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Why did my plant die?

I am not meant to grow Nicotiana this summer. That is the only conclusion I can draw. The slugs scoffed the first lot and our son's football knockabout at the weekend stamped out the second. With better preparation and positioning I might have avoided both, but I didn't.

So I thought I'd share this brilliantly simple poem by Geoffrey B. Charlesworth.
If it doesn't strike a chord, congratulations you are the perfect gardener!

Why did my plant die?

You walked too close. You trod on it.
You dropped a piece of sod on it.
You hoed it down. You weeded it.
You planted it the wrong way up.
You grew it in a yogurt cup
But you forgot to make a hole;
The soggy compost took its toll.
September storm. November drought.
It heaved in March, the roots popped out.
You watered it with herbicide.
You scattered bonemeal far and wide.
Attracting local omnivores,
Who ate your plant and stayed for more.
You left it baking in the sun
While you departed at a run
To find a spade, perhaps a trowel,
Meanwhile the plant threw in the towel.
You planted it with crown too high;
The soil washed off, that explains why.
Too high pH. It hated lime.
Alas it needs a gentler clime.
You left the root ball wrapped in plastic.
You broke the roots. They're not elastic.
You walked too close. You trod on it.
You dropped a piece of sod on it.
You splashed the plant with mower oil.
You should do something to your soil.
Too rich. Too poor. Such wretched tilth.
Your soil is clay. Your soil is filth.
Your plant was eaten by a slug.
The growing point contained a bug.
These aphids are controlled by ants,
Who milk the juice, it kills the plants.
In early spring your garden's mud.
You walked around! That's not much good.
With heat and light you hurried it.
You worried it. You buried it.
The poor plant missed the mountain air:
No heat, no summer muggs up there.
You overfed it 10-10-10.
Forgot to water it again.
You hit it sharply with the hose.
You used a can without a rose.
Perhaps you sprinkled from above.
You should have talked to it with love.
The nursery mailed it without roots.
You killed it with those gardening boots.
You walked too close. You trod on it.
You dropped a piece of sod on it.

Geoffrey B. Charlesworth
'The Opinionated Gardener: Random Offshoots from an Alpine Garden'
D.R. Godine, Boston, 1988

Comments (3)

  1. Grower


    And there are many more Acts of Man and God!

    We once had a whole border scorched by our stable block burning down. This was caused by my over-hot mower engine igniting bone dry grass in the stable. I must say I was more concerned about the fire spreading to the house than the border at the time!

    Another time all the aquatic plants in our small lake were poisoned by a leek from our oil tank. Thankfully we then had the rains of 2012 to wash it away.

    What other mishaps have members experienced I wonder?

  2. Grower

    Good Earth Gardens

    Love this poem! :-)

  3. Grower

    Caroline Jenner

    Buying a wonderful house looking out to sea but with a tiny garden! As a keen gardener I worked out the rotating pot plan very quickly. Shrubs are essential to provide a back drop but have to be pruned hard the whole time. Even though it's only a walled back yard with no grass I created a pond as water provides life, reflection and calm to a garden. I'm longing to be able to push a wheelbarrow again, have a bonfire, get rid of the Christmas tree easily, plant a lot more and stop hacking all my plants into order. However, I love my little garden and go in it nearly very day to snip a bit of that or refurbish a pot that's looking sad.

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