doodles by andre: what gardeners regret

SOMETIMES IT’S THE PLANT WE BOUGHT (as in “wrong plant, wrong place,” above); other times the cause of our gardener’s lament-bordering-on-shame is a little trickier, more the stuff you’d have to sort out by the 50-minute hour, on the couch. Over the years Andre Jordan, my doodling friend, has reminded me of more than just a few of my horticulturally induced regrets, including these:

SOMETIMES IT’S that we, ahem, overdid it just a tad (not that such a thing has ever happened to me).

A COROLLARY of overdoing it: when we buy more things than we can keep an eye on (especially in a dry year like this one, when you can practically hear the newly planted babies screaming across the yard for relief, and you can’t water fast or deeply enough).

I‘VE TRIED getting help; I have. Somehow, though, when that first seed catalog arrives in my mailbox, or spring springs at the garden center, I just can’t seem to control myself and I slip right back into my old ways.

I‘VE EVEN MADE LISTS and contracts with myself, promising to behave differently, to head off any possible regrets at the pass. But, no; it never quite helps–or if it does, the improvement in my bad behavior is short-lived. (Note to Andre: I do manage to wash regularly, thank you very much.)

OF COURSE, some of our garden regrets have nothing do do with plants whatsoever–unless you count the juniper berries in that third gin martini, or the agave in that margarita, or the hops in one too many beers. I regret misbehaving in all these ways, I truly do–but the likelihood of my acting differently in seasons to come? Slim to none (well, I don’t drink, but as for stopping plant excesses…).

And you?

  1. Melkorka says:

    Ha! these cartoons made me laugh – especially the 1.wash, 5.wash

    – I quite literally look like charles shultz’s ‘Pigpen’ working outside sometimes – especially now that it has been so dry and dusty! Really love your blog and the wealth of tips you provide – the best gardening blog I have found so far!


    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Irvin, and thank you. Love a dose of Andre’s doodles when the summer weather is getting me down.

      Hi, Melkorka, and thank you for the kind words, too. Pigpen would be a NICE description for what I look like after a summer day in the garden. :)

      See you both soon again, I hope.

    2. Helen Malandrakis says:

      So funny. I can relate to the full time gardener. During the growing season, it’s all I think about!

  2. Deborah Banks says:

    Love them all! I confess, on a day I can spend in the garden, I’m guilty of deciding to wait until after my hours in the garden for my shower, and that always seems to be the day that my favorite neighbors stop by or my husband’s business partner.

  3. Stevie says:

    How about “Remember to get dressed before going to the garden.” Because lots of times, I run out in the morning in my PJs to just “check on things” or do some early watering or grab a few fresh veggies before the bugs are out and don’t realize until the post man pulls up in the afternoon to hand me my mail that he is about to get an eyeful. Again. :)

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Stevie. Oh, that has NEVER happened to me (right). :) The worst thing is if it’s the UPS man — meaning around 3 PM! Then I know I really lost track of all reality. See you soon again, I hope.

  4. Jason says:

    How about “Resist the temptation to start weeding and pruning in your neighbor’s yard. Also do not engage in creeping annexation by moving your flower beds into your neighbor’s lawn a few inches at a time.” Not that I’m admitting anything.

    Very enjoyable post.

  5. Linda says:

    Had to laugh out loud at 1. Wash & 5. Wash. Came home from the grocery store yesterday evening, after having spent the day in the garden, and noticed when I looked in the mirror that I had tons of black grime in the crease that runs all the way across the center of my neck. Looked like I hadn’t bathed in months!

  6. Dahlink says:

    The “dwarf” plant reminds me of my grandmother who was famous for her green thumb. Nothing “dwarf” that she planted ever stayed dwarf!

  7. Lisa-St. Marys ON says:

    Oh the washing, yes very embarrassing going to the grocery store looking like I rolled in mud, and then coming home with plants instead of food. I had to reread the not talking to your friends’ plants. I was thinking that the plants wouldn’t understand because they don’t normally get talked to. It took me a while to figure out the friends wouldn’t understand.

