Confessions Of A Bad Pansy Momma

Yikes!

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With plenty of water, a spot in the sunshine + a prayer to the gardening gods above, I’m thinking that these poor pansies might make it. Right?

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ON WEDNESDAY AFTER PLANTING BUNCHES of pansies underneath the monkey grass beside the stone path in the backyard, I was tired of gardening.

I put the rest of the pansies, destined to be interspersed between rose bushes along the front walk, in the garage.

Then while fiddle-farting the rest of the week away, I forgot all about the pansies, until yesterday morning when I stumbled over them.

Clearly, I’m not going to win the Most Beautiful Autumn Yard Award, Amateur Suburban Gardener Division, am I?

[Well, there really never was a possibility that I’d win an award because: a) there is no such thing in this subdivision;  & b) I’m the poster child for B+ students everywhere who get close to the prize, but never get the prize.]

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Bombdiggity!

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Monarch butterfly feasting on this little yellow milkweed plant that is almost thriving. Sort of. Fingers crossed.

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WHILE MY PANSY MOMMA SKILLS might once again be in question, I’m happy to report that 3 of the 4 potted milkweed plants, purchased at a garden nursery last spring, have lived through the summer.

One plant, encouraged to stand using a bamboo pole stuck in the dirt + cotton twine, has even flowered a few times throughout the summer.  I think he’s an amicable little plant, even though he isn’t the strongest one out there, he keeps hanging on.

Literally and figuratively.

Now the question is: are these milkweed plants perennials? Or do I have to do something like save the seeds for next year?

I’m hoping that they take care of themselves, because as my pansy momma experiences have shown, I might not be the most reliable gardener.

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Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

32 thoughts on “Confessions Of A Bad Pansy Momma”

  1. I’ve been known to make the same mistake a time or two by forgetting some plants I bought. Some renewed their vigor and thrived after being babied, others just bit the dirt. It’s definitely worth trying. And I think milkweed plants are perennials. They are the Monarch’s favorite food. They lay their eggs on the back of a milkweed leaf and the caterpillar will then feed on the leaf until it turns into a chrysalis. It’s such a cool process to watch! Good luck with your poor little pansies.

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    1. Beth, looking out on the front stoop where I put the poor pitiful pansies yesterday, I see that today the maroon and purple ones are good to go… but the gold and orange ones are goners. As for the milkweed, I’m going to let it do its thing, hoping for the best. The one plant that flowered is weak, but the other two ones, that didn’t flower, are strong. Go figure, huh?

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    1. susie, we used to get Monarchs around here. So I think that if over the next few years I can get milkweed established in this yard, they should come back again. Checking on the pansies this morning, most of them are alive & perky. Saved in the nick of time!

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  2. I’m not only a bad pansy momma, I’m a plant world Mommy Dearest. I gave up years ago trying to maintain any plant life inside or outside the home. That is officially my husband’s domain. Plants everywhere are rejoicing.

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    1. Carrie, it’s good to know your strengths and weaknesses. I applaud you on your decision to abdicate all plant-related activities to your husband. I can grow simple plants, but that, of course, requires me to remember to plant them. Duh.

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  3. Milkweeds are perennials and I am glad you planted them since, as you surely know, they attract Monarchs. Why? Because they are the only food Monarch caterpillars eat. So, in acknowledgement of your noble generosity toward Monarch butterflies, a poem and a blessing.

    I’ve watched you now a full half-hour;
    Self-poised upon that yellow flower
    And, little Butterfly! Indeed
    I know not if you sleep or feed.
    How motionless! – not frozen seas
    More motionless! and then
    What joy awaits you, when the breeze
    Hath found you out among the trees,
    And calls you forth again!
    ~William Wordsworth, “To a Butterfly”

    and

    May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
    And find your shoulder to light on,
    To bring you luck, happiness and riches
    Today, tomorrow and beyond.
    ~Irish Blessing

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    1. la p, thank you. I don’t remember that Wordsworth poem, although I think I should. Perhaps I was too fixated on daffodils to pay attention to it! 😉

      Never heard that Irish blessing, but it doesn’t surprise me that there is one. The Irish, my ancestors, always had something to say about everything, didn’t they? One of these mornings I’ll go outside and bless the little milkweed plant using it.

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  4. I love monarchs and have seen more of them this year than I ever remember. I too have forgotten about plants or about watering ones that are far back on the porch. At this time of the year, I get lazy and feel like it’s time for cabbage and kale anyway. They last most of the winter around here. 🙂

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    1. Margaret, no kidding? You can keep those cabbages going all winter? Around here they die in December/January when it turns frigid, so planting them is a short term affair. I’ve never tried even though I think that they’re beautiful. Huh.

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      1. Once I get them in the ground, they are OK (well, at least until I get lazy and don’t water them for days on end. At which point your pansies look positively perfect compared to them). I just tend to buy and forget before then. Many dollars down the drain over the years.

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  5. Pansies already? Still too hot for them here – usually I plant them around Halloween or Thanksgiving and hope the survive until cold enough for them to be happy (and hope they don’t get drowned by fall rains) Put those in the shade and trim blooms and they should perk up with water…I always buy the sad orphan markdown plants…they just need a home and some understanding!
    Butterfly plants. Cool. But now I find out you want native ones to the area and you want them to crater in the winter for healthy monarchs in the spring. I found this which tells you which species to avoid. The tropical one Asclepias curassavica is commonly sold, but apparently is the wrong plant. WHAT? Here’s one article: http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2015/01/plan-save-monarch-butterflies-backfires
    Here’s a monarch site which has links to recommended milkweed species and info about them: http://monarchjointventure.org/get-involved/create-habitat-for-monarchs/
    Sigh. Nothing seems simple any more.

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    1. philmouse, thank you so much for the links. I knew that it was important to plant milkweed indigenous to your region, but I didn’t know why. Now I do.

      You’ll be relieved to know that the milkweed plants in our yard are locally sourced and historically accurate to this part of Ohio. We’re members of the Nature Preserve and they’re quite specific about how + what to do when planting milkweed!

      We aims to keep the butterflies happy here. 🙂

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      1. Whew – who knew? So it’s supposed to die for healthy monarchs next spring. What a system ( if only people didn’t get in and mess it up? HA HA)
        Have you post about your local nature preserve? It’s always interesting to see those in other areas.

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  6. So…it’s several days later. Final verdict on the pansies?

    I mean, they’re looking pretty darn beyond salvation to me in that picture — but plants often look that way to me. Mostly because I tend not to notice green things in my vicinity until after I’ve forgotten to water them for a week.

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  7. Finally got the butterfly picture you dreamed to get, and “mission accomplished” with Operation Enduring Milkweed. Well done, General.

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