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My Stupidest Gardening Mistake - or- We Were Once All Newbies

11 years ago

I stole this thread from the perennials forum. We need to remember that everyone makes mistakes.
Enjoy - chrisMD.

My Stupidest Garden Mistake......
Posted by NymphaeaRosa Z5/6 NJ (My Page) on Sat, Feb 9, 02 at 1:30

I'm an "intermediate" gardener I would say. I've been spending a LOT of time physically participating in gardening for about three years now (since I bought my home) and I spent....uh... more years than I care to mention watching my grandmother and father garden. I thought a good way to make "newbies" really comfy would be for other gardeners to share some stories about dumb mistakes they've made over the years (stop me if this has been done! PERISH I should be passe!)


I could not LIVE without crocus! Just when winter grey is really getting to me...ta dah...there they are all perky and colorful! Just two years ago I planted about 350 of them (I'm not kidding...I mean I NEED crocus!)in my small front lawn. Well, my lawn was full of OPEN holes the next day since the squirrels ate nearly every one of them. I asked everyone I knew WHAT kept squirrels away. I was told kitty litter, dried blood, fox urine and mothballs. So...overdoing it again...I bought ALL FOUR things and mixed up a BIIIIIG batch of this foul smelling concoction. Then I replanted a few hundred MORE crocus but...duhhhh...I didn't know I was supposed to put all this vile stuff ON TOP of the ground to keep away the squirrels so I planted the crocus WITH heaps of the mothballs, etc. right on TOP of them...

I think about 12 crocus came up this year in my lawn.
PS Dried blood can be used as a fertilizer...hadda be the mothballs.

Posted by: Iris_gal z9 CA (My Page) on Sat, Feb 9, 02 at 1:52

Humorous now, but not then. I had a salad ready for company but had forgotten to pull up green onions earlier in the day. I knew where they were in the dark and in the kitchen began slicing - hmmm, don't look quite right - a taste confirmed they were not onions! I'd pulled up young Dutch iris. The 2 are not planted in proximity now.

Posted by: PattiA6290 7b ) on Sat, Feb 9, 02 at 8:17

A friend of mine had her son-in-law plant several hundred tulips for her one year. That next spring none of them came up. Miffed she was gonna return them to the nusery where she buys all of her plants. After she started digging them up she notice he had planted them all up side down. lol

Posted by: ilovecountrylife z5 MI (My Page) on Sat, Feb 9, 02 at 14:44

the very first year I started gardening was when I bought my first house. The previous owner had a 3' by 3' bed where she started seeds. I decided I was going to make it into a herb garden. I bought $50 worth of herb plants, chives, basil, tarragon, thyme, oregano, sage, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. I planted them ALL in that little tiny 3'X 3' bed. Needless to say they crowded each other out and only the strongest few survived. I still laugh when I think about it.

Posted by: Karenga 7 (My Page) on Sat, Feb 9, 02 at 20:07

What a great post!! I make many many mistakes, so now I feel a little better. I tried digging up tulip bulbs one year, speared every one but two. I don't bother with them anymore!! Planted a wildflower bed, then heavily mulched it. Tried starting some seeds in flats, forgot the drainholes. Planted some huge flowers at the front of my border. Just a few examples. Unfortunately that is just scratching the surface. ha ha.

Posted by: Janet 5 SE MI (My Page) on Sat, Feb 9, 02 at 20:51

So many mistakes! Sunlovers in shade, tall in front, weeding out plants I want, I can go on and on!

Posted by: plantynut 7 Long Island (My Page) on Sun, Feb 10, 02 at 8:23

I admired Carpet Rose in my favorite nursery for 2 summers. Finally last summer I bought one and put it in a flower bed in front of my house. What a mistake. It was too sprawling, the thorns are killers and flowering was less than spectacular. I plan to yank it this spring.

* Posted by: Karen_in_4 Mpls 4 (My Page) on Sun, Feb 10, 02 at 8:32

Was cleaning up the seeds shed by my Dutch Elm tree off the sidewalk. Thinks I to myself, "We don't throw away things that can decompose and turn to dirt." So I throw hundreds and thousands of seed pods onto my rock garden. Spent the entire remainder of the summer pulling little elm tree sproutings out of the garden. Doh!

* Posted by: Shirleb 7b TX (My Page) on Sun, Feb 10, 02 at 9:40

I have made MANY mistakes but the biggest is.... I have sandy soil and when I bought this lot (blank slate) I was thrilled to get a beautiful yard started. I immediately laid out the beds, went to all the nurseries and started planting like an obsessed woman. After two years of poor growth, gallons of fertilizer, and humongous waterbills, I took a step back. I had to rip out all of my plantings, took a good soil analysis, hauled in truck loads of compost , added greensand and soil conditioner. I've replanted but made a wonderous discovery. Originally I only found an occasional earthworm, during the replanting I found wonderful colonies of big earthworms.

* Posted by: Byron 4a/5b NH (My Page) on Sun, Feb 10, 02 at 18:03

I am only and advanced beginner, Been gardening for a tad over 1/2 century.

IE There are over 50 diseases that can infect a tomato plant, I can name a doz, there are over 100,000 species of bugs on this plant, 20,000 have been named, Aphids have 4,000 subspecies, I can name about 10.

I think the biggest mistake that new gardeners make is not asking about problems when they find it.

The net makes it a lot easier than the days of no net, no county agents, no plant problem books in the library. If the local nursery didn't know it, you were out of luck.

* Posted by: Iris_gal z9 CA (My Page) on Mon, Feb 11, 02 at 3:55

I remembered another salad one. Loving fresh ingredients, I picked the curly parsley at the last moment (no pesticides in that garden) and began snipping it over the company salad. It began moving? Baby green aphids! Aughh!

The most stupid thing I've done though, is to plant a shrub at the south end of an east facing rose bed - in three years it cast so much shade that 2 roses had trouble blooming. That was really stupid, especially because I'd had a tall Juniper removed for that very reason!

* Posted by: Philipw2 7 MD (My Page) on Mon, Feb 11, 02 at 22:54

Planting a 50 foot photinia hedge in partial shade. It has gotten very leggy which kind of defeats the purpose of a hedge.

Moral: for big projects be dead sure about your plant choice.

* Posted by: mary11 6B/7 (My Page) on Tue, Feb 12, 02 at 16:25

1. Not amending my hard, clay soil and planting a bunch of expensive perennials in it.
2. Buying plants that don't do well in my region.

* Posted by: Diana_in_Wisconsin Zone 4 WI (My Page) on Wed, Feb 13, 02 at 15:46

I've been gardening for about 20 years now. Sometimes I'm still really dumb. My MIL gave me a beautiful German Statice one season, dug from her garden. I rushed right home and planted it...too deep! I don't know what I was thinking! I planted it so deep that I covered up all the lower leaves and I snuffed the poor little thing. Duh! And also, planting a few things in the wrong places, and making the mistake of planting mint! What the heck was I thinking? LOL! It's going this spring...if I can get rid of it, that is.

* Posted by: lavatera 5a (My Page) on Fri, Feb 15, 02 at 11:30

Planted GIANT marigolds that I started from seeds. The bed included many other wonderful flowers that I too had started from seed. They were quickly mauled by the amazon marigold. Finally found the original seed packet and read that it could get up to 4 feet tall! It looked so bad all summer right smack dab in front of my house. YUCK.

Moved to a new house this year and I'm just waiting to see what my next mistakes will be. They're always good for a laugh!

* Posted by: josiemmmm 3 (My Page) on Fri, Feb 15, 02 at 16:07

The first year I got the planting bug, I bought some seed starter kit greenhouses, with BIG BIG plans of how I was going to have HUNDREDS of plants to plant in my yard when I was done! I started them in...oh...let's see, April? And they were all perennials! And I had no idea what I was doing, so I only stuck them in the window, and when they came up I roasted the poor little things. Plus, no matter what, we all know that grow lights are usually needed. Of course they got fried, or leggy, and most died. The sweetpeas I planted looked great, except everyday when I came home from work I would find another flat nibbled down by my cats! Terrified that they would get sick (and angry that they were eating my best crop), I put them up on my fireplace ledge. They just jumped up, knocked them down and ate them all up. Never got sick once, but I had a huge mess to clean up.

The few plants that managed to live, well, I planted them out in the garden one day...without hardening them the middle of the afternoon...under a blazing sun! lol Needless to say I got ONE plant out of all that. Brave little sucker.

I also made the huge mistake of planting two Lilacs way too close to each other. They were so little when I bought them, that it seemed just fine to put them THREE FEET apart. Now they are growing into each other, and it's only been 2 years. Plus I planted another large shrub next to them, again, a few feet away. It is going to be a mess. I have some digging to do!

One summer I babied a poppy plant, only to be informed that it was a weed! I pulled it up and there was the poppy, much smaller, behind it.

I fertilized my 'hansa' rose the minute I planted it in the ground. The poor thing was so lush and happy when I bought it. Then all the leaves crisped and I realized what I had done. luckily it is a tough rose, and recovered nicely, even blooming for me! Whew!

* Posted by: nygarden z6 NY (My Page) on Fri, Feb 15, 02 at 22:36

I bought a caladium from Home Depot the first year I started gardening. It was truly beautiful. Every time I looked at it I thought of the Caribbean!!! I replanted it in a terra cotta pot and that plant was the star of my garden -- not too many things were working that first year!!!! Well, as fall came and the leaves fell off completely I thought it died. I decided to reuse the pot for another plant and used a sharp trowel to dig out the dirt out. To my surprise, I dug right through the heart of the bulb, which was still very much alive. That was the year I added the word "dormant" to my vocabulary!!!

Gosh, I miss that plant! to this day my heart is broken.

* Posted by: gourd z8/9 CA ) on Sat, Feb 16, 02 at 18:34

I just started gardening about 1 1/2 years ago, and thinking how much I loved Zuccinni, planted over 50 plants. Oh my god, they were everywhere and my family was getting tired of eating it that year. Got cuttings and put them in the potting soil up-side-down. To date, I am constantly learning everyday from the Gardenweb.. Thanks to everyone here.

* Posted by: Marisha 6OH (My Page) on Sun, Feb 17, 02 at 20:47

One year my husband brought home a truckload of grass clippings from work, in big plastic bags. Oh, thrill! We could use them for mulch in the vegetable garden......little did we know how many dandelion seeds were hidden in all those grass clippings...until the next spring when they all bloomed!

* Posted by: suzegarden 5mo (My Page) on Sun, Feb 17, 02 at 21:18

Last year another gardener told me if I wanted my plants to get really huge, go to the feed store and get a big bag of nitrogen. So i did. Put it all over my garden. On the leaves, everywhere. Killed about half of everything, particularly some expensive perennials that I started the year before. Won't take advice from this gardener again.

* Posted by: MrsBeasley 4a Northern Ont (My Page) on Wed, Feb 20, 02 at 21:56

My MIL had a big, beautiful garden on the side of a hill, and as her family was getting smaller, she offered me all the space I wanted. I planted a lot of vegetables, but the mistake I made was that I planted the whole packet of turnip (rutabaga) seeds. I had a row of turnip 50 feet long. I had the nicest crop of turnip you could imagine. There was only my husband and myself to eat them, but I know lots of people that like them, I could give some away.

When it came time to harvest them, I worked my heart out. I'd cut off the root and leaves, and fill the wheelbarrow, trot the wheelbarrow down the row and pile the turnips on the grass. I worked for hours!

Finally, I was done, I took the knife into the house and washed it off, and went back out to the garden to admire my turnips. I had a pile of turnips as tall as I am. I was almost up to this great pile when a few turnips at the bottom of the pile moved, the whole lot of them started rolling down the hill. I was chasing after them, I'd gather a few in my arms and when I'd reach for another the ones in my arms would get away and continue down the hill. I must have made quite a sight, because my brother-in-law was laughing at me. "You'd better catch them," he called, "They're going to wipe out the neighbor's house"!

