Plants are telepathic. Not all of them and only certain thoughts, but I’m convinced it’s true. They know, for instance, when you are planning their demise and can respond accordingly. How else can you explain my ‘Golden Zest’ rose?
Last year, in preparation for major renovations, I was reviewing all my plants to get a jump on those I would be removing. The list was actually more draconian than I intended to be and several plants landed on it more as ‘watch’ than ‘remove’. ‘Golden Zest’ was one of those and I was quite upset over it as it was a lovely, yellow rose and had performed quite well previously. While I am not one to talk to my plants, my mental message could not have been clearer – shape up or ship out!
Fast forward to this spring. With no further intervention than my mental admonitions, this rose now has multiple healthy new canes and new growth on the one cane that survived the winter. I wouldn’t dream of ripping it out now.
Coincidence? I think not.
I’ve noticed over the years that this phenomenon only occurs when the gardener is genuinely considering mayhem. The attempt was made once to influence a perfectly healthy plant to greater performance and you can imagine the result. Bupkiss.
No, you must be in earnest in your intention to shovel prune the pathetic specimen before it picks up your vibe. And it doesn’t always work. Some plants are simply done and ready to shuffle off this mortal soil. Let them go; there are stronger-willed plants waiting to take their place.