doodle by andre: back to square one

HOW MANY MOMENTS LIKE THIS have we each had in our gardening lives? Moments when the mulch, just applied, by the next morning has run out of the beds and downhill after a flash storm, or the lawn we’d just cleared of winter’s debris is re-covered in it a day later when another swirling snow blows in. Moments when (fill in the blank with your latest mishap). Sometimes I feel like gardening is a series of what as kids we used to call “do-overs,” except I’m not sure I always want the second chance to do the thing again. I guess our dear doodling friend Andre Jordan agrees. You? Any back-to-square-one moments over there at your place lately?

  1. Kathy says:

    Little Henry Sweetspire!

    He was newly planted in the fall of ’09. Since then he’s had to endure a rat eating him to the ground, my husband accidentally stepping on him and one of my blue heelers reinacting my husband’s accident.

    She looked quite pleased with herself. At least my husband was sorry.

    Poor Little Henry!

    (The rat has been relocated ~ a RAT ~ who knew!)

  2. Jean Marie says:

    Yesterday afternoon I planted a small squash plant in a pot (yep, late, but since I found it in the garden center I thought I’d take a chance…). Last night DH was expending some of his excess ‘grump’ energy from a bad day at work while unloading some paneling for another project; he put a bit of extra oomph into sliding a piece into the stack and somehow flipped the pot completely upside down. I turned the pot back over and repotted it, checked that the stems were undamaged (I think they are.), so now it’s a ‘ wait n see’…

  3. Rachelle says:

    I expected an Andre cartoon character finishing weeding the end of one of many rows in a garden only to turn around and see the weeds as high in the first row as when he started! (It could even be a square foot garden with the first square back grown back.)

    We could use the rain here…

  4. Lynn says:

    I have two problems… I have/had a beautiful eggplant growing and the squirrel chiseled my fruit. I dumped all the bird seed. It was attracting squirels. We have great oaks..Last year they ATE all my tomatoes… 37 plants… not one tomatoe.
    How do I can get them to eat other things?

    The lawn is a nightmare… I was going to get rid of it in the back and create NO lawn.. however my golden retriever needs to run… the lawn is like a zipper… it has no roots. I plant baseball grass… what could I plant that would grow all over that isn’t lawn and not poisonous to my puppy dog?

    TX TX

  5. hnybnch says:

    Oohhhh, last year’s lawn “rejuvenation.” Dry summer, forecasts of rain never materialized in August, finally decided to go for it Labor Day weekend when we cancelled because a hurricane was forecast. No hurricane, no rain. Finally just did it – laid down the seed and hand watered. Well, it was obviously not enough to ensure good germination. Then the rains came a week later and washed it all out (this is a difficult hillside). Raked back the dirt, put in more dirt and more seed and yep, got more torrential rain. So we’ve lived through a green enough spring, now have a little less crabgrass than last year and are ready to start again August 15. Could history repeat itself?

  6. Joanna says:

    This year has been a catalogue of back to square ones, all because of a month without rain, which here in Latvia is not normal for June. My carrots are only just poking through now, so is my hamburg parsley, my nasturtiums decided to make a reappearance after I thought they had died amongst the basil I planted in their place. Our pumpkins, all but one keeled over and they were watered but wondering if the water was too acidic, however, the two that sprouted from the manure heap are doing well. About three parsley plants sprouted and the sorrel is nowhere to be seen. The spinach bolted but that’s par for the course, but so did the first radishes which is not fair.
    I think that’s about it but only because we sat back and waited for the rains to come before planting any other seeds.

  7. the_matt says:

    Only yesterday came home from work after a massive storm to find the cucumber tripod blown over, taking down 4 or 5 staked tomatoes with it; on the upside, it prompted me to get out there and better reinforce everything, finally take out all that arugula that’s been flowering for weeks. And I think only one tomato will actually be lost (pretty terribly split the stem).

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, the_matt. Last year my bean teepee went down in a windstorm, just as the main harvest was under way. This year I planted fewer seeds by each leg of the thing to try to make it a little less precarious, and anchored it extra-well (or so I think). Fingers crossed.