I eventually got them rounded up, but it turns out everyone doesn't like turnip the way I do! :-) I wound up serving turnip at least once a week in every way you can imagine. I served them boiled, fried, in stew, I cooked them up and added pumpkin pie spice and made fake pumpkin pie! I thought it was rather inventive of me, but it was the turnip fritters that finally did me in. My husband took one bite and gasped. He had thought that he was biting into an apple fritter. He said he didn't care if he NEVER ate another turnip! I was NOT to grow them ever again! I guess he just doesn't have a sense of humor! LOL

* Posted by: Jannie z7 LI NY (My Page) on Thu, Feb 21, 02 at 19:55

I tried to grow daisies in full shade. They died after several months, never came back again. I now read every plant tag carefully and look for those little sun and shade circles. Don't try to fool Mother Nature!

* Posted by: Nancyusn z8 NC (My Page) on Sun, Feb 24, 02 at 21:22

Mrs Beasly,
I'm sorry to say, I was laughing so hard I had tears! My whole career in the U.S. Navy I dreamed of a veggie garden, when my husband and I retired and went to South Dakota I dug right in. The Corn on the Cob had a bug and the cucumbers were overwhelming, there were not enough hours in the day to keep them from rotting. No more cukes for me!

* Posted by: Lees_Haven z7TN (My Page) on Mon, Feb 25, 02 at 21:28

My first year of gardening I had a "cow weed", the tall ones you see growing in cow pastures in Tn., come up in my new bed. I didn't know what the stuff I had planted was supposed to look like, and I feed and watered that plant faithfully. I could not get that sucker to bloom. I literally fell out when a friend of mine told me what had come up in the middle of my flowers. It was almost 12 feet then. Needless to say I got on line that winter and the following spring I didn't plant it unless I could identify it.

* Posted by: NancyD 6 Rochester, NY (My Page) on Tue, Feb 26, 02 at 8:43

Some of these stories remind me of my first days as a gardener, but I continue to make mistakes now and then, only now I refer to them as my little "experiments!" I don't believe there's any such thing as a "stupid" garden mistake. Mistakes can be your best teacher and what makes you a better gardener.

* Posted by: pondwelr z5 WI (My Page) on Wed, Feb 27, 02 at 11:23

I think Mrs. Beasley?s turnip story is one of the funniest Ive ever heard. You really should submit to OG or some other gardening magazine.

In my 30 years of gardening have made so many mistakes that I'd be hard pressed to name the stupidest. I once nurtured a burdock thinking it was rhubarb. That was about the hardest to erradicate. In my current new house, I?ve planted all these small shrubs and trees too close together. Some of us never learn!

* Posted by: GloryBee 8 ) on Wed, Feb 27, 02 at 16:01

I fell in love with chocolate mint the first time I smelled it and decided to buy a couple of dozen of them to fill our bay window bed so it would smell incredible every time it was brushed walking by. I never knew how invasive it was and how far even a couple of plants spread. We decided to take it out because it was even growing throw those interlocking bricks you can buy that were lining the bay window :)
It was taking too long pulling it. Strong little plants! So, I rotatilled them. HUGE MISTAKE! No one told me they can divide by the roots also.

Heidi S~

* Posted by: francee 6b (My Page) on Sat, Mar 2, 02 at 21:57

Laughed so-o hard at the turnip story ....
My cheeks are still hurting!!
One year I planted 30 foxgloves and anxiously awaited their blooming in the following year and not one was to be found. DH had pulled them all up thinking they were weeds. I lost a lot of perennials that year and now DH is only allowed to weed dandelions!!

* Posted by: LisaZ10 z10FL (My Page) on Sun, Mar 3, 02 at 2:44

I will never forget the time I killed almost ALL of my 2"-3" tomato, pepper, eggplant and herb seedlings - nearly 300 of them. I watered them and sprayed the leaves with a concentrated fertilizer w/sea kelp 5-9-5. Didn't follow the directions properly! For the seedlings I was supposed to dilute the previously diluted solution again. Gave it to them full strength and woke up to little stems with burned, wilted leaves. Ohhhh!, I had to start all over again, more seeds, more Jiffy-mix, more WORK, more TIME, more MONEY and more aggravation. Planting all those seeds is hard work! My garden was a little later than I planned. Of course I felt stupid, because following directions is something I was supposed to have learned a long time ago!

* Posted by: NikkiJ ACT Australia (My Page) on Mon, Mar 4, 02 at 5:39

I am so glad have found this site, and in particular, this forum! I've only been gardening for about 5 months (never had a garden I could do anything much in before! I'm still renting but the yard here has so much potential!!).

I've already learnt soooo much and had so many good laughs!! The silliest thing I've done so far was planting sunflowers in the back yard - my 6 y.o son begged me to! Only thing is, the sun spends most of the day shining on... yes... the BACK of my house! Oh well, at least the neighbors have a nice view of them over the fence...

* Posted by: Ruiadh 5/6 Toronto (My Page) on Thu, Mar 7, 02 at 18:46

Great stories, everyone.... but I betcha I can beat ?em.

Spring-flowering bulbs... plant ?em in spring, right?

Late summer, about 7 years ago, I moved into my first house. It came complete with an overgrown garden ? of course, at the time I didn?t realize it was overgrown. That?s another story. I also became the beneficiary of the previous occupant?s subscription to the late, lamented Cruickshank?s bulb & perennial catalogue. Put those two facts together with someone who had never so much as pulled a weed before and you would have found me trotting off Cruickshank?s tiny retail operation in early April of the following year. Although the staff tried very hard to explain the rudiments of gardening to me, and even though virtually all of their operation was dedicated to mail-order service, I was so pig-headedly determined to have the bulbs I coveted that they let me buy a few gazillion daffodils and lilies, a bunch of glads, and, oh yes, a bare-root clematis ?Bluebird.? By the time I got home, the sun had sunk low in the sky and it seemed too cold to plant my goodies. They sat in their bags in the enclosed and dark and unheated back porch for, oh, say, 3 weeks. The bulbs were eventually planted in the ground, in standard-issue Toronto clay, and the clematis got bunged in, what at the time I believed was a LARGE, terra cotta pot.

It?s a testament to the quality of Cruickshank?s products (Heather R and Indigo be damned!) that about half the glads appeared as did most of the lillies (in fact a few followed me to my new house last February) and the daffs showed up the following spring. But what about the clematis? Well, the ?Bluebird? variety had been chosen ?cause the catalogue said it did well in pots and there was lovely photo to prove it. My poor little clem actually grew quite well for several weeks, despite it?s southern exposure in a baking hot terra cotta pot that was really only about 10 inches deep & maybe the same wide. I?ve been apologizing indiscrimately to clematises (clematisii? clematisoi?) ever since.

* Posted by: Shirleb 7b TX (My Page) on Thu, Mar 7, 02 at 23:42

Reading about the turnips reminded me of my husband, the tomato king. Our first vegetable garden, he planted a whole row of about 25 tomato plants. When it came time to harvest, I was wild with trying to come up with ways to use them all up. Juicing, canning, soups, and even made homemade ketchup which the kids refused to eat because it wasn't Heinz. I couldn't give them away because everybody else grew them also. I was completely overwhelmed to say the least.
The following year he insisted on planting even more. One day when he was at work, I went to the garden with a kitchen knife and explored the root zone of quite a few plants. He decided that the cutworms were having a field day and proceeded to collar and spray like a mad man. It was a sad thing that he never defeated those cut worms that year or for years thereafter.

* Posted by: CarrieIN (My Page) on Sun, Mar 10, 02 at 8:54

Thinking that I was pruning my tomato plants I removed the yellow blossoms!!!!

* Posted by: flxabl z5 IL (My Page) on Sun, Mar 10, 02 at 13:41

You may have to think about this one.

We had an old ugly concrete patio/walkway leading to the door of our kitchen. We busted up the concrete and put in a mulched flower bed with stepping stones leading to the door.
We have kids AND pets. We also had a mulched kitchen.

* Posted by: gnomey 7b SC (My Page) on Wed, Mar 13, 02 at 13:26

I spent all last Spring digging and planting and coddling all of my new little plants at my new home. Then we decided to have a pool put in. I didn't realize until afterwards that pool installers aren't sympathethic to flowerbeds or the lawn; most of my babies in the front of the house were destroyed. Then there was the tree at the rear of the house that needed to come out - a huge tree. With the equipment coming in and out on that job the hydrangeas and azaleas on the other side of the house got crushed. The wood got stacked in the backyard on top of lilies and glads. So I'm starting over, hoping that I won't have to have any more non-gardening workman here. I guess the moral of the story is to plan ahead and get your plants out of any potential paths that workmen or equipment might have to use.

* Posted by: DogHouseMom 5 ) on Fri, Mar 15, 02 at 20:39

One day while leaving my office I noticed a 7' Ficus (Ben) sitting on the dock. I asked why it was there and they said they were dumping it, and if I wanted it ... I could have it. Well sure ... I had never had one and figured the sucker was 7' tall it was surely healthy and would survive! As I was carrying it into the house my aunt (green thumb aunt) saw me and came to check it out. She found slugs in the plant. Well my mom heard "slugs" and banned the poor thing to the basement (right next to a So. facing window though). Aunt Gin gave me slug instructions - use so many parts water to so many parts dishwashing liquid and water it. Because I had taken the plant home in the Winter she also suggested that I tent it to reduce shock, and told me to put a large plastic garbage bag over the top after watering to give it a greenhouse effect.

I found the biggest plastic garbage bag I could find, tented it, watered it with the soap solution, and waited.

Little by little the thing started to shrivel and die. In a little over a week this seemingly healthy (and now slug free) tree was shriveled into firewood.

Why oh why didn't she tell me to choose a CLEAR plastic bag instead of the black one I had chosen????

* Posted by: SusanC Z9/Sunset 17 (My Page) on Fri, Mar 15, 02 at 21:22

When my husband and I bought our first house, we were very excited about being able to have a garden. We went out and bought a ton of perennials and got ready to plant them.

After much discussion, we decided that the planting holes should be EXACTLY the same size as the pot the plant came in and that we should try not to disturb the plant's rootball in any way when planting. We carefully chiseled out the correct sized holes and squeezed the plants into them. Needless to say, we had a lot of unhappy, sad looking, rootbound plants...

* Posted by: Kat_G 5b/6a Ontario (My Page) on Sun, Mar 17, 02 at 19:08

I decided i was going to grow parsley this year, not having heard any of the issues around parsley growing. I used earth that had come from my grandmother's garden to start the seedlings. Planted them in a clear plastic dome container and waited. My grandmother told me in the mean time that she never had any luck with parsley and that i should make sure it's in a warm place. I put it on top of the fridge and I waited some more and voila! a week and a half later i had... parsley! I was so ecstatic, thinking that i had actually grown something that my grandmother couldn't!

As the little sprouts grew, I realized that I recognized those leaves but it was not parsley. I had cultivated two beautiful little morning glory seedlings. humph. I have since done a little research (it didn't say so on the package!) and found out that parsley takes between 4 - 5 weeks to germinate (all of those trips to see the devil and back!). There's still hope; maybe... (I'm now in week 3)

* Posted by: Meghane 7b NC (My Page) on Mon, Mar 18, 02 at 17:48

Trying to grow hybrid tea roses in humid NC is about the dumbest thing I've ever done. You can't win, between the black spot and Japanese beetles I had tiny moving shiny green "buds" on top of naked sticks all year. I was lucky and never had aphids. Got rid of them this spring and planting cannas, ginger, and an assortment of other "tropicals."

Oh, every year I take out all my overwintering tropicals approximately 6 weeks before the last frost date, then complain profusely about having to either drag them all back inside (a 4-5 hour ordeal), or cover them with blankets and/or pots. Of course this year everything is so big, I can only choose to drag them all inside. So you all know how I'll be spending my Thursday evening. We have 38 degree nights predicted. ARGH! I'll never learn!

* Posted by: talkingflower z5 MA USA (My Page) on Mon, Mar 18, 02 at 23:32

Well, I live at the historic site of THE WORLD'S TALLEST PRINCESS PINE! That's right...

I thought I'd transplant a little pine tree from the back to the front of the house. Absent-mindedly dug up a cute little fluff of a tree and planted it boldly out by the road's edge, and to be sure no one drove over it, gave it a tall, red-reflector marker.

My neighbor thought it was quite amusing. She broke it to me gently that, yes, that was a very nice little tree, but...not a tree.

Princess pine only grows to about 6" tall and is used in making wreathes. Now I know...

