Saturday, December 29, 2012

If winter comes..a "perfect" flower in Margaret's garden

If there's any one thing I need to heed from Margaret Moseley's advice on gardening, it's this:  "If you see a plant you want, buy it right then.  Don't wait."

Margaret started her garden in her 50's.  She didn't do like I do and say, "I won't buy that shrub or tree because by the time it's mature I'll be x number of years old."  Well, look where I am today.  I am well past x years old.  Many times over, I would have had to cut back the things I wanted and never planted because they'd be way too big by now.

Through the years, well into her 90's, Margaret was still going to nurseries, seeing plants she wanted and making sure they got in the ground immediately.  There was no holding pen at her house.  She would find a place, even if she had to dig out into the lawn and expand one of her rock-lined beds.

I can't imagine how big all the camellias she recommended would be if I had gone out and bought them when I first saw them in her garden.  The one pictured above was planted not all that long ago.  It's a hybrid camellia - Camellia x 'Taylor's Perfection'.  There's certainly a reason the New Zealand hybridizer chose this name.  The flowers are exquisite - very Japanese looking, I think.  It was at least a couple of years after I saw Margaret's that Rhoda Ingram, a fantastic gardener near Griffin, Georgia, gave me 'Taylor's Perfection'.  Only I let it live a year in its container before I figured out where to plant it.  I did not heed Margaret's advice.  I should have a much bigger bush now.  Of course, the deer have sampled some buds, so I don't have nearly as many blooms as Margaret does, but mine is growing and doing well.

So, the "buy it when you see it, and plant it immediately" piece of advice is going in the book, along with lots of anecdotes and "Margaret-isms".  There's a reason every plant society wanted to put her garden on tour and why garden clubs flocked there to see her handiwork.  She got right in there, planted things, moved them if they were in the wrong place or gave them away if they didn't work.  There was no hesitation on her part, and it paid off.

Update:  Margaret had the "cementing" procedure yesterday.  The jury is still out on if it worked.  She was mad as a wet hen when I talked to her this afternoon.  They had assured her they'd put her to sleep, but they didn't.  She'll be in the hospital another week.  Meanwhile, we'll visit her garden some more.  There's a lot to see.


  1. Please tell Margaret that your readers are eagerly following her recovery and she should hurry up so she can get home.

  2. I hope she does well and is home and gardening soon. Looking forward to the book! I've always thought a compilation of interviews with the "old gardening ladies" of various cultures, wherein they reveal their most practical advice, would be an invaluable gift to all gardeners, and interesting as hell to boot!

  3. So glad you are doing these posts on Margaret while she is in the hospital. She enjoys reading them so much and they help with her recovery. She's anxious to get home and back to her garden and making that chili.