  8. Katherine says:

    I clear my patio out of all the leaves, pine needles and mulch only to have a swift breeze come back in and blow all of the neighbors needles and leaves right back in! I fear that my patio and outdoor rug are never clean for long!! I am constantly replacing the mulch all over my garden!! Ugh!

  9. oh gosh does this hit home right now. The fir trees are dropping buckets of debris on the patio and potted plants, as are the blooming privet. I can sweep it all up and then have to repeat again the next day. If I don’t keep on it then it becomes an even bigger chore.

  10. Lisa @ Life in Green says:

    This was self-inflicted…but last year I spot sprayed the lawn for creeping charlie. Little did I know there must have been round up in my sprayer at one time and actually killed everything where I sprayed.

    This year I have lots of creeping charlie….but I’m not spraying. I don’t like chemicals anyways and obviously have bad luck trying to control the weeds in the lawn.

    Strategy from here on out is to make more garden space and less lawn space!

  11. Martina Pet says:

    My hockey-loving boyfriend was intent on making my farm pond an ice rink last year. He spent a good portion of last winter refiling it through a crazy series of taped up hoses, which barely stretched thru the giant yard to the pond. He then finagled a way for the water to pour into the pond thru an old kiddie pool, to avoid having the fresh water stream drill a hole in the carefully tended ice. After he built up enough layers of ice to sufficiently widen the pond, he then bought an enormous squeegee to use an erstaz Zamboni to smooth out the ice. After weeks and weeks of diligent work, it was finally as he’d planned – a lovely smooth ice rink! We skated but a few times, and then it snowed…..and snowed and continued to snow for the rest of the winter and we never got to skate on it again. Sigh. I do wonder if he’ll give it another try this year….

  12. Terri H. says:

    This takes me back to a very sad event… my husband and I lived on 50 acres for a year and a half. He bought a used tractor & used manure spreader. The night after his very first stab at planting a field (watermelons), a violent storm washed them all out.

    He got disheartened, and when a job offer in another state came his way he took it. The crop failure wasn’t the only reason; a lot of things went bad for us that year. But he still regrets leaving that place behind.

  13. Margaret K. says:

    It’s the deer…always the deer. Despite multiple lines of defense a fawn came through and even ate things he shouldn’t have (foxgloves!). Then there was the rose bush my husband ripped out because he thought it was a wild raspberry! What the heck??!!! After alot of TLC, it actually even has a bud now.

  14. Judi C says:

    The gas company came to put in a new meter(outdoors) It is hideously ugly…My Hubby was trying to be nice so he dug up my very large lavender plant that I have been babying for 5 years. It was in the path of the gas company shovel. He knows I love this plant, Well when he transplanted it, It wasn’t having any of that……it died. I tried everything but plant CPR, So Hubby is feeling guilty and I am moarning the loss. I did get several sachets out of it(how very Martha of me). I need something a lot larger to hide the monster,,,,so I bought a Cedar tree to plant there it is a golden cedar in memory of my lost lavender. It is my second chance, We always have do-overs in the garden.

  15. Deborah says:

    The weeding of course is always a ‘do-over’, although it does get easier this time of year with less rain and the more mature plants are shading out some of the weeds. In my perennial beds now, I only pull the weeds that demand my attention, like the 3′ tall goldenrod that I finally notice in the middle of the daylilies. Sensitive fern that I dug out of the shade garden ever so carefully last year is back and needing another attack. I seem to be winning the battle against the bishop’s weed in one bed, after a year of black plastic, only a few to dig out 3 or 4 times. Meanwhile the raspberry fence is a complete jungle, and my carefully mulched blueberries need a couple days of weeding, but the rewards are great this time of year!

  16. gretchen says:

    this past monday, having congratulated myself on a (finally) tidy garden and deck, we had a straight-line windstorm of epic proportions. branches came down, debris everywhere. sigh. back to square one. however, i dare not complain too much as another nearby eastern iowa town lost HALF of their trees. very, very sad.