* Posted by: katbird Z6 SW Ohio USA (My Page) on Fri, Mar 29, 02 at 17:45

First spring in brand new home, hubby got tired of helping me edge and mulch the beautiful snowball bushes in the back yard and decided he would get "fancy" with it. Goes to the local hardware store and buys about 5 gallons of round-up and some new pruning shears. I was in the house and not paying attention... big mistake... went to tell him dinner was ready and found that he had trimmed the snowballs to look like cute little trees with a big "pouf" on top.. !! Ok, that wasn't so bad.. He also however, had taken the round-up and sprayed all around the mulched bed area underneath.. from the trunks out to about a 6 foot circumference around, with the idea that it would be forever grass & weed free!! I grabbed a garden hose and tried drowning the things to keep them from dying and biting my tongue to keep from losing my garden helper. Well the snow balls went through a period of about two weeks and a half of curling dried up leaves but they lived!! Unfortunately, the grass back to the house where DH had walked back with the round up on the bottom of his shoes didn't.. We had a human foot print path of dead grass that the neighbor kids all loved to play along that summer till it grew back! My Stupidest Garden Mistake was using Cheap Labor!! LOL

* Posted by: DianeZone4 zone 4a (My Page) on Wed, May 1, 02 at 15:41

Hope it's not too late to post a followup to this - when I lived in Missouri years ago, we bought a home on five acres which came with an old tractor and cultivator, etc. My husband got all excited about using the tractor to plant a huge one acre garden, which he would weed with the tractor attachments. Unfortunately, he didn't realize that the attachments didn't match, in terms of row width, so we had to do all the weeding by hand! Finally, the kids and I picked out a patch to weed and let the rest go. That part produced the nicest tomatoes I've ever seen, but the rest was a one acre disaster!

* Posted by: alagard alaz8 (My Page) on Thu, May 2, 02 at 6:45

Well, mine was in trying to grow the potato vine, some call it air potato. My Mother grows them along her front porch every summer for shade and they get very full. Well, the 1st year, I planted mine when she did and waited and waited... nothing. So she said dig them up - maybe you planted them upside down. Sure enuff they had been to china and were on there way back up. So, this year, determined not to get them upside down, I took some of the potatoes that were already sprouting roots on the shelf in her shed. Can't go wrong, right? Everyone knows, the roots go DOWN, right!? Well, same thing - her's were sprouting, mine weren't So I dug up a small one in her garden and what a surprise! The roots AND plant grow out of the TOP! Weird. So back home I go, to dig them up AGAIN. Finally they are growing and I might just get what I'm after. Needless to say the DH laughed his head off when I once again planted them upside down!

* Posted by: blooms4me Ga8a (My Page) on Thu, May 2, 02 at 23:50

When I got married and we bought our first house I was going to be the perfect house wife. Can veggies,etc. SO.. I picked out a spot to grow our garden. I had heard you could put newspaper over the grass and after awhile it would kill the grass and I could start my garden. So, I gathered all our newspapers, layed them down and put a few rocks on them so they wouldn't blow away. We were both in the AF reserves and had to go out of town for the weekend. Well, we got back Sun afternoon and newspapers were ALL OVER the place. All over my 5 acres and against the fence of the neighbors pasture. Took me hours to gather all that paper. I was so proud of myself for remembering that tip, but apparently they said water the paper, and put lots of mulch on it which I neglected to do. My new husband just stood there laughing at me and shaking his head. (probably wondering how he ended up with such an idiot)

* Posted by: Lisa_Ann z5 IN (My Page) on Fri, May 3, 02 at 22:10

About 22 years ago my husband and I bought our first house in the country and decided to plant a HUGE vegetable garden. We had the garden spot plowed up and my husband did the rotatilling. Well, the time came for us to plant the corn. I brought out my little bag of seed corn and placed it by the first row and waited for my husband to finish the tilling. He got to close to the bag and rotatilled over it. I was devastated, so I sat down (wearing short shorts) to pick up the little seeds. I didn't think anything of it until a few days later while sitting at work and I was getting very uncomfortable. Well, needless to say I ended up at the Doctor's office and was diagnosed with a major case of poison ivy - ugh. I still get into poison ivy (where I am not sure) but I sure watch where I sit now.

* Posted by: Sandy_W 6 (My Page) on Sat, May 4, 02 at 8:35

I planted cleomes. I didn't use a soilless mix. I saw new growth coming and was so excited. My cleomes grew great. I noticed some of my cleomes looked different from the others. Confused I took a leaf off of each and went to my favorite nursery. The man who owned the nursery said this is a cleome and this is a weed. Boy was I embarrased. I can grow some awesome weeds. Now I know to use a sterilized mix.

* Posted by: Celestial Z6b/Eagle,ID (My Page) on Tue, May 7, 02 at 12:03

1) After searching/not finding/asking about seed starting mix, believing the guy at the nursery who told me "they" used Whitney Farms Potting Soil as their seed starting mix [read: TONS of dampening off]

2) Planting roses in the lawn - Hello Mildew!

* Posted by: storey_z8b_TX z8b TX (My Page) on Fri, May 10, 02 at 20:43

NEVER let a younger family member (he was 20, I was 23) help in your garden. We laugh about it now, but ... Anyway, I was busy moving small peppers and veggies from a seeding bed to growing beds and he noticed a few big caterpillars munching on some larger blackberry canes and wanted to help. I told him where the insecticidal soap was, he got it, and sprayed most of the flowering canes. Helpful right? Well two weeks later we found out he picked up the Round Up instead of the soap. Got rid of the bugs though :)

* Posted by: Ermine z9CA (My Page) on Sat, May 11, 02 at 16:54

Although I've been gardening for years I always make stupid mistakes. I'm looking at one right now. 25 HUGE tomato plants that are all indeterminate! These babies will be bearing fruit past Thanksgiving and I'm scheduled for back surgery this summer!!

Thank God there are the local food banks to take a lot off my hands as I also went way overboard with the summer squash and chilies too. I can't believe I once again planted a veggie garden this big for just my husband and me. LOL.........

* Posted by: poinciana South West (My Page) on Sat, May 11, 02 at 22:18

What a great thread, just look here if you need a good laugh! The turnip story wins for me. A relative would not touch turnips for years and years because she had to eat them almost exclusively during the war. Apparently, one can also get sick of turnips in a rather short time. :))

I have made many of the above mistakes and then some. These days I am a very experienced gardener as well as a (ahem) ?professional? to boot; and still, I keep making mistakes. Most of these come under the, not following my own advice category such as planting things too close, because I don?t like bare ground; subsequently having to move tons of plants while killing a few in the process.

The other mistake I constantly make is that my greedy little garden coveting brain won?t let me purchase within bounds. I always buy too much. Imelda coveted shoes; I covet plants. As a consequence, I have scores of little plants or bulbs that are never planted due to a lack of time or energy. At this writing, there is a whole box of winter and summer bulbs in the garage?all have sprouted. Everyday I look at them and say, ?Yes, yes, tomorrow, I?ll get to you.? I see them sadly beckoning to me, like marooned sailors on a raft without water.

These days, swallowing my pride, I use ?little helpers? to ease the hard work. I am learning that no matter how well I think I have explained a procedure it frequently is done incorrectly.

Recently I enlisted my young, teen helper to transplant some Vincas into our little wooded area. I suggested he water them first, told him which spade to use, etc. and went to the front garden to dead-head the roses. After a while, I returned to find him sitting on the ground with a hand trowel, scraping out a fist size hole in the hard clay with his bare hands. I then watched in horror as he forced a bare-root Vinca into the hard, unwatered hole and pulled mulch over it. ?Where is the soil that you dug up with the plant?? ?Oh,? he said, ?I shook it all off.? I turned around and sure enough, there was a stack of poor little Vinca plants with their bare roots exposed to the afternoon sun, waiting for ?planting.? Good thing they are tough plants. After further instructions on how to properly transplant, my helper did a nice job. They all looked fine the next day. I just hope it will not be yet another mistake, because Vinca can be invasive. :->

One day I casually mentioned to my husband that I needed to prune the beautiful Virburnum plicatum tomentosum Marisii, which was blocking the front window, (another ?mistake?) before transplanting it. I began to prepare dinner and did not notice that my husband had disappeared. After about 20 minutes he came back in, a triumphant look on his face and loppers in hand. ?Where have you been?? Proudly he announced, ?I pruned the Viburnum for you.? I rushed outside, fearing the worst. Gasp! There was the fully-grown Viburnum, its arm size branches lying on the ground, neatly stacked. He had ?pruned? the massive plant completely to the ground. I cried; my hapless husband looked devastated. We nevertheless transplanted it?not without great difficulty, because the roots were huge?and prayed. Miraculously, that Viburnum (after about 4 years) is again fully-grown and had the best horizontal display ever, this year.

* Posted by: buckeye_newbie USDA 5 (My Page) on Tue, May 14, 02 at 15:23

I may have made a mistake... I have just bought a new house complete with overgrown yard and a terraced hillside with LOTS of landscaping. Right away, I noticed tall purple flowers (weeds?) growing right from the tree?s lawn, down the terraces and halfway into the yard. I pulled every single one out by the roots (they came out pretty easy, but had kind of a "creeping" root, especially round the rocky areas). Now I think these might have been phlox.

My question is, is phlox a flower or a weed? Is it desirable to have in the garden?

This could be my first mistake, but surely won't be my stupidest yet!

* Posted by: Dances_in_Garden 7a-CDN 6-US (My Page) on Tue, May 14, 02 at 16:35

Hmmmm. This is a toughie. ROFL!

I also plant too close together, but I am well aware that I have to move things when I do that - so it's not a mistake. Just because the lavender has been moved four times does NOT mean I did anything wrong. It just hasn't found it's home yet :).

It is probably planting lemon balm and chinese lanterns. They are ugly, smell bad, and come up everywhere no matter what I do. DH still won't forgive me for that. The rampant chives he forgives because people line up for blocks in the spring to dig up a clump for themselves, so the problem fixes itself - tee hee.

* Posted by: RoseOOPs z5MI (My Page) on Tue, May 14, 02 at 18:06

My biggest mistake was weed whacking weeds that were growing around the trees in the backyard. The line of trees is about 500 feet. It was a hot summer day and I wore shorts and a tank top. Whacked down all the weeds cleaned everything up. It sure looked good. Later now I had a nasty itching rash all over my legs, arms and neck. the weeds that I weed whacked was poison ivy. That was last summer and I still have a few scares on my legs.

* Posted by: crimso1 z7 MD (My Page) on Mon, May 20, 02 at 23:09

Perhaps not my stupidest garden mistake but certainly my grossest...

I was weeding my Emerald and Gold Euonymus that had taken over the front bed. I was doing this bare-handed so that I could feel what I was doing since the plant was so dense. I reached in and realized I had stuck my thumb into something cold and wet. Yuck...bird doo... or so I thought. Well, shades of Little Jack Horner. I had skewered a large slug! It took forever to get the goo out from under my nail.

*Posted by karenm ) on Fri, Jul 26, 02 at 17:50

Anyway, I?m new to gardening (just moved into our house 2 years ago) and it seems everything I do is a mistake, but I?m having fun.

Two of the most recent are:

1. Our yard is mostly sun so we don?t get a lot of leaves in the fall and the few we get I run over with the mower and rake into the yard. So to amend my compost I decided to pick up bags of leaves off the side of the road. Felt like thief in the night as I hefted three huge bags into my trunk. Got them home and dumped one whole bag into the compost. Started working it in when I realized that it was full of gumballs. Then had to lug the other two bags to the curb. DH was kinda curious as to why I would transfer someone else?s garbage to our curb.
2. This was not really my mistake, but I joined a gardening magazine and got some free seeds with it. They were red poppies and I thought they would be great under my roses. I had never grown poppies before so did not know what to expect. They just grew and grew. The anticipation of seeing them bloom was intense. DH rarely comes out to check out the flowers but one afternoon with a glass of wine, we walk over to where they were and he exclaims, ?Yea, you decided to put in some tomatoes!?

