doodle by andre: it’s so regrettable


Y ES, AND THE CHECK IS IN THE MAIL, and that rose you’re about to buy is nonstop, that petunia self-cleaning, and the grass-seed mix? It’s low-mow! Uh-huh. Now how come I have flowerless moments and have to deadhead regularly and the only thing that’s nonstop here is the mowing? Oh, and there’s also the fact that my 20-year-old “dwarf” shrubs are not so little anymore. Thanks to Andre Jordan for another Thursday doodle, the perfect catalyst for a holiday weekend rant: What are your garden regrets? Grab a cold drink and let’s make a list together.

  1. Andrew says:

    Oh, that’s an easy one: this silly Franklinia! I knew exactly what I was getting into , but plant lust and a half-off price of $25 got the best of me. It’s still kicking, but I’m going to have to spray it with BT and Spinosad and horticultural oils every year. First winter moth, then aphid. Gah.

    Slightly less: a Pennisetum advertised as ‘Foxtrot,’ supposedly reaching 7 ft., actually ‘Moudry,’ a more restrained 2.5 ft. Still interesting, but the Buddleias I planted in front of it overtook it heightwise straight out of the gate.

  2. Ro says:

    Neo-gardener here…so, not too many regrets yet. But, I have two 4qt. pots of trumpet creeper that I am about to put into the ground. And I am shaking in my garden boots!! I’ve read all the horror stories of how these things have taken over fences, trees, houses and even eaten whole sheds alive. But, how could I resist the gorgeous flowers and the promise of hummingbirds in my garden? So I purchased “morning calm” from brushwood nurseries -a link I followed from here! And I am hoping “morning calm” is true to its claim and stays between 8-16’…not 30′-40′ …but I realize there is a good chance it may become my first real gardening regret!

  3. Abby says:

    Oh so many regrets! Like not yanking out the Canada thistle before the seed heads burst last year. Like letting the Queen Anne’s lace get a foothold. Like not recognizing all the volunteer honeysuckle growing all over my yard. Oh, and accidentally killing my Japanese maple. Oh, the humanity!

  4. woody plant girl says:

    Leaving my backyard basically unsupervised while I tackled the terracing of my front yard. It has taken me five years, but we now have NO grass. Of course, my backyard, once sunny, has been taken over by the magnolias that I was told in 5B would be only about 18 feet tall. I’m trying to get up my enthusiasm for another day of hacking my way back to some kind of order.

  5. Margaret says:

    Not starting earlier with trees and shrubs.

    Spending so much on plants but nothing on a watering system of some kind. (This year no hose-dragging required, just sump-pumps, but trusty helper Susan and I tote hundreds of feet around normally.)

    Ditto on plant-heavy use of $$$: Not paying to bury the phone and electric wires near the house. U-G-L-Y.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Susan from Food Blogga. Into every life a garden will fall..maybe just not right now. (BTW, I see that you are into potato salad, as are my crazy sisters at the moment this holiday weekend.) See you soon.

  6. april says:

    Not keeping up with planting seeds.
    Not starting seeds sooner.
    Not having a gazillion dollars to spend on new hydrants, drip system, rain barrels, plants, trees, mulch, dirt, tools……sigh

  7. patricia says:

    When you plant flowers, and then,when it rains like cats and dogs. Then you look out side,and relize your land is sum what a bog land.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Patricia. Did you say bog? I have just declared mine a swamp. Not sure I have ever seen it like this. Quite amazing, if it were not so sad. Oh, well…nothing quite like the smell of rotting flowers, right? See you soon.

  8. I can’t say that regret is the right word. Mistakes, yes. Disasters, yes. Seed starting, failure for sure. Tomatoes in pots, underwhelming without a doubt. But every one have been exciting in some way, a risk that didn’t pay off but that taught me an important lesson. Can’t regret that!

  9. rose says:

    Greed. Plant greed, that is. I buy little plants, because they are cheaper and I can buy more of them, knowing *full well* that they will get bigger. Then, because I am impatient (and stupid), I plant them too close together. The next year? Overcrowding. Then I repeat the cycle.

    Slow learner, I am.