    1. Emily says:

      Exactly! It felt like one of those “you know you’re a gardener when…” things: You know you’re a gardener when you think the admonishment not to talk to your neighbor’s plants ‘because they won’t understand’ refers to the fact your neighbor’s plants are less likely to be on your wave-length than your own plants are, rather than that your neighbors might be narrow minded enough to squint dubiously at you for being amiable and neighborly to their plants!

  8. margaret says:

    Hi, Rose. Glad to help. Andre’s doodles always make me feel better, too. And goodness knows the regrets list is stacking up over here… :) See you soon again, I hope.

    1. margaret says:

      Oh, Lydia, my shoes…well, let’s just say none are very “good” at this point. And yes, sprinklers count. Dousing your hair with the hose when it’s so hot you can’t go on another minute weeding or mowing counts as a hair-wash, too.

  9. Rita says:

    Okay, doodle me this. I put on normal gardening clothes except, just this once in early spring, I’ll wear my swimsuit top to get a “little sun.” Three hours later, “Why is back burning?” Oh no! Again?

  10. Nadine Feldman says:

    I read this shortly after glancing down at my fingernails. Oops! Apparently I didn’t get those gardening gloves on soon enough (again).

    These doodles are hilarious. Like others, the wash and wash resonate (obviously). I also recently hired someone to help me with weeding, and I’m going through the “I’m so ashamed” part, even as his help is proving invaluable. I can’t do it alone if I’m going to do anything else all day, and I got tired of nagging my husband, who just isn’t into it!

  11. Kathy says:

    I just attend a lecture on woodland, native, and wicked rugged perennials; my plants are daylilies, shasta daisies, and heucheras surrounding a mailbox. The lecture, I expected, would introduce many new plants. My bad habits are saying “yes” what the lecturer mentions and providing additional information. Heucheras are wicked rugged perennials but he had trouble with light color plants; my Snow Angel heuchera survives winter 2014-15 at the lake. After the lecture, one lady asked to see my garden and then I realized which garden, the mailbox, the lake, or daylily bed. I picture myself as a doll with the head “bouncing up and down”.

  12. Margaret-Ann says:

    re: can I get a refund?
    I used to run a nursery and this was an appallingly common question – even to the point of ‘I bought twenty hedging plants a year ago and one has died…’
    A common problem here is with Australian native plants. Our soils have particularly low levels of phosphorus and our natives have adapted accordingly, thus having very low tolerance to any phosphates.
    If you’re trying to grow Australian natives, please do not add phosphate-based fertilisers. They will kill or, at best, stunt your babies badly. The same goes for grey water. Those soapy suds are a death sentence.
    I’m not sure if Australian native potting mixes and fertilisers are available in the U.S., but these are the recommended options.
    Just so you know…

  13. Tracy says:

    I, too, love the “wash” reminders. I realized today that after weeding for five days straight, I have perma-dirt encrusted in the cracks of my calloused skin on the sides of my weeding fingers. I have worn a nail brush down the the nubs and I still look like I have 30 years of nicotine stains on my fingers…pathetic.

  14. masongreene says:

    Never Ever apologize for your work attire or where you find yourself wearing it. I celebrate being a “dirty girl” and all that results from it. Love me love my work. I do wash and always present well for scheduled appointments or events. So glad that I now have electronic meter reading not on site. The meter readers along with the occasional UPS delivery man never fail to catch me at my worst.

  15. Lucy says:

    Andre’s doodles are so touching, and kind!

    ‘I’m Lucy’ with a very worn collection of pruners, close at hand …
    1- wash 5- wash … thank heavens for the outside shower.
    Wander out, then stay out, in the PJs all too often (Andre: a doodle?)
    Seem to have a propagation thing, with cuttings everywhere (oh, pruning … )
    … and there’s more.

    Am I a “real” gardener, after all … ?

  16. Sharon B. says:

    Margaret — I bet even a non-drinking gardener like you would enjoy my home-made fennel liqueur, made from the bulb, fronds, seeds, and other secret ingredients. Just a nip after a big meal…..

  17. Lake charles says:

    I’m not a nail polish fan, except for my toes, from May to October, when I keep them some charming dark color. You can guess why. Sincerely, The Barefoot Gardener
    Ps. Glad you agree the hose can count as a shower!

  18. Chella says:

    It is really true that most people buy more things than they can keep an eye on. It makes the eyes happy at first but you end up asking what’s the use of this?

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