They had given me the wrong seeds. I got all cut up by the roses trying to move those things. Then I moved them, planted them right beside each other, and staked them with little 10-inch stakes. Grew huge in a matter of weeks. Were sprawling all out in the yard. Turned out they were cherry tomatoes. I finally got so frustrated with the whole lot of them (about 25 in a 2 x 12? bed) that they are now compost. Lot?s and lots of tomato compost. That will probably be my mistake for next year. The PH will probably be WAY off. Oh well, live and learn.

* Posted by: SoCal_Janine z10 CA (My Page) on Tue, Jul 30, 02 at 12:44

Well, it's not my stupidest mistake, just the most recent one...

I planted sunflowers this year for the first time. When they got to be about a foot high, I staked them. I used that green training wire stuff to tie them to the stakes - all 30 or so plants.

Fast forward about 2 months later...the sunflower plants are huge, over six feet tall, with great big flower heads getting ready to open. I can barely contain my excitement, running outside to look at them every day as soon as I come home from work. One day I went out and found that several plants were wilted and dying. WHAT could be the problem?

Remember that green training wire? doesn't stretch! The stems of the plants are now about 5 times wider than they were when I first staked them up, and that little green wire is cutting right into the stem. I was able to untwist the wire and save most of the plants, but I did lose quite a few, because the wire had cut in so deeply that the stem was damaged beyond help.

So - next year I will use the green stretchy tape stuff instead of the wire. Doh!

* Posted by: ILUV2GRDN 9 Palm Springs (My Page) on Fri, Aug 2, 02 at 22:49

My stupidest mistake was thinking that I can move my plants from one location to another when I bought my house. I have lost almost everything I brought with me. Even my cannas aren't doing too well this year. My agapanthus are turning yellow, and didn't bloom this year. They are west facing and are getting very HOT sun in the afternoon alot of wind too. I'm thinking of moving them to the east side of the house this fall. Anyone have any suggestions?

* Posted by: LianaMackey 9 (My Page) on Sun, Aug 4, 02 at 1:42

When I bought my house it had two old perennial beds, which to me, a never-been-a-gardener, looked like Eden. But as I began to learn, I could see the dandelions and a few other weeds, and other symptoms of neglect, so I began to clear out the weeds. Several sections had a lovely, fine, long grass and I thought "Ah! This must be some of that stuff called "ornamental grasses" so in the fall, I carefully left it in, pulled weeds around it and began the long process of amending the soil in these neglected beds. Fast forward through the next summer and the "ornamental grasses" had tripled in size to 6-foot-wide swaths -- and I then learned that what I had was fescue lawn grass that had escaped into the flower beds -- and I'd given it the green light to turn the bed into a new lawn! We're talking 12-inch deep roots here, and backbreaking spade work to rogue it out. oy......
To Plam Springs: Agapanthus getting too hot? Hard to believe! It's the only thing I used to be able to grow in a concrete and swimming pool back yard! You might want to let them stay for one more season, cutting back the yellowed foliage, and see if they just need a year to recover. Also might want to take some and move them to the east side and see what works. They do want good watering until well-established, after which they'll handle some drought.

* Posted by: Shines4U z7GA (My Page) on Mon, Aug 5, 02 at 12:35

WE have lived in our home just under a year. This is my first experience with gardening besides containers on various apt decks. There was a small area around our new patio that needed some serious landscaping. Well -- we thought we killed all the grass -- but NOPE! The bed looked beautiful for a month of so -- from then on it has been hard to control the grass in the bed. It's everywhere. We are at a loss. I can't believe that we will have to dig all those bushes and trees up just to kill that grass. Any other advice?? Thanks!

* Posted by: dijoy 8b (My Page) on Mon, Aug 5, 02 at 20:56

Shines4U, try placing several layers of newspaper or maybe some cardboard on the ground around your bushes and plants, and then cover that with mulch. That should kill out the grass while not harming your bushes and plants. You might want to water the area before you put down your paper or cardboard and mulch.

* Posted by: somara z8 - Austin, TX (My Page) on Wed, Aug 7, 02 at 14:32

This is my first year of gardening, as well as my first year on the Garden Web. I've made way too many mistakes so far, but this is the one that I'm still feeling guilty about.

I went to my first plant swap earlier this spring in San Marcos, TX. Wonderful people with wonderful plants... and I wanted a little bit of everything. Luckily everyone seemed to have a bumper crop, so someone like me with very little to trade was able to fill up the back up my truck (between two of us) with all kinds of green goodies. What I didn't think about, was that I didn't have many beds prepared for planting, and I didn't know where the heck most of it was going to go anyway. So even with most of my Saturdays and Sundays being spent working in the yard, many of the plants died before I could get them into the ground.

However, I don't regret attending. Some of the plants that are not only coping in the Texas sun, but are blooming like mad are plants that were given to me at the swap meet. So I'll be attending the fall plant swap, but I'll just be a little more careful about how much I bring home this time (and thanks to the people who were so generous, I now have some plants of my own to trade).

* Posted by: Kathy547 z8 AR (My Page) on Mon, Aug 12, 02 at 8:37

This has to do with a vegetable garden but here goes... My husband is a distributor for a bread company & I work for him (& yes, it's never a good idea to be married to someone who "thinks" he's your boss!). Anyway, because it's in the contract that the 2 days that we don't deliver to major stores, we still have to go in them & "pull up" - which is just getting bread from the back & making the shelves look full. So basically we work 7 days a week. My point in saying that is that I told hubby not to do the same thing he had done the year before: let the man we pay to disk & bush hog our garden area decide what & how much he would plant in OUR garden. Well, hubby ignored me. So we got our whole garden except for 2 rows that we had already planted tomatoes, peppers, okra, squash, & onions planted with purplehull peas. So, everything got ready to be picked but we couldn't keep them picked because of the 7-day a week job. So lots dried on the bush. My husband leaves the house at 4 a.m. & I leave after I take the kids to school so I would get up with him, & be completely dressed waiting for it to get light enough outside for me to go pick peas. There are snakes - some poisonous & there's no way in hell I go to the garden or anywhere else in the dark! Anyway, I managed to get several rows picked but wouldn't have time to shell them. So they got left in baskets or on trash bags in the floor until I had time to shell them. Well, you're not supposed to do that I learned. Spread out on a sheet or newspaper or they'll mold. So, out of probably 1/2 - 1 acre of purplehull peas, we may have put up 1 or 2 rows.

This year the fool was going to do it again until I went crazy on him & he had to listen to me gripe every day. But the guy with the tractor managed to get 9 rows of purplehulls planted before I told him that was enough.

My plans now are to start taking what I have extra every year to the farmer's market to sell. With whatever money I make I'll put back until I have enough money to buy a used tractor. Then, I'll do the disking & bushhogging myself! Maybe even plant stuff hubby doesn't like!

* Posted by: nlbenj caz9 (My Page) on Tue, Aug 13, 02 at 22:42

This was my first year of gardening, so I've done my fair share of stupid mistakes.

Flowers are supposed to die - that doesn't mean the plant is dead - which means that I spent the last few years throwing out plants from my deck that I thought were dead.

I also learned to put my contacts in BEFORE I plant. Artichokes are planted 4-6 feet (NOT, I stress, inches) apart.

* Posted by: carolynkelsea San Jose (My Page) on Thu, Aug 15, 02 at 15:42

Thanks for all the laughs you guys... I'm new to gardening too and my stupidest mistake this summer was transplanting several bushes in the middle of a heat wave... Need to learn to wait for the right time of year and not just do whatever I want when the whim strikes me!

* Posted by: sufigirl z7 NYC (My Page) on Fri, Aug 16, 02 at 23:17

I lent my brother my lopping shears to cute down a very sick rose bush he had in his back yard. When he returned them, it was just in time for fall pruning of my container roses. The following spring as they began to produce foliage, I noticed yellow leaves that dropped from the slightest breeze and black spot that could not be controlled. The cause? I never cleaned my shears after my brother used them. His rose spread its disease to mine via the lopping shears. I eventually had to burn my roses. The disease was incurable. Now, I clean all my gardening tools regularly in a bleach water solution.

* Posted by: animas z5-SW Colo (My Page) on Sun, Aug 18, 02 at 17:03

I thought it was a good idea to really "work" the soil on a hillside outside the kitchen. I double-dug the dirt and added organic compost and spread wildflower seeds -- ignoring, of course, the seed-sellers advice to merely spread the seeds and rake lightly.

By digging, I managed to reawaken and germinate years and years of dormant weed seeds. And I chopped up bindweed in tiny little pieces, thus distributing it everywhere. Thistle sprang up. Crappy grasses of all ilks burst to life. My "wildflower hill" was choked with the hardiest, thickest weeds imaginable.

* Posted by: Storey z8b TX (My Page) on Mon, Aug 19, 02 at 11:47

I'm somewhat new to gardening, but I've made more than my share of entertaining mistakes :) The most recent was finding two small, interesting little plants growing through the mulch near my tub containers. I potted one and left the other to grow up a nearby fence. Both took off and in three weeks I had healthy 6ft tall plants with tendrils attaching itself to anything it could grab. Now I can recognize poison ivy easily, but I've never seen poison oak before. The nursery people I brought a two foot cutting to for identification were petrified and must have thought I am crazy. The problem is I don't react to poison ivy or poison oak so I never know when its around :) Hope me neighbors didn't look to close at what I was growing.

* Posted by: Mooch 6 ) on Mon, Aug 26, 02 at 10:33

After watching Paul James show for almost a year and finally buying my first house, I order 50 maiden grasses online. I figured I would plant these instead of a privacy fence on one side of our yard. Took me a whole weekend to plant. After weeks of watering they reached a height of about 6-10 inches. Me and my wife went away for 1 weekend and came back and all the grasses were gone! Since it was on the border of our neighbors yard, they thought it was a weed and "weeded" them for us.
I can laugh now but next time I will plant poison ivy there I think.

* Posted by: Pirate 8 NC (My Page) on Mon, Aug 26, 02 at 10:58

My first garden was full of donations. Someone had given me some of their mint. I loved the smell and leaf texture.
Not knowing it was extremely invasive, I put it in the middle of my garden. It took me a long time to clear it all out. Some of the root pieces that were left in kept growing. I believe it's all out. I now know to read up on any plant I put in.

* Posted by: audrey_mi 5/6 ) on Tue, Aug 27, 02 at 23:26

Most of you are new gardeners, but do not feel so bad. I've been gardening over 30 yrs. This year again I decided to grow my own vegetable plants from seeds. Especially tomatoes. I was careful I thought to label each variety. My bounty of plants provided many neighbors & friends with vigorous plants. I grew Big Boy, Ace, Romas & 100 cherries. Everyone got their share. Everyone has their bounty. HOWEVER, my garden is overrun with cherry tomatoes!! I pick 7 lbs a day!! I guess my seedlings looked good, but not the ones I wanted. Be aware, tomato seedlings look the same. Oh well, we will have lots of juice etc. I goofed and will remember this one next year! Audrey

* Posted by: kansasgard z5 KS (My Page) on Thu, Sep 5, 02 at 15:07

This is a great post. I am a newbie to gardening. 2nd spring in our new house, I decided that I wanted sunflowers growing up at the end of the yard, near my fence so I can stake it. I spent two weekends digging beds, dug too deep, got all the weeds coming up later...Returning to my story - Sowed sunflower seeds right before we had a terrible Kansas storm. Waited for two weeks, when I didn't see any seedlings emerged. I guessed the rain had washed the seeds away. So I sow again. Can see the seedling emerge. Now its hot and the temperatures are rising, so I thought, well let me mulch the bed. I put cut grass clippings on the bed...completely smothering all the seedlings. Never saw a single sunflower. I guess I should have put down DRIED grass clippings. Oh anyway, my husband never stops teasing me about my sunflowers but I do have a perennial bed starting up there this Fall.

* Posted by: daylillylover 6a PA (My Page) on Thu, Sep 5, 02 at 20:34

Stupidest garden mistake, not paying attention to how "tall" or wide plants will get. I spent half the summer moving plants around as they came into bloom so they weren't all covering each other up!

* Posted by: electraMerc z9Ca (My Page) on Mon, Sep 9, 02 at 16:37

I just get a kick out of reading this post, I too have had my share of disasters. Lets just keep our chins up high, we'll make it to pro-gardener status one day. Well, from what I read in other forums we all make mistakes.

