Submitted by gsparrow on
Panayoti Kelaidis

IT IS INTRIGUING to compare how various gardeners deal with the unpleasant reality that when you try to grow challenging plants, or plants novel to horticulture, you inevitably end up with the tags of dead plants. Some gardeners brazenly display them in wide cup fulls, like gruesome trophies. Others discard and hide them like a dirty secret. I have heard plant tags referred to in many ways. Perhaps the most distressing was when a new acquaintance (Bob Heapes, who went on to become a fine rock gardener, president of our chapter, and a dear friend) declared, in disgust, on his first visit to the Rock Alpine Garden that “it looked like the Arlington cemetery of mice.” Admittedly, we had planted a lot of little plants and dutifully retained their glaring white labels until proper plaques could be engraved, but referring to them as “mouse tombstones” went too far. I spent the better part of a week cramming the nasty white things as deep into the ground as I could, breaking a goodly number of them in the process. Thinking back forty years, I suspect most of them truly have turned into plant tombstones.