Mon Davidia est mort

Mon Davidia est mort, je suis désolé.  This is probably a bad translation, I only achieved CSE grade 2 in french whilst at school.  I have probably spoken french more since leaving school than I did when I was there, however I digress.  For some reason the declaration of the death of a tree just seemed better in french.

The heatwave may have claimed its first significant victim in my garden.  This is causing me some upset.  My Davidia tree is probably best described as a twig, it was not large and not very old at all, but it was thriving rather well.  I was cherishing it as it is a tree I really want to have in my garden.  As soon as I realised that it was starting to wilt I started to water it.  I think the soil where it is planted is not the thick heavy clay that most of my garden has, but is actually quite a free-draining, almost shaley bit of ground.   I think that this has contributed greatly to the problem as none of my other trees/shrubs, even ones planted earlier this year, are suffering in quite the same way.
So I am watering it every day now.  Every day it gets a watering can full of water.  Now I worry I might have drowned it! 

There is a big problem with this tree dying, bigger than may first appear.  I have a rule about plants that is designed to stop me throwing good money after bad.  It is a strict rule and I do observe it rigidly.  I can only try a maximum of three times to establish a plant.  Of course I am talking perennials, trees, shrubs etc.  It would not work if I applied this rule to annuals; except even with them if I know that last year they were pretty poor I will not bother again.  So, a golden rule, no more than three attempts and then I give up on a plant and declare it not for my garden.
So yes, you've guessed it, this is my third Davidia.  The first one just sorted of died.  The second one got snapped off at the root by I think a dog that got into my garden (in the same incident a Cercis also got snapped, that is a whole other story).  So this is Davidia number 3.  Now, as I did not kill number 2 do I count it in the rule?  Should I cheat and say that number 2 was an 'act of god (dog)' and beyond my control and therefore not a planting death?  Yet Davidia's are not cheap?  I cannot keep buying them if they do not want to grow for me.

Decisions, decisions; but not a decision I need to make today.  I have lots of time to think about this as it is not tree-planting time of year yet.  I shall see how it goes, see if the Davidia retains any sparks of life and might yet survive.  If it is dead I have to consider where-else in the garden I might try to plant one and I am not sure I can think of such a space at the moment.  I have a Davidia-place, there is a (deadish) Davidia in it.  I shall have to reassess.

ilest- ainsi il le quatrième temps chanceux ?


  1. Dear Papaver
    I have a very crispy weigela in my garden, with some brown leaves. It has not enjoyed the blazing hot sun we had over the last two weeks. I have been watering it and am hopeful it may be OK, but I'll have to wait and see. If you love the Davidia (and I think you do), then I would give it one more attempt. Perhaps add some water retaining granules or richer soil which may hold water better when you plant the new one? Whatever you decide, good luck!
    Gardening includes a constant reassessment of planting, which is one of its many joys, I think. It is such a positive occupation too - if something fails, you can try again or try something else and, of course, "there is always next year!"
    Best wishes

    1. Thanks, I am still watering it, I live in hope!

  2. My condolences... :(

    I guess I should probably not invest in a Davidia then, considering that our Midwestern summers are usually consistently scorching with many consecutive weeks with not a drop of rain, even if this year by some wonderful miracle it has been raining almost daily.

    1. It might need more rain than you can offer sadly.

  3. The second attempt definitely doesn't count.


  4. First - love your French. Second - so sorry about the tree. Giving a plant three tries is more patience than I have! Once bad or dead - then no more of that one in the garden! It was good to visit you again today - but not so happy. Jack

  5. I have the same rule, and I can tell you that Anne is absolutely right- the second death doesn't count. That tree did not give up and die - it was murdered. I do hope your third one survives, though.

  6. I think you may find that your tree will survive, give it time and it might sprout new leaves, it may surprise you yet! No, I don't think the second one counts as you didn't do the killing!!

  7. I think your Davidia will return with a vengance next year. My six foot one didn't suffer much in the searing heat this year and managed to put on at least a foot of growth. I also forgot to water it until very recently. When I was researching to buy one a lot of information pointed to them taking an extrordinary amount of time to germinate then making up for it in the amount of growth they can make in the early years.

    I am in West Cambridgeshire - planted in clay soil in full sun. I initially put down a whole 25kg bag of fertilised compost which was mixed by the local 'real nursery'.

  8. Thanks all for the encouraging words. We have had constant rain here for days and I am still checking the Davidia daily for signs of life.


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