* Posted by: ChandraLynne (My Page) on Tue, Sep 10, 02 at 15:23

I broke off a relationship, left my gardens behind and started new in a rental house. I decided my first project, while still getting over the grief of leaving my beloved plants behind, would be something I've never tried before - poppies - bright, colorful, glorious poppies. I hand dug a spot for them, spread the seeds and proceeded to water and care for the spot daily. I had something to look forward to! I pointed the first sprouts out to friends and family, proclaiming them brand-spanking-new seedlings and "just watch them grow!" I fertilized and watched over them, rushing to look at them every day after work.... When it all was said and done - I ended up with a great big spot of carefully grown crab grass!! Talk about feeling stupid!!

* Posted by: stretchwny5 w.n.y,5 (My Page) on Mon, Sep 23, 02 at 11:01

when all else fails there?s always next year LOL

* Posted by: Patti Fielder 5 ) on Sat, Sep 28, 02 at 19:19

Anybody out there have a mulberry tree? Whatever you do, don't try digging up whatever is on the ground underneath. I wanted to put in a groundcover but it was choked out by literally thousands of tiny mulberry trees. Seems EACH fruit that drops sprouts it's own tree! I was renting & moved shortly after but I've always wanted to go back to see my grove of mulberry trees!

* Posted by: Judy_ON 6A ON (My Page) on Sun, Sep 29, 02 at 20:49

This is a great post - let's keep it going as we're all learning a thing or two still. Hands down to Mrs. Beasley and her turnip story, and second goes to Shirley B. with her tomatoes. Very very funny and so true.
Anyways, my "mistake" has a bit of a different twist to it, (although I have lots of "oops" that I can relate to on this forum).
A bit of background: I had a lovely cross lab/shepherd dog that loved to go across to the bush and bring us home her findings - dead/rotting carcasses of dear, skunk, raccoon, etc - you get the picture. She would normally just leave them in the yard for us to find them (and dispose of). Well, it was a beautiful spring day for clean up and I was in one of my gardens transplanting a few of my gems from one place to another. (Yup, you know where this is going...) I was working in my bare hands, (no gloves) and was digging up some iris bulbs to move elsewhere. These iris bulbs were creamy white and long - when I dug in I found that they weren't coming out near as easily as I initially thought - therefore I got in there with my hands to help loosen the soil, so's not to damage any of the root/bulb. Needless to say, I got the shock of my life and totally - I mean totally - grossed out when I pulled up a hoof/leg of a deer!! - Yuk, yuk, & yuk --I freaked just a "wee" bit, and had everyone running over to see what the commotion was about. Of course the guys were killing themselves laughing, I cursed the dog over & over, and had the heepee jeepies for a while trying to figure out what else she had "left" for me to discover.
To this day, I am very careful about how and what I dig up - lesson learned - you just don't know sometimes.
Keep writing your stories folks,

* Posted by: BeverlyAL 7a (My Page) on Tue, Oct 1, 02 at 14:16

We had just purchased a house and having weeded vegetable gardens for years I thought I knew a weed from a flower. I weeded the shrubbery and later found out I had pulled up all the Lantanas except for one. The one I have left is 6 or 7 feet in diameter. I am sick because I pulled up the others!

* Posted by: happygardening z6 CT (My Page) on Wed, Oct 2, 02 at 9:05

My dh was complianing that my butterfly bushes and 2 most favorite rose bushes, and 2 weeping pines, were to tall for where they were. I got sick of listening to him complain so I transplanted them in the middle of the 90 degree summer, in the middle of a drought !!! Needless to say only the 2 butterfly bushes made it. uuuuggg what a dummy I am....I do no better.

Comments (3)

  • Tamara
    8 years ago

    * Posted by: karenm 7 ) on Wed, Nov 13, 02 at 12:52

    Well, I'm posting again. I had the original post 4mts ago. Have managed a few more mistakes in this time. Being a new gardener, I am always looking for free plants so one friend (maybe she really doesn't like me) gave me, gooseneck loosestrife, wild violets, periwinkle, and several mints. (ALL of these are considered VERY INVASIVE!) I planted the gooseneck in with my roses to cover the Roses leggy bottoms. Next spring I will begin the process of elimination. Already pulled up all the mints. I like the violets so far, but they have not invaded anywhere I don?t want them to be.

    Also, went to a plant sale with same friend and bought several plants with Latin names and metric measurements. (I haven't gotten that far in my education.) Did not have a clue what most of them were, but they were at a good price. Anyway, I bought some aster. I knew what that was. Yea, right. It grew to be about 5-feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. I had planted it in the front of the bed. It looked like Godzilla stepping all over my other sweet and dainty plants. To make matters worse, I too tried to move this huge monstrosity in 100-degree heat. Needless to say it did not live. Would loved to have seen it in bloom.

    For that matter, I have quite a few plants I have never seen bloom because I move them so much. Gotta get that perfect placement ya know. I'm looking forward to spring to see what new adventures are awaiting me!

    * Posted by: wavesmom sf calif (My Page) on Wed, Nov 13, 02 at 14:53

    I have been gardening for years, and composting for 3. My worst mistake was when I dug up the crabgrass, and wanting to be the perfect composter, threw the crabgrass in the compost. My pile doesn't get hot enough to kill seeds. Guess what I have EVERYWHERE in my yard.

    Note to self: if you don't want the plant everywhere in the yard, don't compost it.

    I had the same experience (same year) with tomatoes. I could have fed the masses with the number of tomato plants that came up.

    * Posted by: Nelz z5b/6 NW PA (My Page) on Wed, Nov 13, 02 at 22:57

    I had the worst one until this afternoon.

    1 - A few years back I started all my cukes and squash (summer and winter) and melons in peat pots inside to get a few week head start when they hit the ground. I had the following number of varieties; 2 cukes, 4 winter squash, 3 summer squash, 3 watermelon, 2 canteloupes.

    I had several plants of each type. More than I needed, but you know, always plant a few extra in case all do not germinate. Everything germ'd. After 10 days I sorted everything out, what I wanted, and what I'd toss. My mother in law plants everything, and even though her garden was in, she said she'd take the rejects.

    I gave the flat explaining it was a lot of cukes and a few squash and 1 watermelon. Wrong, as in wrong flat. I forget which was which. I had cukes out the ear, and mom was nice enough to share the harvest.

    2-Use only clean straw! I think I got oat straw, with all the oats attached. At $1 a bale I got excited and loaded up the truck. I put my beds to sleep for the winter, planted my garlic, and mulched HEAVILY with the straw. Every bed is growing lots of green blades through the straw. So, here I am weeding in November. I'm limiting my work to the garlic beds, the rest will be a 'covercrop' that I'll hoe in next spring. At least they pull up easy.

    PS - This is an awesome thread, and I didn't see many mistakes, just learning experiences!!

    * Posted by: bdot z7 NC (My Page) on Wed, Feb 26, 03 at 13:25

    1st, what is a "DH"? Every time I see that I think designated hitter and it confuses me. :)

    My first mistake was when I moved into my house 2 years ago. The back yard was small but was over grown with weeds and vines and stuff. I loved it cause it's a good animal habitat. The wild rose bush (it's the kind that's invasive that people hate but I've come to love) is about 10 ft wide, 15 ft long and about 7 ft tall.
    Anyways, I decided I would clear out some of the wild grape and also honeysuckle from the trees especially all the dogwoods. Well I'm happily pulling things out and since it's the winter (no leaves on vines) I didn't think until I started itching. Let's just say I used to get poison ivy by just being in the same town as it is in. It hit the blood stream and I had it for 3 straight months. Near the end I had a swollen shut eye and had to get medicine. Went to Immediate Care (since I don't have a doctor since that requires setting up an appointment 3 months in advance) and they gave me allergy medicine. Luckily mom works for a doctor and got me some good pills and I haven't had poison ivy since even though I work next to it when feeding the tigers.

    My other mistake was in a way related. I had read that jewelweed helps keep you from getting poison ivy. It did wonders back when I did get it and would rub it on the spot. Well anyone that knows about jewelweed knows it has the water-resistant leaves. Well I had made a flowerbed beside my house. I couldn't get much to grow last year in the severe drought. Well these 2 plants came up that looks just like jewelweed leaves. i was so happy that I continually watered them. They got up to 1ft.. then 5 ft... then 10 ft.. ok, somethings wrong. Either I have a very happy jewelweed plant or that's not what it is. I did some investigating on the web. I found out I had lambs quarter. HA HA HA! I hate killing plants so I didn't want to take it down but then I knew the thing would reseed one day and that would be a mess. Luckily after it was up to about 13-14ft, we had a heavy rain and wind. Knocked both plants sideways into the yard. Didn't kill them but they were in the way so I removed them.

    * Posted by: Storey z8b TX (My Page) on Wed, Feb 26, 03 at 17:58

    One of my most recent was allowing my friend to walk through my pepper patch. He tried a few peppers and asked what they were after tasting. Before I could stop him, he tried a habanero... I never knew anyone could run to a hose that fast or drink that much water at one time :o) Fortunately, he survived, but now he asks about the plants BEFORE he tries them.

    * Posted by: Peach_Fuzz 4 (My Page) on Wed, Feb 26, 03 at 18:36

    DH is "Dear Husband" in our land of abbreviated computer lingo. (although I'm going to think "designated hitter" now!)

    * Posted by: valeriePA z6 PA (My Page) on Thu, Feb 27, 03 at 6:42

    I repeat it every year-too many seedlings and plants and not enough prepared soil. The seedlings or plants end up dying waiting for me to dig up more of the lawn. I think I'll give lasagna gardening a try this year.

    * Posted by: MaryMarg Zone9/San Jose (My Page) on Thu, Feb 27, 03 at 15:27

    We moved into our first home four years ago, and had a gorgeous bougainvillia draping over the tops of the french doors to our bedroom. New to gardening, my husband and I couldn't figure why it "died" several months after moving in. My husband, escaping with multiple minor cuts and several colorful expletives, managed to remove it. We found out several weeks later (after it had been taken away by the garbage man) that the beautiful climber was merely dormant. Such remorse!

    * Posted by: somara ) on Fri, Feb 28, 03 at 15:10

    I'm now starting my second year gardening and I have a feeling that I'll be a beginner for another 5-10 years. Here are last year's mistakes:

    1. Plant swaps are great and the people are friendly; however, people are NOT giving you plants out of generosity... they just don't want to go home with what they brought. I finally understood this during the fall swap when I couldn't get rid of the last of my plants without having to take something from someone else. So I went home with another truckload and needless to say, most of it didn't make it in the ground again. So I'm only attending one swap a year now.

    2. I found a small patch of Bermuda grass in my yard last spring. I thought I'd get around to it later. Nope. Bermuda grass will take over your entire yard the moment you turn your back on it. This year I'm breaking out the flame thrower.

    3. Find out what the dimensions of the full grown plant is before you put it in the ground. That cute little wild current tomato that wouldn't grow for two months, eventually hit a growing spurt and took over the entire bed (4'x6'). It was STILL producing tomatoes through December.

    4. The biggest mistake, and probably the one I will continue to make every year for my entire life, is trying to do too much with my yard. This year I promised my sweetie that I'd only work on the area around the back patio... but I've already drawn out plans for under the trees, the front bed, and pretty much the entire property.

    But ya' know something? As long as I'm not repeating my mistakes year after year (with the exception of #4), then I must be learning...

    * Posted by: mindi1248 z9 FL (My Page) on Mon, Mar 3, 03 at 22:47

    This one just happened to me today...
    I bought some veggie and herb seeds about a week ago (even though I've no idea where to put them) and I decided yesterday that I would get them started in some dixie cups. Labeled and stuck the dirt in the cups, and poked a hole in the bottom to drain, and planted the seeds. I left them outside...
    This morning it started pouring rain. Turns out that the little holes in the cups couldn't keep up with the flood and when I went outside all the cups were overflowing and soggy and the seeds were floating or on the
    I replanted what I could and brought them on the porch..we'll see if they germinate! :)

    * Posted by: mindi1248 z9 FL (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 14:33

    Mistake Number Two: Not using waterproof ink on those dixie cups!
    I replanted in some real seedling cups today, but now I have no idea what's what! Guess I'll have a surprise when they grow..if they :)

    * Posted by: ticksmom419 z7 NC (My Page) on Fri, Mar 7, 03 at 10:30

    Somara, in response to your bermudagrass mistake, it only spreads all over your lawn if you don't want it to. I'm tired of fiddling with my sad fescue and WANT the bermudagrass to take over. How many years will it take, do you suppose? Murphy's Law strikes again.

