A Hospital for Plants?

plant hospital

Because I love plants and blogging, I am constantly taking pictures.  As a result, I have quite a lot of photos to go through and it can be a week or two (okay sometimes a few months), before I get to them.

Well, since it has been rather cold outside and I haven’t had to do much of anything in my garden, I decided to be productive and go through some of my photos that I had taken in the fall.

I was contacted by a former co-worker who asked me to do a consult of his mother’s garden.  When he gave me her address, I was thrilled that she lived only 5 minutes away from my house.  

His mother was quite a delightful person and was a native of France.  Her garden reflected her European roots.  She had many different types of plants focusing mainly on plants native to Europe. 

As I was leaving, I passed by a large Willow tree and underneath it’s canopy, I spotted a glimpse of an assortment of potted plants.

Hospital for Plants

As I looked more closely, I could see that many of these plants had seen better days.  In fact, it was a very motley group of plants.

Hospital for Plants

Hospital for Plants

Her son, seeing my questioning glance, explained that his mother had a huge soft spot for struggling and sometimes dying plants.

She would often peruse the discount sections of nurseries (including some big box stores) where sickly plants would be for sale.  She would then take them home where she worked hard to nurse them back to health.

The filtered shade from the willow tree provided protection from the sun and the wind, which was the perfect micro-climate for these plants to try to recuperate.

Although she had some failures, she did have quite a few successes.

Hospital for Plants

 The basil plant above did so well that it’s roots had grown into the grass underneath.

Seeing this plant hospital got me to thinking…..do any of you like to rescue plants?  What type of ‘hospital’ do you have for them?

I would love to hear your stories 🙂

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Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
9 replies
  1. Darla
    Darla says:

    Oh Noelle, I am the biggest plant rescuer I know…My husband shakes his head at me everytime we go to the store together. I either go directly to the distressed rack or ask if there is one. One of my prettiest butterfly bushes was rescued and right now I have the prettiest container of African Daisies that I recently rescued and some Stock for .50 a piece that are setting buds….

  2. Rose
    Rose says:

    I'm afraid my plant rescue efforts haven't been out of the kindness of my heart but out of frugality:) I do love finding something on the clearance rack that looks as though it's seen better days and then have it thrive with some attention.

    Sorry to see your tomatoes didn't make it, Noelle, but I think it was worth the experiment.

  3. Bangchik
    Bangchik says:

    So far we nurse plants in our own garden, no walk in patients yet. Getting sickly plants from nurseries, bring back life in them is a novel idea….. ~bangchik

  4. Curbstone Valley Farm
    Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    Although I'll attempt to rescue an occasional favorite in my landscape when things go awry, usually my hospital is in the form of a compost bin (depending on the malady of course). I usually find I can propagate a new one, before I can nurse one back to health. Her basil looks lovely though!

  5. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    I have friends and family, who ask me to take a plant home and nurse it back to health.I also bring the green plants home from Church once in a while to give some TLC to.Now we have a "plant lady" whose job it is to keep the green plants looking good.I have a little section in the shade that is my nursery for baby plants.Balisha

  6. Ginny
    Ginny says:

    I am always "rescuing" plants from the big box store. In fact, half my plants are rescues. A portion of my deck is shaded by an upper deck and sheltered from wind as well and that's usually where I put my plants that need nursing. I've lost a few but generally have had good success.

  7. Msrobin
    Msrobin says:

    I have a plant hospital for my house plants in my bonus room. Nothing much going in their except the treadmill, so if they are failing they go in there to recuperate. It keeps them isolated from the other plants in case of infestation! Sometimes they recover, sometimes they don't!

  8. Kristine
    Kristine says:

    We purchased a few lantanas from [local nursery] last year, and as we were leaving, I was browsing their shelves of potted plants. I wanted one in a small white pot because it would look nice in our kitchen, so I picked out a sad little succulent in the back row simply because I liked the pot! The guy at the checkout said "sheesh, I won't even charge you for that one…it's not even going to make it!" Several months later, my doomed (and free!) succulent is happily growing in my windowsill.

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