I can't recall the exact date, but my intentions were good when I offered to design and plant a small garden on a hard packed piece of land, owned by a quarry, but doubling as a soccer field. .
The location wasn't close to ideal for planting. No irrigation, rocky soil, and a few hundred kids dribbling and drilling soccer balls right through it from Feb. to Oct.
But one of those kids was my daughter Maggie. I'd sit and watch her evening practice, two hours, three times a week, and figured a little landscaping would go a long way to my sanity after those tough days at the office.
Knowing the plants would be tested, I loaded it up with tough selections like Juniper, Echinacea, and of course, a cold hardy Southern Euc.
I chose Eucalyptus elliptica 'Grace' because I like its fast growth, white bark, durability, and dappled shade it would provide.
Maggie stopped playing soccer shortly after I finished the design, and I never really thought back to the quarry fields until just last week. I was in the area and a little voice inside my head prodded me to take a look.
I was disappointed to see the rough conditions of the fields and the little garden I planted. But, avoiding the poison ivy, I pressed on, and to my surprise, nothing (besides the poison ivy) had endured the heat and neglect except one plant.
The Eucalyptus elliptica 'Grace' was the sole survivor. Left for abandonment, with other plants known for toughness, it was "Grace Under Fire" in an onslaught of soccer, summer, drought, and debris!