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Gretchen; you are right, so many places have such dire conditions this year. But I am always fascinated that just when I think, “I got the xxxx area cleaned up,” the next onslaught falls from the sky, blows in, etc., as if on cue. Keeps us on our toes, I suppose. :)

      Hi, Margaret. The deer can’t really get into my place any longer (fence) but wow, when they could, it was torture. Now they lurk outside the gate as if planning a maneuver…hope they don’t figure out a secret way in.

  17. Deirdre says:

    Last November, temperatures in my garden went down to single digits (unusual in Seattle) without even having a hard frost first. Nothing was hardened off. I had a lot of rare species rhododendrons and other shrubs killed to the ground. Thankfully, we had some snow cover, or they’d have been killed completely, My Edgeworthia ‘Akebono’ was killed. It will be a long time before they fill their function in the landscape.

  18. Lynn says:

    You guys sound like you have been through ringers…. between animals and weather. In Long Island we past the1st heat wave .. sun is so strong it bleaches out the chloroform in my green leaves. The purple petunias and red salvia are ALL white.

    At least we have NOT seen a twister in Roslyn like we got last year or horrible hail, as yet!

    Long Island’s weather has become active in the last 2 years. I have bad vibes for Hurricane season…

  19. Kate says:

    I’ve got moles or something IN MY RAISED BEDS! So far, I’ve lost carrots, squash, and sage. I’m so angry right now because I noticed my brand new Peppermint Twist Phlox (which is not in a raised bed and is on the other side of the yard) was destroyed by a similar varmint. It was just getting to be gorgeous! It’s been a bad day today . . .

    I’ve had raised beds for several years and this is the first time I’ve had any kind of pest like this!

    If anyone has any advice, I’m all ears!!!

  20. meg says:

    Discovering my 8 foot tall sunflower’s head dangling by a thread beause some pest ate it. It was almost blooming!

  21. Tammy says:

    My do overs this year are a result of bunnies. I had two margarita potato vines stripped to the ground by them. I falsely accused the lawn guy of whacking them with the weed eater (Andre that sounds like a doodle) only to see them (two) out on the lawn the next evening munching away.. oops!

  22. Dee says:

    I guess I’m the oddball here, but my do-over brought success. The bed where I have always planted my hot weather stuff produced sick plants and no food last year, so this year, I planted flowers there and built new raised beds for peppers and tomatoes. I have both! The do-over was worth the extra work, although I grumbled at the time.

  23. Margaret K. says:

    Margaret, I read about your deer fence in your wonderful book! It is on my list of “must haves” when I finally get to do what you’ve done and move to my Wisconsin Northwoods paradise for good. In the meantime my motion detector sprinklers work pretty well. I, too, have also had many successful do-overs…that’s the wonder of gardening!

  24. Shawn K says:

    For me, Andre’s doodle immediately reminded me of my big adventure in hybridizing my own daylilies. The previous summer I had carefully gone out and pollinized my plants and made my crosses, tagging each one so I could remember the parent plants. Then watching, waiting to harvest the seed pods, collecting them, tricking them into dormancy and dry storing them over the winter until spring. I had saved my birthday money and gotten a special seed starter from gardeners.com and a grow light and I was excited to plant my seeds and watch them grow. Well, soon enough my seedlings germinated. Fast forward two more years, my first year of hybrids finally mature enough to bloom. One of them has a great big stalk of blooms on it.

    My heart is racing with exhiliration, counting the days until I can see the fruits of my 3 year labor. I have prepared my garden journal, the digital camera stands charged and ready to capture the first bloom from my very own creation. The next morning I awake, giddy, like a kid at Christmas time wandering out in my poplin snowman pajama pants into the yard to check to see if any of the blooms have matured enough to open yet (they hadn’t). To my great horror, I see the fat neighborcat preparing to scamper down from the top of my fence and sure enough, he lands on the stalk of blooms snapping it cleanly in two.

    Time stood still. Shock, horror, thoughts of (if you are member of PETA, please skip the next few words) cat murder crossing my mind. I exhaled slowly, crouching down, cradling the broken stalk of flowers in my hands. I realized at that moment, there was nothing I could do. No garden journal, digital camera put away, I sulked.

    There was no choice but to wait another year for this do-over. {sigh}

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