Twenty-three more. That was the count last week as I spent a vacation day performing another plant culling.
Friends often say to so-called expert gardeners: "You must have a green thumb; everything you touch just seems to grow."
Not so. I suspect the truth is something quite different. Good gardeners kill plants, too — lots of them, and probably more plants than novice gardeners. Partly that's because they have more plants to kill. It's also because they are more adventurous with their plant inventories and take bigger risks in their plant choices.
But I'm also certain that experienced gardeners kill a lot more plants simply because they don't invest as much time trying to resuscitate unhappy plants; not nearly as much time as novice gardeners, who are beset by the agonizing guilt of a plant's failure.
Mistakes don't stop good gardeners; they just make them smarter. They note the failure, remove the victim and move on, ready for the next challenge. A good gardener can sniff out other good gardeners pretty quickly by taking a peek at their compost pile or rubbish bin. If there is a half-decomposed campanula or a sad penstemon poking out, odds are they're a pretty seasoned and experienced gardener.