If Only It Would Grow Here

This post, “If Only It Would Grow Here” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

What is it about humans that they always want what they cannot have?

As for me, I am for the most part very content and satisfied with my life, but there are plants that I want to have in my garden that just do not grow here.  The plant I most desire in my garden is the peony.  The large, double pink flowering ones, something like Bowl of Beauty.  I just drool over pictures of these plants in more northern gardens.  I am so jealous that my sister in northern Virginia can have them.  It just doesn’t get cold enough down here to grow them.  I have heard of a desperate New Orleans gardener who planted peonies, and then poured ice water on them every day in the winter to try and get them to grow and bloom.  I am desperate for peonies, but I am not that crazy.  I can accept reality.  So I grow double hibiscus instead.

Another plant that I lust after is the lilac.  Here, too, I see pictures of them in bloom, and I just ache for lilacs.  Large, pale purple, billowy, cone-shaped masses of flowers emitting a lovely fragrance.  I have often read in novels about lilacs blooming, and now I, too, want to experience this fragrant, gorgeous plant in my garden.  Alas, it is not to be.  Again, not enough cold for them to thrive and bloom.  So, here I grow vitex and crepemyrtle instead.

Something else I would love to grow is roses.  Oh, I can grow some roses here, but the heat and esp. the humidity causes many problems.  I want to grow the David Austins, the hybrid teas.  In other words, the ones that if planted here would have black spot in minutes and quickly succumb to our tropical heat waves that last 8 months of the year.  So, again, I grow the roses that do well here.  The Knockouts, Lady Banks, Mutabilis, Iceberg.

There are other plants I covet: lady’s mantle, astilbe, brunnera, campanula, delphiniums, lavender, lupines, and poppies.  Because I have to face facts, I know I can plant poppies and larkspurs in the fall, but they must be replanted every year.  They will not reseed, and since I am using more perennials this is disappointing.  However it  will give me a short time with them in the spring before the heat turns on.  The others I just have to be satisfied with pictures in magazines and books.

Even though I would love to be able to grow these plants, I don’t think I would change places with those that can.  When my sister came down in early March last year, she marveled at the blooming petunias in my garden.  Petunias are planted in the fall here.  She can’t grow camellias or gardinias like we can, and she misses that.  I like living in an area where it is possible to garden year round.

Which brings me back to my original question:  Why do we always want what we can’t have?  What are some of the plants you would love to grow but can’t?



  1. Carol said,

    February 4, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Hi, First time visit. What a lovely blog. I have both peonies and lilacs and they are as wonderful as you can imagine. Like most gardeners, I have a long list of plants I can’t grow but would like to, since I am zone 5. Camellias and southern magnolia are two that come to mind. I’m sure there are many others, and I read about them on all the blogs of you ‘southern gardeners’.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

    Carol, thanks for stopping by. I have enjoyed your blog for some time. Our camellias and magnolias are beautiful, and I am thankful I can grow them. Enjoy your peonies and lilacs.


  2. carolyn said,

    February 18, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Another zone 5 first time visitor here from Chicago. I think your sister is right -we all have garden zone envy in the cold harsh winters and wish we could grow half the things you can. We’ll certainly trade you !

    I really would like to grow some of the plants that need cooler nights than the Deep South can provide, but after seeing all the snow and freezing weather you all are getting, I don’t think I’ll trade.

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