I must confess: I’m a plant baby-er. I am guilty of having kept mostly dead plants in pots for long past their compost time…hoping and praying that they would somehow miraculously spring to life. These plants were a disgrace…brown and withered or just barely hanging on. How many of you have been there? You’re trying to raise a tropical in Tennessee and it’s just not working.

For me, it has always been peonies and lavender and maidenhair ferns. I can’t grow ’em. Unless I forget about them, they will begin dying the minute I load them into the van to cart them to my garden. I even bought peony roots one year from a gardener on GardenWeb. I’m sure her peonies are lovely. I’m also pretty sure she was from Illinois or Michigan or some other such place. Those little roots got one whiff of our humid Florida air and they commenced their last rites.

So, what am I trying to say? Cut off the dead weight! Throw the offending plant onto your compost pile and put something in its place that will be grateful for your multitudinous attentions. Here’s a little secret: you put those mostly dead plants on your compost pile and they might just spring back to life. Just this spring, I ripped a non-responsive (I mean, dead to the roots) fig tree out of the ground and tossed it on the compost heap. About a week later, I checked the heap for soil. Lo and behold, the fig tree was sprouting! I brought it back into the fold and it shot up two feet in one month’s time.

The conclusion: gardening season is too short to reason with ridiculously fussy and recalcitrant plants. Pull them out, compost them and find something you really can enjoy!

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