01 July 2006

Finding the Right Elevation

Charlotte and I are spending our first summer at our home west of Evergreen, CO. We've planted a few flowers and things but many have failed to thrive at our high altitude - 8500 Ft. The conditions are far more arid than we expected, and the sun is extremely intense.

Last time at the nearby garden center, we noticed that many of the plants have altitudes written on their descriptions - the altitude given being the highest at which they are recommended to be planted and beyond which they will likely not do well. Some plants don't do well below a certain elevation either. So we it dawned on us that we had been trying to grow things at our house that are just not meant to grow there. I mean we knew we couldn't grow palm trees but with enough Miracle-Gro we figured anything was possible. You'd think we'd have guessed all this by the relative scarcity of undergrowth to the towering pines - much of our land is just plain ol' dirt with trees sticking out of it.

Charlotte and I had to readjust our view of what a garden should look like, deciding to aim for a garden that would thrive in these harsh conditions without much more assistance than the occasional watering through a period of drought. We brought home bunches of Irish and Scottish mosses and grasses and things that will love the rocks, bright sun and early snows. Seems odd to think of snow here on the first of July - but the snows come early and stay late.

We have bags of mountain hardy meadow flower seeds to scatter with abandon in the fall - they will sleep under the winter snows and burst forth when the time is right for them next spring. We killed a few plants by planting too early this year as well...

Which brings me around to the thought that people are similarly sensitive. Difficulties arise when we try to make ourselves thrive in an environment that just isn't right for us. But the Miracle Gro we turn to is more likely to be harmful for us - alcohol, overeating, bad relationships, pretending to be what we are not/denying our true selves, or [your Miracle Gro item here]. All help us survive at the wrong elevation, but we won't thrive.

A sad life for a plant or a person.


No comments: