It was the only way and the path of most resistance, but I did it anyway. I could not definitively figure out what was wrong with my plants. The disease started with Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ and spread to almost all the perennials in my garden. I had to halt the invasion. I felt like a doctor trying to find a remedy for an incurable malady.
When in doubt, I say whack it to the ground and hope for the best. Since it’s the end of the growing season, only next year’s Spring will reveal if cutting everything back actually did any good. Over years of gardening, I tried to have no bare soil in my garden. Now that is all I see.
In the meantime, I’ve decided to stop being a cry baby and get on with it. A book from my childhood, It Looked Like Split Milk by Charles G. Shaw, reminded me that sometimes things look like one thing, but are really quite another.
What would a good gardener do?
My answer is to look for new opportunities. There are always more plants. There are plants I haven’t tried and always wanted to. I am currently thinking about Clematis jouiniana ‘Praecox’ as a ground cover. Bred in 1900 by a French gardener Simon-Louis Freres as a hybrid between Clematis tubulosa and Clematis vitalba; it’s vigorous, bears flowers and and will fill empty spaces. This sounds pretty good.
Fortunately, I have almost 8 months to think what plant or plants will replace my Amsonia ‘Blue Ice.” One thing is for sure: I will never forget the name of this plant. It turned my blood to blue ice.