved it to a more shaded spot. Turfman was worried the move would kill it. I was too, but I told him, "Who cares? If I don't kill it, the Florida heat will. This is it's last chance." Here's how it looks today.

A flush of color in the shade

I recently heard a pretty learned gardener say that Gloriosa superbum only does well in its first year, so there's no real reason to leave it in the ground for another season. Well, I lifted mine and protected it over the winter because that's what I thought I was supposed to do. I had replanted it just a day before the gardener had made her proclamation. Then I thought my work was for nothing. (This is what I planted in memory of Wolfie.) It's actually doing better this year than it did last.

6 blooms ready to burst open

I study horticulture more than you can imagine. I am trying to become an expert. I'm forever frustrated by how slow the process is. And for all I know about what I'm doing, I have little idea of what I'm doing. It's all an experiment. Sometimes the experiment works. Sometimes it doesn't. But it sure is incredible to see things thrive after they've been proclaimed a total loss. 

You see, the green Anole lizard is native to Florida and is being wiped out by the brown lizard. They are incredibly rare, almost lost themselves. But they've been running around my garden this week, and everything is turning over a new leaf. If they are an omen, it seems they are a very good one.

Hello, friend


  1. I would agree that your little green friends are a very good omen. I'm so glad your beans and other plants are doing better. I'm always amazed at how gardening "tried-and-true" knowledge can sometimes not apply to certain microclimates.

    1. Mia! So good to hear from you! Yes, sometimes I feel it is all a guessing game. But it's an especially fun game.