    * Posted by: ernie50 z7ga (My Page) on Sun, Mar 9, 03 at 7:20

    I've been gardening for some years, however still learning. Tried to grow Joe Pye last year from seed, but never came up so couldn't identify seedling. Finally saw a few tiny seedlings & nursed along for 3 months. Was poking around outside & saw same thing growing wild outside. It was a weed!Had somehow got in my seed flat!

    * Posted by: timtijones z5 Milwaukee WI (My Page) on Sun, Mar 9, 03 at 11:36

    Last year was my first year gardening in my first house, so the mistakes were many and frequent. Some of the most important lessons I learned were ...

    1. No matter how warm April may be, there's a reason people around here (Milwaukee, WI, zone 5) say don't plant until after Memorial Day. We managed to get some make-shift cold frames around plants both in the beds and not-yet-planted, but we still lost almost a third of the annuals and perennials during a May cold snap.

    2. Try to have at least SOME idea where you're going to put that beautiful plant you just saw at the nursery. Lost a few plants that stayed in the pot way too long after purchasing because we didn't have beds ready.

    3. EVERYTHING takes at least twice as long to do as you think it will -- digging beds, amending or replacing soil (we have lots of clay, so sometimes we just empty out a big area and refill with garden soil), fertilizing, weeding, pruning (actually, that takes 4 times as long!!). One of these days I'll try to leave time to actually sit out in the yard and ENJOY my gardens, but it didn't happen last year. Maybe if I schedule the time in my DayMinder...

    4. Just because it's the north side of the house and shaded in April doesn't mean it's a shade garden. I planted a dozen astilbe and 6 goatsbeard (aruncus) in the front of the house, which is on the north side. The astilbe did OK, but the flowers dried up and turned brown in less than a week, and the poor goatsbeard probably didn't survive ... they grew less than an inch last year from the planting size. That bed gets FULL SUN from May to August! So I'm moving everything that survives the winter to the west side of the house under the shade of the neighbor's black walnut tree.

    5. Which brings up the last one ... black walnuts' roots kill most plants planted anywhere near their canopy. Fortunately, astilbe is one of the plants that can survive the black walnut toxins, along with ferns and hostas. Guess what I'll be planting in the west side beds this year!!

    * Posted by: veilchen z5 S. Maine (My Page) on Sun, Mar 9, 03 at 11:56

    One of many:

    When removing the pachysandra from the front of the house to put in a new shade garden, I discovered what was obviously a small shoot of a rose. My house was built in 1930, so I was excited to have found what may have been an old climbing rose that survived neglected all these years (in the shade!). Just think how hardy it must be!

    I carefully dug it out, getting all of the long tap root. I pampered it for a few days in a container, keeping it moist. Then I transplanted it around a metal obelisk trellis in a sunny spot in my garden. I gave it lots of compost and water. By the end of the summer, I trained it up the obelisk and it was thriving. I was very proud of my horticultural accomplishment of saving an antique rose and couldn't wait til next year so I could see the blooms.

    Well, it bloomed last summer. Very plain, single white small blossoms. Totally unexceptional. Japanese beetle magnet as well. What I had transplanted and nurtured was an old root stock of a wild rose. I yanked it out at the end of summer, and it had really anchored itself in. I hope I got it all.

    * Posted by: John_Blutarsky (My Page) on Sun, Mar 9, 03 at 14:44

    Trying to drive 400 miles with a bunch of houseplants in the back of my car. They were exposed to too much sunlight and at the end of the journey their leaves had turned black! Fortunately, none of them died, just took a year to get back to their old selves! Next time, I'll keep them covered up better.

    * Posted by: clg1 z7 AR (My Page) on Sun, Mar 9, 03 at 20:46

    Thanks so much for this thread. I truly thought I was the ONLY one who had ever cultivated, nurtured and sang to rogue blades of grass mistakenly thinking they were long-awaited flower seedlings.

    * Posted by: teka2rjleffel z10FL (My Page) on Tue, Mar 11, 03 at 15:27

    I love this post. I'm not new to gardening. I have been doing it for over 20 years. But when we moved to Florida from New York I made a big boo boo. The house and lawn had been badly neglected. So my husband (who hasn't a gardening clue) and I started pulling up the weeds in the lawn. After we were well into the project our new neighbor came over and asked what we were doing pulling up all of the St. Augustine grass (which looks like a weed but is the only thing that will grow here.)

    * Posted by: somara z8 - Austin, TX (My Page) on Thu, Mar 13, 03 at 16:56

    My Mom and I were talking about what we were going to plant this spring and that brought up the subject of caladium bulbs... this was a BIG mistake from last year so I thought I'd mention it: Do NOT plant the bulbs upside down. Less than half of my caladiums made it. Unfortunately since both ends looked so much alike - this is easy to do. Someone told me later that the easiest way to avoid the same mistake is to plant the bulbs sideways. That way the plant has a better chance of breaking ground before it runs out of steam.

    * Posted by: Pickwick z5 (My Page) on Thu, Mar 13, 03 at 18:14

    The grounds superintendent of a large estate where I worked in the days of my youth, assigned me to plant grass seed in a freshly prepared area. He conveyed to me where I might locate this seed. Evidently, I seemed to have grabbed the wrong bag. It was thistle birdseed...........

    * Posted by: LesLazz z17CA (My Page) on Sun, Mar 16, 03 at 5:26

    Great laughs on this page, literally laughing and holding my side on a couple of them! My story is a bit different but true.

    Not necessarily, MY stupidest mistake but alas it happened any way. We move in 3 years ago to this house with the previous owner promising that the garden right outside my family room wall (all windows) was a tea garden, that she had worked very hard on. It being February when we bought, she said I couldn't tell until the bulbs came up. So I waited and waited and WAITED... all we had the first year were big weeds. Convincing myself I may had neglected the bulbs, I went out the next January and cleaned all the weeds and religiously watered, once again waiting for the tea garden, which never arrived. I decided to make it a rose and bulb garden, dug all the soil up and proceeded to plant three rose bushes and several different kinds of bulbs in a teagarden type pattern. Well, my hubby came out in January of last year and had a packet of wildflower seeds and decided to spread them throughout my garden (while I was cursing him behind his back, mind you). Fast forward, lots of wildflowers, bulbs grew but no flowers-because the wildflowers took all of the sun/nitrogen/whatever out of the soil (roses seemed to be ok tho). I told him I am going out to take everything out except my bulbs and roses. He asked if I would leave the poppies. I told him I will try (but between you and I , I know what a poppy looks like as opposed to a weed/wildflower) and I guarantee my bulbs will bloom next year!

    * Posted by: Vroomp z7Ga (My Page) on Sun, Mar 16, 03 at 10:34

    What I have learned from my Mistakes:

    Tradescantia (Spider Wort) blooms in afternoon sun, but the leaves will fry and make the plant look like it's dying. It blooms three times longer in afternoon shade.

    Foxgloves and Gladiolas need to be in a protected area from wind. Otherwise the become groundcover quickly.

    Never put an Amaryllis in a pot whose base is larger than the neck. They don't come out without breaking the pot.

    Inkberry Bushes do not grow on the North side of your home.
    I lost 6 seven gallon plants.

    Morning Glories produce a lot of seeds. And they ALL germinate............. For years to come !!

    Stonecrop Sedums spread like mad under cover of winter leaves. Which happens to be the best way to multiply your Blackeyed Susans too!

    A Wild Cherry is the wrong tree to leave for shading your patio. In Spring it drops flowers(too tiny to be pretty)then it drops little black fruit(which stains).The insects that thrive in them can dump around 1 pound of poop per night. (that's how much fell on the tarp over the food table last party). Glad I had the forethought to put it up !!! Then in the Fall the twigs and leaves seem to never end.

    * Posted by: ladykemma katy, texas (My Page) on Tue, Mar 18, 03 at 22:34

    pulling up the foxglove seedlings because i thought they were weeds.....

    * Posted by: Lynn9 z9,Northern Ca. (My Page) on Thu, Mar 20, 03 at 23:25

    HA! I think the "pet" poison oak is the funniest one.

    My mistake this year was building a nice frame for a raised box-bed, filling it in & then realizing it is in the wrong spot!

    My second mistake was buying all that "organic" compost/potting soil that was on sale & *then* reading the ingredients. It's organic with a "wetting agent" added. It carries a warning "as in all soil, gloves should be worn before handling this product". I don't dare use the stuff & lost the receipt.

    * Posted by: Adina Zone 7, Atl GA (My Page) on Fri, Mar 21, 03 at 15:55

    This wasn't a big mistake, but only because I'm a biological fluke. Several years ago, back when I lived in an apartment that didn't even have enough light for houseplants, I "adopted" the vacant lot next to my father's house and started cleaning it up a bit and planting some excesses from his garden. One day he came out while I was pulling weeds, pointed to the plant in my bare hand, and asked if I realized it was poison ivy. I didn't.

    My hands turned pinkish and itched a little for an hour or so later. I had never learned to identify poison ivy because I've never reacted to it. Still don't. Ivy--regular English Ivy--makes me itch and break out in red blotches, however. Go figure.

    * Posted by: GaiaChild N.Alberta,Can. (My Page) on Sun, Mar 23, 03 at 2:16

    I agree that this is a great thread!
    I can relate to some of these mistakes and I'll try to learn from the rest :o) I've had small veggie gardens and have experience with indoor plants but last year was my first real flower/ornamental gardening attempt. This year I've planned even more so I'm glad I can come here for some good tips.
    TIA *thanks in advance*

    * Posted by: Holedigger z10 SO-CAL (My Page) on Tue, Mar 25, 03 at 15:38

    All time dumbest.....designed a complete backyard courtyard with stamped concrete patios, flagstone walks, rip-rap planting beds, lighting, stucco walls, the works. Had it all installed, planted it and realized I had no way of getting irrigation to the planters, or onto the groundcover between the flagstone. Duh.I learned all about native plants and xeriscaping after trying to handwater (twice a day) the first summer. Everything fried.

    * Posted by: jslatch z8 Austin, TX (My Page) on Wed, Mar 26, 03 at 17:52

    Yeah, ok... as a new gardener with a new house, I should probably have researched tulips before putting a delicate 12 bulbs in my 10'x6' bed. Having lived in Washington DC, where every spring the city is covered in gorgeous, prolific tulips, I had assumed that they would bloom and bloom and be this beautiful carpet of red tulips in the middle of my yard. Little did I know that in DC, there are countless men paid by the city to run around in the pre-dawn hours transplanting fully grown tulips for the spring tourists. Needless to say, I got a week and a half of pretty blooms, and then nothing. Ugly green flowerless stalks. What is that about? Who knew that tulips only bloom once and don't multiply? I guess everyone but me. So then I tried to repair my sad-looking bed with eight expensive ranunculus transplants, which looked great for a week. Now they are fading fast, leaving me once again with tired stalks. Sigh. I have now optimistically sprinkled the entire thing with cosmos seeds. Too bad they won't be up in time for my mother's visit... I was so excited to show off my green thumb. I have a feeling I will have many more lessons coming to me...

    * Posted by: Dic_Tamnus z5b OH (My Page) on Thu, Mar 27, 03 at 10:12

    I had a "Three Stooges" moment while walking out to the garden.

    The side door of my house had a metal awning (sharp edges) that hung exactly 6' above ground level. As I (height 6'1") walked toward it I was verrrry carefully trying to take a sip from a cup of scalding hot coffee. In mid-slurp my scalp met the metal, raking across my skull like a hoe raking across concrete. From pain and surprise, I gasped, inhaling the burning brew. It sounded something like "Scrrrapeaacghgarglekoffplttttt!" So I spent the next ten seconds staggering, bent at the waist, one hand on top of my head and the other wiping coffee that was still running from my nose.

    My only regret is that I didn't catch the whole thing on video.