  10. Ailsa says:

    Dwarf blue spruce by the front pathway. So cute and a nice colour accent within the bed but over the last few years, it has decided to jump up and out several feet, now crowding the walk. Dwarf – hmmf. Beware catalogues that say, “Growing to 4′ over a ten year period.” I can say that’s accurate but beware the growth spurt in year 11. Last winter I threatened to cut it down for a Christmas tree, but chickened out at the last minute. But, this winter, it may not be so lucky…

  11. Fred from Loudonville, NY says:

    To Ailsa…Years ago I had a blue spruce tree on the lawn of the house, I used to live in. It started to grow too big. I cut it’s terminal bud (the top most part of the tree where you might put an angel or star) and then proceeded to trim it’s tips, like I was trimming a foundation plant. By doing this, the tree, or bush will get thicker, but not bigger. I say “get out your hand pruners, and start!” Taking small bites at first (an inch at a time) all over, and then step back and take a good look at it, from all sides. Keep SLOWLY triming until you get it where you can live with it. Think of it as turning your spruce into a topiary of sorts. Go For it Gardener, you have nothing to loose!

  12. Steve Zick says:

    It’s a long list–fooling myself that I have enough son for roses, ignoring the multiflora rose until it stuck a greedy snout inside the front door like that briar in the Sleeping Beauty fable, planting the bishop’s weed despite Margaret’s warning, oh, and leaving the one picturesque old buckthorn to arch over my front walk because it has the look of a tree in an Arthur Rackham illustration, despite the fact that it produces at LEAST 1 million seedlings every spring…sigh.

  13. Nancy says:

    Insufficient research (or just not comprehending it fully), leading to acquiring plants that don’t have good characteristics for the situation (in spite of being just right in some ways) and are consequently a source of disappointment…
    …also, taking advice from people in garden centers who *seem* knowledgeable but are really answering questions without knowing the answers. Bleagh!

  14. Donalyn says:

    Like you Margaret, not getting some good backbone trees and shrubs in earlier. Not thinking about my color combos carefully enough – “Magnus” Coneflower is now proliferating joyously through my red/orange/yellow garden. Overbuying plants. Repeatedly.

  15. Laziness. Pure, unadulterated, laziness. That’s my big regret.

    I’m fairly new to gardening, I think I stink at it but I have high hopes. The peas I planted are growing very well and we’ll have a meal of them, the spinach has grown enough that I can make salad off of it, but I’m a total neophyte when it comes to what to plant where, what to buy, and what kind of ground cover will survive in our heavily shaded & trafficked (& tiny – we’re city folk) backyard.

    But mostly it’s the laziness.

  16. Margaret says:

    2 regrets: 1) Planting some veggies too close together and now they are merging into one giant blob and taking over nearby plants. 2) bunnies. they are cute anywhere but in my garden, then I am seized by bloodlust. Especially when I see that they have eaten my broccoli down to a naked stalk. Grrr.

  17. Ailsa says:

    To Fred from Loudonville (I feel like we’re taking part in some clandestine relationship…),
    The jist of your message got lost in my vision of you living in your blue spruce … so after re-reading, I realize you live in a house like the rest of us ;c)
    Yes, I have thought of doing what you suggest (in my training days called ‘candling’ — pinching off with your thumb and index finger the soft tips of new growth in the spring) but I feared too much bursting forth has happened already. But, now that I have sufficiently anthropomorphized it in my head, I will re-consider its fate and look at it with new ‘topiary’ eyes.

  18. Ivy Lane says:

    My regret currently is not reading up on which plants bloom when… and I have a color issue…. I need more colors in the garden…pop over to my blog if you get a chance today…i did a little post/garden walk…tooooo much purple going on….the black eyed susans are not open yet..but when then do..then it will be too much purple and yellow!!!! lordy!

  19. dave brogren says:

    Well over the years, this has been a theme that has cropped up more than once. This year it was the reality that our poblano/ancho peppers were really jalapeno peppers. So I guess our Mexican dishes are gonna be alot warmer this fall….

  20. Margaret says:

    Welcome, Margaret (wait, do you have me talking to myself now? Sounds like.). :) In visiting many nearby gardens this year, what I notice most of all is that people plant things really close in the vegetable garden. I used to do that more than I do now; now I am able to actually compost (or preferably give away) extra seedlings, not shove them all in. This has taken me far too many years to learn, but you point out a good lesson. (And as for bunnies, well, they are not welcome here, either.)

    Welcome, Annie. I love your statement: “I think I stink at it but I have high hopes.” I think you’ve got the bug, as that’s what drives us all to do this ridiculously challenging and time-consuming practice. I am lazier than I used to be; I can remember working so hard each day outdoors on weekends that I could not climb the stairs to go to bed at night. Now, I am a cloth by comparison. I pace myself, little bursts at a time.

    Welcome, Delia. (Of course your name makes me think of one of Johnny Cash’s darkest of songs, “Delia’s Gone,” which I am sure you have had said to you a billion times. Love Johnny Cash.) Moving along…”Backyard full of thick clay and weeds masquerading as lawn, difficulty making drifts, inability to draw a landscape on paper,” you say? Me, too. All of that. and more.

    See you all soon again.

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