too many plants?

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Todd wrote:

I have too many plants as well....and packing them in by the scads every year!  I still have pots of 75 new species seedlings sown this spring which have yet to be potted separately, let alone, introduced to the garden...it's a sickness!

Cameras.....I have three...a Nikon Coolpix 8800 (great for white flowers), a Canon S5 IS (super macro) and a Nikon D300S...this one was way too expensive and actually does not take as good pics as my cheaper ones...I think I just have not figured it out yet...it was purchased mostly for bird pictures rather than flowers.  It can take lovely soft images with shallow depth of field but for alpines, I find a greater depth of field is best.

Todd, you hit the nail on the head with a couple points here.  Too many plants??? yes indeed, it's a sickness... that is exactly the right phrase.  I do feel that I'm in the recovery stages these days. 

The other point is regarding cameras.  The technology has accelerated and improved so much, that even an entry-level or lower-end camera can be capable of taking great pictures, and it is not necessarily related to camera cost.  I find it interesting that you have 3 cameras, one which DOES take good pics of white flowers (a common stumbling point of many cameras).  Eventually I do want a camera of my own (when my younger daughter goes to college in 2011), one capable of taking quality macro photographs, but maybe one needs several cameras to cover the bases.  For everyday shooting of plants and garden shots, I will stick with a more basic (and less expensive) camera.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

Bob

Too many plants!! ???
I have never felt I had too many plants. I don't know if that's even possible. There are way to many choice tidbits available. (Besides, I know, I can grow that impossible to grow one!! I just know I can. I'll give it another try! So what if I killed it three times before.)

Now finding space,(in the right spot) to grow them, is another matter entirely! ;)

Whether it is a sickness or not depends upon your Significant Other's perspective.  :-\
Koodos to those partners who share in this hobby of ours. ;D

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

All this talk of too many plants brings to mind a discussion I would have liked to hear first hand (assuming I could learn enough German to understand it:)

Frederick the Great: "Really, Amadeus, I rather liked the piece, but feel perhaps, that it has a few too many notes?"

Mozart: "Which ones would you have me take out, your liege?"

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Kelaidis wrote:

All this talk of too many plants brings to mind a discussion I would have liked to hear first hand (assuming I could learn enough German to understand it:)

Frederick the Great: "Really, Amadeus, I rather liked the piece, but feel perhaps, that it has a few too many notes?"

Mozart: "Which ones would you have me take out, your liege?"

Amadeus, one of my all time favorite movies, and a favorite memorable scene about too many notes ;D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCud8H7z7vU

So the question is, does your garden have just as many plants as are required, neither more nor less?  ;D

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

McDonough wrote:

Kelaidis wrote:

All this talk of too many plants brings to mind a discussion I would have liked to hear first hand (assuming I could learn enough German to understand it:)

Frederick the Great: "Really, Amadeus, I rather liked the piece, but feel perhaps, that it has a few too many notes?"

Mozart: "Which ones would you have me take out, your liege?"

Amadeus, one of my all time favorite movies, and a favorite memorable scene about too many notes ;D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCud8H7z7vU

So the question is, does your garden have just as many plants as are required, neither more nor less?  ;D

I love the movie too!  (BTW, "Frederick the Great" = Emperor Joseph II.)

Deferring your question for the moment...  how does one get to this extremely-personal state of gardening nirvana you describe, without having tried essentially every species/cultivar that has a remote chance of survival in one's conditions, which would usually take some decades... in order to know which will ultimately give the highest level of satisfaction throughout the year, and not to have missed out on all the others that might be even more satisfactory?  It would seem that thoroughness, and personal evaluation (rather than just accepting someone else's opinion) would make it difficult to shortcut the process!      

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Skulski wrote:

Deferring your question for the moment...  how does one get to this extremely-personal state of gardening nirvana you describe, without having tried essentially every species/cultivar that has a remote chance of survival in one's conditions, which would usually take some decades... in order to know which will ultimately give the highest level of satisfaction throughout the year, and not to have missed out on all the others that might be even more satisfactory?  It would seem that thoroughness, and personal evaluation (rather than just accepting someone else's opinion) would make it difficult to shortcut the process!     