    * Posted by: Tannatonk z3 MT (My Page) on Thu, Mar 27, 03 at 15:08

    This is a great thread! I don't have a tale to tell on myself but would like to make a suggestion. Seems like a lot of you have in the past purchased too many plants at one time without having given thought to how or where you were going to put them. The next project on your "honey-do" list should be to build a nursery bed. It could be as big or small as you like but a nice size is 4' x 8' with 6-12" sidewalls. Fill the frame with loose compost and soil. Now you have a place to store all those wonderful finds that you just can't pass up until you know the perfect spot for it.

    * Posted by: carolynkelsea San Jose (My Page) on Fri, Mar 28, 03 at 12:33

    Wow this thread has been around since last year and it keeps getting funnier! I already posted once (transplanting large shrubs in a heat wave) but in my second year of gardening I've made an even sillier mistake... When we moved in I discovered two unidentified bushes hidden beneath some overgrown daisy clumps... For whatever reason I decided they were azaleas and I've been babying them for a year, giving them acid fertilizer, doing everything I could to make them happy... Well just the other day they finally bloomed, and oops, they're not azaleas, they're hawthorn bushes, which is a very common, tough shrub around here, they use it in parking lots because you just can't kill it... After a year of babying these things I feel a little let down! (The pink flowers are pretty though!)

    *Posted by Cactus_joe 7b (My Page) on Sun, Dec 12, 04 at 1:50

    Stupid things that I learned while gardening this year:

    1. If you plant a canna tuber right at the bottom of the container, and place it upside down, the canes will emerge through the drainage holes. A real talking point in the garden (?Did I hear words like "stupid thing to do", "how silly", "what was he thinking of", ""senilility", etc being whispered?). Doesn't do much for esthetics either.

    2. If you pull a long cane of a prickly rose down too far, and let go, it will neatly grab hold of you pants and tee-shirt, and give you a painful surprise.

    3. If you get real mad at how much rocks you have to excavate out of your lousy subsoil before you can plant any thing, make sure your shovel is equipped with shock absorbers before you ram it hard into the ground in frustration. Otherwise, the shock wave generated when you hit that big rock (the one which is always lying waiting for you to do just such a stupid act) will give your bones a jangle that you will never forget.

    4. If you go on vacation and have the neighbour tend your yard while you are away, don't forget to tell her not to dead head the roses if you are into hybridising.

    5. Never even think of pulling the stun of stepping smartly on the head of the garden rack to get it's handle to flip up - unless you happened to be wearing a suit of armour.

    * Posted by: NGraham z6 KY (My Page) on Sun, Dec 12, 04 at 8:08

    I can sympathize. I've experienced much the same things. Once when my husband had back surgery, I didn't ask, but my neighbor kindly mowed my yard for me. Took out a white lilac a friend had just given me, it did come back but sulked for a long time. Several times I coulda kicked myself when I nurture seedlings I have carefully grown & cared for, plant them out, then carelessly pull them out when weeding.

    * Posted by: FlowrPowr 5 OH (My Page) on Sun, Dec 12, 04 at 22:10

    Joe, the one about the rake really made me chuckle. We were planting some end of season roses about a month ago, and I did that very same thing. It was not one of my more graceful moves. Let me tell you, a rake upside the head, can really hurt. I saw stars for a couple of seconds. Of course, my hubby thought it was funny.
    I guess one thing that I did that was kind of stupid was loose one of those little hand held garden cultivators. It was an older tool, and just kind of blended in with the soil. I sat it down, and when I went to pick it up, I couldn't find it. My hubby found it when we were doing the fall cleenup. I think I am going to paint the handle day-glo orange, so it doesn't get lost in the perennial jungle again!

    * Posted by: EGO45 6bCT (My Page) on Mon, Dec 13, 04 at 0:52

  • Tamara
    8 years ago

    Stupid things that I learned while gardening this year:

    Unfortunately, cordless phones are not hardy in zone 6. One that I 'planted' last Fall never sprouted this Spring.

    * Posted by: Cactus_joe 7b (My Page) on Mon, Dec 13, 04 at 4:05

    EGO45, that's a hoot!! You should have known better - cordless phones prefer arid conditions, but in the shade.

    * Posted by: VTSKIERS z6a CentralCT (My Page) on Mon, Dec 13, 04 at 9:10

    Contractors, construction equipment, rocky clay soil and gardening don't mix.

    * Posted by: FlowrPowr 5 Oh (My Page) on Mon, Dec 13, 04 at 15:01

    Ego, Joe, too funny! I have never tried planting the cordless phone before. But I know if we sit one down at the nursery, it is lost for the season!
    I did loose a pair of glasses at the greenhouse this year. We looked everywhere for 2 days, and couldn't find them. One of the workers brought his grandson in about 6 months later, and he found them while he was crawling around under the tables. It makes you wonder if the plants get some sick kick out of taking our things!:)

    * Posted by: davescotta (My Page) on Mon, Dec 13, 04 at 15:12

    Joe, I gotta tell ya, I thought nobody was as goofy as me, purposely stepping on a rake - until I read your post. Isn't that just about the silliest thing you've every heard of? I thought I'd given myself a bloody nose. I was luckier than Flowrpowr though - I was alone in the garden at the time. I didn't even tell my wife about it 'cause she'd tell our son and he'd never let me forget it (because I have a few stories about him that I won't let him forget... ) Dave

    * Posted by: Cactus_joe 7b (My Page) on Mon, Dec 13, 04 at 17:22

    Dave, yeah, it was the silliest thing I had ever heard of ......................that is until my brain was chewed up by enough wood worms to make me do it myself. Then, it became one of the silliest thing I had ever done! Goodness gracious me .....what was I thinking of? Being Fred Astaire?

    * Posted by: Sagebrushred 5b/6a UT (My Page) on Mon, Dec 13, 04 at 17:40

    1. When planting cactus/agave/yucca take into consideration their placement with regards to their proximaty to areas one may need to crouch down to pull weeds etc... or remember to crouch down with ones backside facing away from said prickly plant.

    2. Never go out into the garden with car, house and work keys. They will never again be found.

    3. Remember to tell my DH where seeds have been sown come spring clean up.

    * Posted by: SayPoint 6b CT (My Page) on Mon, Dec 13, 04 at 19:58

    I learned that you can only mow over the soaker hoses where they cross the grass so many times before the blade catches one, which it will eventually do.

    ...that you should not plant grass in an area that is fenced off with a gate narrower than the mower unless you want to get the push mower out every single week just to mow a 6x6 ft. patch of grass.

    ...that you should hold off on reseeding and planting any areas where it is even remotely possible that the hardscape guys will want to drive their trucks or have cement trucks deliver, no matter how unlikely it may seem.
    ...that when every book and website you consult tells you that a certain tree will reach 60 ft. in height you should BELIEVE IT, no matter what the Certified Arborist who is recommending it is telling you.

    ...that you should never rely on ANYONE but yourself when deciding on the placement of a tree that will eventually reach 60 ft. in height when your water view comes into play. Especially when said tree required a machine to lower it into its planting hole, making relocation an impossibility.

    ...that you must learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes, correct them as best you can, and move on, or lose your mind.

    * Posted by: david_5311 Z 5b/6a SE Mich (My Page) on Mon, Dec 13, 04 at 21:40

    1. Corollary to George's rule - don't worry too much about looking around for things you lost or missplaced in the garden. Chances are you will (eventually) find them -- like the spade I found buried a foot down in a big raised bed I had made 5 years before, a bit rusty, but otherwise none the worse for wear. Never could figure out what happened to that shovel...

    2. Avoid throwing the dog's ball even in the DIRECTION of the garden beds, because it will go IN the bed and she will smash everything in sight trying to find it. Problem is, I've learned that before....

    3. If you are a very opinionated gardener, who likes to do things his own way (who, me???), be careful about hiring a landscape architect -- it might just be a waste of time and money.

    4. Don't order 1000 tulips every spring, you will curse the day in October when planting time arrives.

    5. In fact, don't order any plants at all, you have way too many already (spouse saying in the background - "don't we HAVE enough plants by now?")

    6. Ignore spouse in the background.

    * Posted by: SayPoint 6b CT (My Page) on Tue, Dec 14, 04 at 8:57

    David, you're right about the tulips. I ran out of steam before I got them all in, and now the the ground is frozen.

    * Posted by: NancyD 5/Rochester, NY (My Page) on Tue, Dec 14, 04 at 9:54

    Funny stories. My one stupid thing is to remember to never overfill my wheelbarrow and think I can control it safely when walking down the hills in my backyard...I'm lucky I don't break my wrist (or the fence). Last year I almost took out the dog. You'd think I'd learn every year, but saving a trip apparently is more important in my brain. (The dog has learned though ... now he keeps his distance!)

    * Posted by: gardenbug Canada zone 5 (My Page) on Tue, Dec 14, 04 at 13:01

    I don't seem to have learned the one about caging the clematis and roses against rabbits...BEFORE the snow falls and the ground freezes. Brrrrrrrrrrr.

    I've experienced many of the above, sad to say, but I can't say I've learned from my experiences.

    * Posted by: Laurie_KY6 z6 KY (My Page) on Tue, Dec 14, 04 at 19:14

    Treat the azaleas for lace bugs BEFORE the flower buds pop open. Not rocket science, but will I remember this come April 1?

    * Posted by: idabean (My Page) on Thu, Dec 16, 04 at 0:49

    it is one a.m. I am tired,need to go to bed, and here I am thread. I can't even think of one smart thing I did this summer, never mind the stupid ones.

    * Posted by: BSG1 z7 NY (My Page) on Thu, Dec 16, 04 at 9:38

    Never, ever, ever, tell DH the truth about how much you spent on those plants at the local garden center - and that they were NOT included in the 50% off sale!

    Beth (who fortunately still has her own credit cards and makes sure Hubby never sees the statements)

    * Posted by: Johnnieb Washington, DC (My Page) on Thu, Dec 16, 04 at 15:34

    It took a couple of years for the lesson to really sink in, but I finally learned to always, always, ALWAYS wear gloves while gardening. My soil is full of broken glass (who knows what 75 years' worth of owners did back there) and I have cut just about every finger, sometimes more than once. I have dug and bagged at least 20 or 30 pounds of broken glass--and that's on top of the rocks, broken bricks, concrete, construction rubble, rusty nails, bottlecaps, old toys, etc. probably totalling several hundred pounds that I've dug out. (Yes, I know I ought to check into getting that tetanus booster I've been putting off...)

    I don't think the previous owners (who had the place for 10 years) ever dug more than 2 inches in any part of the yard, and judging from all the tags I've unearthed for perennials and shrubs that are nowhere to be seen, they never quite got the hang of gardening.

    But another thing I've learned: HARD WORK PAYS OFF!

    * Posted by: NancyD 5/Rochester, NY (My Page) on Thu, Dec 16, 04 at 16:01

    Just thought of my other stupid thing. Remove the chicken wire over my bulb bed BEFORE spring. Otherwise it's not pretty. Damn @%&*#!* squirrels. Why do I forget that EVERY freakin' year.

    And yes, Jonnie - get the tetanus shot ASAP. Sounds like you've got a former dump in your backyard.

    * Posted by: david_5311 Z 5b/6a SE Mich (My Page) on Thu, Dec 16, 04 at 22:03

    I will reaffirm that a tetanus shot is an absolute requirement for gardeners every 10 years, don't forget!!!! I get mine in the years that end in '0 so I remember. But I cut myself lots, get dirty hands, and tetanus is a reality that can occurs in people like all of us. So gardeners, if you haven't had one in recent memory, go get one.

    * Posted by: gardenbug Canada zone 5 (My Page) on Thu, Dec 16, 04 at 23:14

    I've lived here over 7 years. The first year a nail went right through my sneaker into my foot, a memorable experience! So I know that in a little under 3 years it will be tetanus time. It is a very nasty problem if you don't....

    * Posted by: Cactus_joe 7b (My Page) on Fri, Dec 17, 04 at 1:02

    If you don't wear gloves, you may just be the candidate to compete with me for the award of the the ugliest nails in the universe!

