I spent yesterday evening after dinner planting about 10 variegated hostas on the bank of Husband's new bog garden. I have no idea what their cultivar name is because they were at our old house when we moved in. The new owners of my old garden emailed me a few days ago to say they'd been digging up and dividing the hostas, and I was welcome to come help myself if I wanted their extras. They'd be sitting at the top of the old driveway and I could get them anytime.
I was pleased at the prospect of free hostas because I'd been planning to get some to fill in some bog space anyway. I was also delighted to have a reason to go visit my old plants. I walk by there twice a day on the dog's daily 'round-the-block-to-poop tour, but I can only see the plants closest to the road. The beds right by the front door are too far away to see well.
So on our morning dog walk, Bean and I swung by the old house so I could see what was there to pick from. I wheeled the stroller up my former gravel drive, remembering the familiar crunch under the stroller tires. I walked up the little hill a bit, looking for the plants I expected to be in their full, explosive, spring growth. And...nothing. Or anyways, not much. Because all that watering the new owners didn't do last year during a solid month of temperatures in the upper 90's and no rain took its toll. These were pretty established plants, so they wouldn't have had to be watered every day. But they would've needed some extra attention that I guess the new owners just didn't have the time to give them, or perhaps didn't understand was necessary. No more ferns, dead nettles, columbines, spiderwort, bleeding hearts, or forget-me-nots.
And those poor hostas! They had dug up nearly all of them, as far as I could tell, and had tossed them into 2 big piles, all broken, dried out, and wilted. Ack! I gathered 2 flats' worth of mangled root balls and took them home, hoping that if I watered them heavily and planted them in full shade they'd make it. They are pretty sturdy plants, so they might be o.k., but it was just sad to see how little care had been taken with them.
Sigh. I know, this is over-the-top dramatic if you don't care about plants, but I put in literally hundreds of hours of hard, sweaty work in that old garden and I really hate to see it wasted and unappreciated. You sorta figure that if you plant perennials you've just improved some small part of the world in a permanent way, right? Maybe not. Next time, I'm bringing some plants with me, even if it is in the middle of summer.