Aha, an interesting philosophical question, and you hit the nail on the head with the question "and not to have missed out on all the others that might be even more satisfactory".  It's that fear of missing out that one must overcome, the realization one is not going to grow every pleasurable plant on this earth, but one can certainly narrow down the list to those that TRULY satisfy.  If you played the "what if" game, and I could only have 100 different plants in my garden, what would they be?  And the number 100 is purely arbitrary... it could be 50, 100, 500, or whatever.

I know I have a problem, when most of my woody plants grown from seed, are still in pots with trunks that equal or exceed the size of the pots they are in!  I know I have a problem, when most of the seedlings that I get from sowing seed die a slow death from neglect due to tardiness finding a spot for them in the garden.  I know I have a problem, when I still have many hundreds of seed packets unsown, such as 2 or more entire distributions of NARGS seed from the mid 2000s... my seed sowing is such an utterly haphazard affair.  I know I have a problem when I grow some ugly tidbit because it was given to me by a friend... they liked it, but I don't, yet I keep it anyway (in all fairness, many of my now favorite plants came from friends, so it goes both ways).  I know I have a problem when I grow plants that are well-known, liked, if not revered, yet I might find a brief floral display okay but the rest of the year I wonder why the hey I grow these plants that look boring if not ugly the rest of the year (Roscoea come to mind).

So, I haven't reached "nirvana" yet, not even close, but I have started to realize that over and over again, I have succumbed to the same plant addictions, and the plants suffer or die, I suffer mental anguish and guilt from plant neglect, and the daily burden that I "must find a spot" for this plant or that is a constant monkey on my back.  It must stop.  I feel that, even with my limited "palette" of plants, if I were never to add an additional new plant genus or species, I have enough plants... still enough diversity with natural diversity of self-sown seedlings and hybridization, and bulking up on the plants I have, for a lifetime of plant and gardening pleasure.

Believe me, I'm not throwing in the towel (or the trowel, as it may be), but I'm leveling out, reaching a rational plateau, refocusing on those plants that truly please me.  Am I missing out if there exists a plant that would please me twice or three times as much as the plants that currently please me, possibly so, but that doesn't matter, as I already have plants that please me immensely.

Acceptance is key; I accept that I'll probably never grow hardy cacti in New England; I admire them greatly, love seeing them featured here on NARGS Forum, but they are not high enough on my "plants that please me 365 days of the year" category to make the jump, and besides, it would break another rule... no plants with spines in my garden (I HATE being poked), in fact, this year I finally dug up and threw away a very dwarf sprawling white Rosa cultivar that Harry Dewey gave me, just tired of getting stabbed by the thorns, so out it went.  It took me nearly 10 years to do this!  My soft and lovely Epimediums never stab me... well, ok, I stretch the truth a bit, a few have spiny leaves, not pokey when green but upon drying they are sharp indeed.  But that is *my* exception to my own rule, thus it is ok.

And last, I want to explore the identity of certain plants.  Example, some plants like Allium cernuum are infinitely variable.  So I grow dozens upon dozens of dozens of forms, all just Allium cernuum, but all with such variability and individual character, that even after decades of growing them, I feel that I'm still getting to know them.  This is the highly personal side of gardening... but I'm finally starting to get a handle on my compulsive plant obsessions, and focus in on the plants I really want to grow, and just say NO to those that I don't.  However, at all times, there still lurks the inquisitive compulsive gardener, and if I see a new plant I must have, I will have it.  So, if a tractable form of Monardella macrantha appears (hint hint PK), then I'll want it and will seek it out.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Hmm, while it has occasionally been suggested that I may be a bit unusually obsessed with variety in plants, I can see now that I am actually quite the model of restraint.   ;)

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

My problems the last years are not too many plants - some die and give way for new ones and it is still "uncultivated" land on my property - but those I have are growing too big! My fancy the first years was conifers (not the dwarf ones) and they tend to grow and grow and grow both in height and width. The sun disappeared and so did the view of the fjord. Now I use the chainsaw every winter and have had enough wood for the fireplace in all years since we mowed in.

Later I dreamed of collecting all available Rhododendrons. It took some years before I realized the impossibility in that task. Now I collect all kinds of plants I think can thrive at home or at the two other places we have (in the mountains and at the coast).

Bad winters, dry summers, slugs and so on always open new possibilities!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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