Tiger swallowtail butterfly on butterfly bush. Photo by Steve Bender.

RIP, butterfly bush. You bloomed nonstop for me this summer without a single complaint. Then today, you died for no discernible reason. Is Grumpy upset? Nope. Want to know why?

Death in a garden is a good thing. Well, death of plants, anyway. Think about it. If everything you ever planted in your garden lived indefinitely, your garden would soon be stuffed fuller than the stomach of Joey Chestnut, the world's hotdog eating champion. No place to plant anything new. Which means you'd be looking at the same, old boring plants year after year.


Grumpy likes to try new things. But unless something in my garden croaks (or gets ripped out for failing to perform -- an unpardonable sin), there is no place to plant. Right now, I have two dwarf blueberries, a dwarf crepe myrtle, and three new hydrangeas sitting in pots on the driveway waiting for a spot to open up. Not to mention a really cool dwarf pomegranate from our Southern Living Plant Collection called 'Orange Blossom Special' that blooms continuously from spring through fall.

But wait -- something just died. My butterfly bush. Grumpy gives thanks.

Why Did My Plant Die? Sometimes the reason is obvious. The deer ate it. The RV ran over it. I forgot to water for a year. I accidentally set fire to it. A meteor fell on it.

But sometimes plants croak for no apparent reason. Up until a few days ago, my butterfly bush looked fine. It was blooming. The foliage looked fine. No bugs. No leaf spots. No gnawing rodents. No wilting foliage.

Then one branch suddenly died. The next day, the whole plant died. I don't know why. Maybe it had accomplished everything in life that it wanted and was ready for that big compost pile in the sky.

Do I mourn for it? No. Because now I can plant something else.