– Signs of progress

Tending pachysandra, September 2007In September, I wrote (pridefully) of how I propagated and planted 100 pachysandra cuttings from my parents’ yard into mine. Within a couple of weeks, the cuttings had taken root and appeared sturdy. Over the winter, I checked on them from time to time, when they weren’t blanketed by snow. They drooped, yet remained green and leafy. I anticipated their spring return to robustness.

Flash forward to today: Now they’re trampled, knocked over, torn, dug up, and gone missing in places. Our house is undergoing what, for us, is a dramatic transformation — we’re adding a bedroom over the garage and redoing the rest of the second floor — and the builders and their staging are taking over the pachysandra’s territory.

Pachysandra, March

There’s also a pile of lumber on top of a more established hydrangea given to me by Leah B., a favorite former student and one I tutored frequently when I worked at Simmons. There are ruts in the lawn and broken branches on a holly. Around the foundation, where hostas and plumbago are soon to emerge, are scattered old nails and splinters of wood.

Do I feel sad? No, not that. Do I feel hopeful, that the return of a growing season will restore the trampled green things? Uh, no, because it’s also possible that the fragile pachysandra were too tender to survive boots, tools, and ladders. Yet I don’t exactly feel unhopeful.

I feel… like an accomplice. I set something into motion that’s directly competing with and possibly destroying some other process I set into motion. And all I can do is see it through, and do what I can to repair what’s been broken asunder.

The hydrangea will bounce back.  The broken holly will fill out again in a season or two.  Hostas are unstoppable and will find a way.  It’s the viability of the pachysandra I’m not sure about.

4 thoughts on “– Signs of progress

  1. There was a great piece on NPR today about a “privacy tree”–a tulip tree destined to be sold as lumber. I cried for the tree – and then was hopeful – listen to it.

  2. Pingback: - Mending (a life) « Leaf - Stitch - Word

  3. Oops. Disregard my query about how the cuttings fared. Although personally I’d blame the builders. And I wouldn’t give up hope on the pachys. Does pachy- mean tough, as in elephant hide? Will go now and look up. Meantime, it’s 2012. Would love to know how all the victims came through.

    • I answered your other query about watering (2 weeks of 2x/day). To respond to this comment, I did not give up hope. The pachys languished that year, but they came back the next year, and this year there is a robust patch, almost filling in the strip I planted them in. I will take a photo this week and post.

      In sum, I’d like to endorse this as a good way to propagate pachysandra. If you know someone with a flourishing patch, then use those as your source for cuttings. (In other words, no need to buy a tray from the nursery.)

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