|Astelia nervosa 'Westland' (centre) in 2006|
Astelia nervosa 'Westland' appealed to me from the very beginning with it's metallic, silvery-bronze, arching leaves which turns even darker in the heights of summer and again in the winter. A lovely looking, architectural plant from New Zealand that is rather undemanding in its growth requirements, naturally growing as a terrestrial epiphyte in its native habitat. And indeed it has been undemanding in its care, living in the same pot since 2005 and has been moved all over the place as a mobile display, from full sun to full shade and everything else in between. No special treatment either, almost bordering on being neglected with it being watered only when I remember to and feed it every so often (it is an epiphytic plant after all). And it never seemed to complain in all that time, looking happy and growing away and sailing through the some of the harsher winters we've had with very little damage...
|Back in 2006|
It started to look scruffy last year, perhaps due to the very cold winter earlier in that year or it's finally outgrown the size of the pot it is in and is showing signs of distress. Or it could be both. I don't know for certain but for a plant in a reasonably big pot which makes it very visible wherever I place it (bar placing it inside a shed) it is no longer serving its main purpose: looking good.
|Fast track to 2011|
In this case, the plant was very much alive, it was just looking very scruffy and despite leaving it for an entire year with extra year and it carried on being scruffy (if not looking worse) and it was testing my patience.
So I took the pragmatic route and made the decision to just let it go. Because of the awkward shape of the pot I had to trim it down to a stump and sever the roots before pulling it out. Perhaps I could have just divided what was pulled and tried to propagate from there but I thought it was too much time and hassle for it's worth.
Or was it worth it?
Normally when I have to get rid of a healthy plant I'm pretty stoic and self assured but with this one I felt a bit doubtful if it was the right thing to do or not, to just bin it just like that. After all, it is one of the original plants we had when we started this garden and there are associated memories attached to it. But I just did it anyway, thinking that I'll just be wasting my time if I keep hesitating what I will eventually do anyway.
So now it is gone and out, and I have an empty pot and I'm trying to decide now what to do with it.
|Out it goes, 2012|
So a blog post about one plant and one pot, so what? In this way it also demonstrates the general approach one has to take when it comes to managing a garden. Sometimes you have to be pragmatic and make decisions for the long term good of the garden or other plants you wish to keep, even if it means getting rid of plants that are still truly well and alive. It's not always nice to do and not for the faint hearted but it has to be done. A gardener is the steward of his own garden and is responsible for shaping it and caring for it, not just on individual plants but as a whole. For often what turns out unpleasant at first turns out for the better in the long run.
Like now I have more flexibility in re-arranging this little area without dragging a large pot of Astelia, and I have an empty pot ready to be filled with something new.