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“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience”


8" blooms – Summer 2011

Emerson’s quote finds a special place in every gardener’s heart. To step outside one morning and be overcome with the sweet smell of the Peony Sarah Bernhardt’s pale blooms is not something that can be done with the wave of a hand. Gardening requires time, weeding, and above all – patience. The end result is undoubtedly worth the labor and is the reason we all get our hands dirty in the first place, isn’t it?

A stunning Hibiscus in our test gardens at American Meadows exemplifies the necessity for patience. This little plant was sent back to us last summer by a customer who was convinced it was dead. We gave it a chance and planted the hibiscus in June of last year. We watered, watched, and waited – finally, it broke ground and green shoots escaped towards the end of the summer.

This year, the results are spectacular. People driving by have stopped to admire the scarlet blooms of this hibiscus and we love looking out the window every day to see a new bud emerge. The beauty of this plant lies not only in its’ amazing flowers, but in the work behind it. We love to tell the story of the tiny, "dead," plant that only needed a little care and water to flourish into our most talked about element of the garden. Each year, at the end of the season, this Hibiscus will open up and remind us that gardening, like so many other wonderful things, requires patience.

Instant gratification has become inherent in our society. Gardening is one of the beautiful things that will always remain outside of this phenomenon. Plant perennials such as Astilbe, Hydrangea, and Daylilies this fall. Retreat into your home for the winter and watch your garden slowly do the same. Then, come spring, enjoy watching the new growth as the ground thaws and your garden springs to life again. This, as many of you know, is gardening bliss.


Our "dead" Hibiscus
Summer 2010

"I rescued this!"
Summer 2011

August 30, 2011 · Amanda Shepard · 3 Comments
Posted in: Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials, Wildflowers

3 Responses

  1. Beth - September 2, 2011

    Is this a hardy hibiscus? I had that happen to me too. I ordered a hardy hibiscus for my perennial bed. It was ok last summer after it’s arrival. It appeared to survive the winter but nothing grew from the root. We assumed the worst and replaced it with a maple tree. About a month later, my husband called me to a depression in the lawn which he had filled with the extra soil from planing the baby maple tree. What’s this strange plant, he asked……Yup, you guessed it! It’s the hardy hibiscus! So now it’s getting moved to another spot in the perennial bed. Perhaps I planted it too deep originally or it didn’t like where it was at? I don’t know for sure but it’s growing nicely so I’ll give it another chance.

  2. Jean Robinette - September 2, 2011

    Thank you for this story. I had a similar experience…In the spring of 2010 I purchased a Hybrid Hibiscus but had no idea how to treat the plant in the late fall. I cut it to the ground and this spring was rewarded with two very stout stalks and lots of beautiful pink blooms. I still do not know if I should cut it back or leave the plant and see what happens next spring but think I’ll leave it alone and see what happens.

  3. Suzanne DeJohn - September 3, 2011

    Great blog post, Mike!