When I last went to visit the Hellebore Queen, she directed me to a green pile in her backyard. "You can have all those beardtongues," she said.
"Cool! I like beardtongue. Teresa wants to put some in her "Charleston Garden." I hurried over to examine my bounty. "Um...how long ago did you pull these up?" I asked
"Probably a week," replied the Hellebore Queen. I wish I had known you liked them so much; I'd have put some water on them."
So these plants had been ripped out of HQ's garden and sat for a week in a pile in the June heat, albeit under the shade of a tree. (HQ's yard is mostly shade, which is why she gives me all her sun plants. Also, for some reason, she does not like red in her garden. I don't question her peculiarities; I just thank her for the plants.)
"They'll probably come back out them if you cut them really low," she said. I was dubious, but more often than not the Hellebore Queen is right about plants, so I made a little ICU ward in a mostly empty bed near the water hose, cut the plants back as directed, and waited. (Note the thick red clay that we have to work with here in the NC Piedmont.)
Did I mention keeping them watered? Because we haven't gotten any rain. Yesterday, I sat at my computer and watched the radar in disbelief as a dark-orange storm made a 270-degree circle around our part of town. Just across Bryan Boulevard at least an inch fell. Here--nothing.
The beardtongue struggled for a day or two, but then one morning the few remaining leaves seemed not quite so droopy. Or was it my imagination?
No...there are definite signs of life there, as evidenced by the new leaves on this stalk. Amazing, isn't it? Talk about a will to live.