Life in the garden Part 06: The vegetative ICU

2008-04-05 Hydrangea

This is my pathetic Hydrangea, although it has proven itself to be a fairly tough one.

I got it about four years ago. It had large, full leaves and beautiful, fluffy blue flowers. It was almost falling out of the little nursery pot it came it. I moved it to a real planter shortly after getting it.

Eventually I upgraded it to a larger, fancier pot. By then, the summer was over, and it was preparing to sleep for the winter. I gave it some water.

The next week, the remaining leaves were drooping and the soil was dry. So I gave it water again.

A few days later, it was still thirsty and the soil was dry so I watered it again.

This went on for a couple weeks, and the plant got steadily worse.

For some of my other herbs I picked up a soil moisture sensor. When I checked the Hydrangea, I discovered that while the soil I could feel was dry, the soil deeper in the pot (where the roots were) was actually mud. The plant was drowning.

I put it up on a shelf, and stopped watering it. It turned from a lush bush to a collection of sticks. I checked the solid regularly, and waited until the deep soil was dry before I watered it again. That took about a year.

The plant lived, though. It grew some new leaves and buds. It even put out some pathetic looking green flowers.

This year it did a little better. It's been under intensive care for a while and started to put out some more leaves. It came through the winter in my apartment pretty well. But my recent move was pretty rough on it. I left it out on my new balcony during our recent cold snap. The Hydrangea got snowed on, frosted on, and rained on. The soil was once again soaked.

So tonight I did what I should have done the first time I almost drowned it. I put it in a new pot with fresh, dryer soil. And you can see the results above.

I added some extra garden gnomes in the hope they can help bring it back to full health. Now I'll just give it some sun, keep it warm, and water it occasionally. Eventually it may leave the plant ICU if it's lucky.

It's probably cheaper and easier to buy a new one, but that's not the point. The goal is to raise these things to health and learn while doing it. Simply buying a new one is not an option right now.

Then next step, though, may be to put eyes on my plants. Christopher Walken makes a good point.

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