June 4, 2011
Bunches and Bunches
It's lovely --- a serene pond, some rocks, a newly planted conifer, a tall tree and a ground cover of . . .
. . . . bunches and bunches of bunchberry. Cornus canadensis, spread wide, spread far, and creeping all over. Really?
Why am I gasping? Because in my last post I told you how hard this midget dogwood is to grow. I planted so many, and have coddled them along, losing most of what I had bought. I now have about nine plants after four years of effort, slowly and grudgingly growing under a Japanese maple. They cover a square foot of ground. They struggle. They want perfect conditions, a fact some commenters also noted.
Yesterday, at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor, Maine I saw thousands of cornus canadensis plants, all filling in and spreading. They were everywhere.
They were massing along the parking lots in sandy soil.
They were spreading along a pond, thriving in sun, growing in shade, happily marching along paths and sidewalks and spilling over ledges.
There were swaths, fields, and sweeping arcs of these damn plants. And they were all in bloom, showing tons of sweet little dogwood petals.
And here's the kicker: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are brand new. This garden opened in June of 2007. All of the plantings and installations are just five years old, exactly the age of my garden.
So it's not like these massive bunches of bunchberry have been establishing themselves over decades. They weren't a natural stand discovered in the woods either.
They were planted exactly when mine were, and I have nine unhappy, clumpy plants sulking in laboratory conditions of soil and shade.
In the gardens in Maine they have a jillion wildly spreading massing plants growing in scree, sand, wet bog, deep soil, on rock ledges, and in sun.
I give up. Apparently my gardens are not Maine and my bunchberries know it.
I'm going to try growing lobsters in my toilet tank and see if that helps.