    * Posted by: FlowrPowr 5 OH (My Page) on Fri, Dec 17, 04 at 8:23

    Joe, a couple of years ago, I would have been able to compete in the ugliest hands competition. My hands had what I liked to call permadirt on them! I hated wearing gloves. But, I have found that I like wearing surgical gloves. I can still feel what I am doing, which is important when you are trying to separate weeds from perennials. If you don't like gloves, you should give them a try. They also offer some measure of protection from nasty, pokey things.:) Getting an updated tetanus shot is on my list of things to do this spring. Glad you brought that up John. Lovely garden by the way. Who would have thought you could grow bananas like that in Wasington, DC.

    * Posted by: shadygrove z7 VA (My Page) on Fri, Dec 17, 04 at 19:00

    Hey, Johnnieb--David 5311 is a physician and I'm a nurse practitioner and we really want you to get that tetanus shot.

    * Posted by: Sandhill_Farms 10 NV (My Page) on Fri, Dec 17, 04 at 21:48

    Here's one STUPID thing I did that I thought you might like to read. I posted it earlier this evening on the Soils and Compost Forum:

    A week and a half ago I scraped the back of my hand causing an open wound, (betcha ya already know where I'm going with this don't ya). Now I'm a heavy equipment operator so cutting and scraping my hands is nothing new so I didn't pay any attention to it. This past weekend I worked on my straw bale compost bin and I just know I stuck my hand down in it to see if it was heating-up. Stupid me because I know better. Well on Monday when I woke-up the area on my hand that had the open wound was puffy - red and sore. I still didn't think anything about it because I've had many - many cuts in my life. On Tuesday I woke-up and my hand was swollen. Well now I started to worry a little. I began soaking my hand in Epsom Salts and hot water. Now this started to work so I breathed a sigh of releif. This morning, (Friday) I woke-up and my hand ached and was swollen bigger than it had been before, (think twice as big as my other hand). After work I went to the doctor and she confirmed what I already knew...Infection! She prescribed two powerful antibiotics that I'm to start taking tonight. She said if they don't start working right away she said to call her on Saturday and she will have to hook me up to an IV.

    Sooooooo, the moral of the story is to be careful when handling the ingredients you put in to your compost bin, especially if you have open cuts or scrapes.

    What a DUMMY I am!

    * Posted by: kab121170 z5 Indiana (My Page) on Fri, Dec 17, 04 at 22:20

    Plant your bulbs as soon as you get them so you don't have to plant them at the beginning of the first snow fall of the year.

    * Posted by: david_5311 Z 5b/6a SE Mich (My Page) on Fri, Dec 17, 04 at 23:18

    Yes Greg, I'm a doc, and I should "know better", and I too have had soft tissue infections from cuts combined with dirt. Not bad ones, but bad enough to treat with antibiotics one time, and bad enough to get sore and inflamed the other. You don't even need to stick your hands in a compost pile, plain ol' dirt is loaded with plenty of bacteria to cause plenty of infections if given access through your skin. In addition to keeping up their tetanus shots every 10 years, all gardeners should keep some antibiotic ointment on hand which can go a long ways to treating those open wounds which might get dirty. I am much more careful to wear gloves than I used to be, the rubber-handed ones with the cotton backs that have come out in the past few years are gloves I actually will wear without taking off. But anyway, stock some antibiotic ointment for those scrapes that come into direct contact with dirt. A bad cellulitis is nothing to fool around with.

    * Posted by: Sandhill_Farms 10 NV (My Page) on Sat, Dec 18, 04 at 7:57

    Thanks Dr. David, I certainly learned a lesson. This morning the hand is very sore and swollen, but the infection hasn't spread. I attribute that to the meds I started taking last night. The doctor said to call her this morning if it hasn't gotten any better, but I think I'll wait until Monday morning. I can't believe that just (2) pills are going to cure it that fast, and that's all I've taken so far.

    * Posted by: Deanneart z5Southern NH (My Page) on Sat, Dec 18, 04 at 8:03

    This has to be the most entertaining thread I've read in a long time.... LOL

    My Stupid thing for not just this year but every year in the garden is...

    Never under any circumstances put down a pair of pruning shears or they will magically disappear into the gardens. I'm now the proud owner of, I'm thinking it is a dozen pair of pruning shears (not quite sure could be more there are still some missing). Some come to light in the fall when the beds die off and some have never returned. I believe I need something like my grandmother used to knit for me for my mittens when I was a child. You know those 'Idiot Mittens' that were connected with a long string that went through your jacket sleves. Hmmmmm..... I need 'Idiot Pruning Shears' a two pack that connect through the sleves of my shirt with a holster affair on each side, maybe then I wouldn't have to buy new ones every year. The sad fact is my new Felcos are missing and I haven't found them!

    * Posted by: ChrisMD 7 (My Page) on Sat, Dec 18, 04 at 22:06

    Kab - I was going to say that!
    chris (and her 1000 little friends who may end up living in the refrigerator for the winter.....)

    * Posted by: Cactus_joe 7b (My Page) on Sat, Dec 18, 04 at 23:07

    Deanne, that's funny! It would qualify for a place in the "Totally Absurd Invention" archinves!

    Posted by: pegnj (My Page) on Sun, Dec 19, 04 at 9:37

    Do not spray roundup on the pachysandra under your all time favorite, most beautiful, most cherished plant that you adored more than any in your entire yard.

    Twelve years ago I paid $200 for a white flowering dwarf prostrate crab apple tree and planted it by my front door It grew into the most beautiful specimen - beautiful in every season especially winter with the prostrate branches and small crabapples the birds would visit. I didn't realize it must have had some sucker branches coming up through the pachysandra. I KILLED it, I was so angry at myself that I didn't talk to myself for a week(actually not true I always talk to myself) I let it sit there for a few months hoping it would come back to life - I still haven't replaced it.

    BSG1- I totally agree with you-I never ever ever told DH how much I paid for that shrub-thank goodness-I definitely would never hear the end of this one.

    * Posted by: veilchen 5b s. Maine (My Page) on Sun, Dec 19, 04 at 9:45

    Deanne, my Felcos are safe and sound inside, but I also have a pair of Fiskars in the garden. I think I left them near the herbs, then it snowed.

    * Posted by: madtripper 5/6 Guelph (My Page) on Sun, Dec 19, 04 at 13:38

    I was killing off some grass with roundup, getting it ready for a garden. Walking back and forth to the water hose to refill the sprayer resulting in a nice path of dead grass - too much roundup on the boots.

    * Posted by: david_5311 Z 5b/6a SE Mich (My Page) on Mon, Dec 20, 04 at 7:48

    Ah yes, the "Roundup walk". I too have done that one. Could even see my shoe size in the grass. 9 1/2D ;o)

    While we are on the roundup theme, don't spray roundup to kill grass between flagtones when the stone borders a lawn. The grass between the stones will die, yes, but it will die back into the lawn so you will have a dead patch of grass in the lawn too. Count on it.

    I think I have 'learned' that lesson at least 3 times. But then again, maybe I haven't (learned it.....).

    * Posted by: back40jen 5 MI (My Page) on Mon, Dec 20, 04 at 12:04

    Speaking of stupid things to do with pruners, I let mine get so dull that they couldn't cut butter. I am very careful to keep my kitchen knives sharp, but I forgot about the pruners.
    Thanks for the post about the infection, I hadn't thought about that much either.

    * Posted by: FlowrPowr 5 OH (My Page) on Mon, Dec 20, 04 at 23:06

    Glad to see this thread is still going, it is too funny. Cactus Joe, what a hilarious invention the Greenhouse helmet is. The one thing that really baffles me though, is the choice of plant material. If I were going to stuff a plant in my greenhouse helmet, it certainly wouldn't be a cactus! I have a bad history with cactus, and for the most part try to avoid them. I guess I am just to clumsy to be safe around them! I have a hard enough time with my Agave, and it has reminded me several times, just who really is the boss!
    I'll have to remember to remind my husband about the roundup walk. That's his job around here. I appreciate the help, but he does get a little carried away. I guess the stupid thing he learned while gardening was don't edge my perennial border with roundup! Never, never, ever, edge my perennial border with roundup! One day I came out to the garden, and the entire border was edged with a foot wide swath of dead grass. It took about 6 weeks to grow back! I had to make it very clear that from now on, I will be edging the border with a shovel, and not round up. Oh well, I can't be too harsh, he did mean well!

    * Posted by: Franeli z4 NH (My Page) on Tue, Dec 21, 04 at 7:55

    I climbed the steep slope planted with high bush blueberries to take a photo of my perennial/shrub bed. I was so busy looking for the 'perfect' photo, as I turned and faced downhill, I slipped in my flip-flops on the wet grass,went down on my posterior quadrant, slid the length of the hill putting a 'trough' through the bushes...all while holding my new digital camera in the air. Wheww.
    Flip those flops OFF before climbing wet grass slopes,go barefoot or wear garden clogs.

    * Posted by: PIGEONBOB Z5--OHIO (My Page) on Tue, Dec 21, 04 at 9:30

    Enjoyed reading all the posts. Nice to know just how "human" we are. Heres' one you won't want to repeat. I was riding my snapper over a large pile of weeds I had removed from the Daylily beds. The blade got stuck, so I released the blade pedal, jumped off the seat of the mower to clean it out; you know how we get in a hurry? Well, as I jumped up from the seat I had forgotten to disengage the mower clutch and in the most minute of seconds I was being dragged around my walnut grove by the left pant leg, the right one being pulled behind me. I finally was able to get loose just before the mower was going to crash into the fence. I had pulled something in my right knee so I couldn't step on it, so I hopped like crazy on my left leg, jumped on the mower and stopped it about a foot from the fence. Both legs were injured but that wasn't what concerned me. I quickly looked in all directions to see if anyone saw me do this. Much to my relief nobody saw this happen. I have since healed. Bob

    * Posted by: yeona_sky z8b VancouverBC (My Page) on Tue, Dec 21, 04 at 14:37

    Lol at the tied together tools Deanne, and the site Cactus Joe. Good advice Dr David, re cuts and shots. So sorry you and others have lost a round to roundup. I'm paranoid about using the stuff and maybe rightly so. Knowing me the wind would come up and there would go my ENTIRE GARDEN. So far I've been combatting the baddies with newspaper and cardboard. I think the weeds and I are 1 and 1.

    Re the lost tools, been there done that. Am thinking of trying a key finder. To never lose a thing again, now that's a fantasy!!!

    Never buy a plant that doesn't work in the location you have in mind, even if they call to you in your sleep, night after night for weeks.... Ie if you have shade then okay, but no shade then the six shade plants won't work. I'm thinking of a very big umbrella now....

    * Posted by: kwyet1 z6 CT (My Page) on Tue, Dec 21, 04 at 16:34

    How about starting a million seeds in the early spring, then they all germinate and I don't have time to plant I broken heartedly end up having to throw half of them away (it's much faster to sprinkle seeds than it is to actually plant each one)! I've done this two years running now....and have recently been marking the pages in my '05 seed I guess I haven't learned. (and again, don't tell DH how much was spent on plants..or seeds)

    * Posted by: Cactus_joe 7b (My Page) on Wed, Dec 22, 04 at 2:50

    Getting weed killers inadvertently on perennial beds is no joke! Been there, done that, but that was actually the stupid thing I learned in 2002. Since then, I have banned myself from using any liquid weed killer. If I use granulated weed killer on the lawn, I cover the perennial beds adjacent to the lawn with plastic sheets. I figure that the 15 minutes extra time needed to do this is well worth it!

    * Posted by: pegnj (My Page) on Wed, Dec 22, 04 at 7:40

    Bob - these stories are starting to get scary. Glad to hear your OK and more importantly that no one saw you :)

    Besides killing my favorite tree I have another stupid thing I learned this year--When you start seeing bees flying around your head -run IMMEDIATELY. Do not take 5 seconds to finish a chore. One of them got me right on the tip of my nose. You know things are getting bad when your entire family just stands there staring at you with their mouths open and then finally one of them says -maybe you should go to the hospital. A few patients in the ER suggested I go ahead of them. Turns out I'm allergic - severe local reaction but thank goodness only a mild systemic reaction. I didn't leave my house for three days waiting for the swelling to go down. This time it was funny but I have to be more careful in the future.

    * Posted by: david_5311 Z 5b/6a SE Mich (My Page) on Wed, Dec 22, 04 at 8:02

    Yes, as these stories progress, I can think of some stupid things that I have done that are not funny. I decided a few years back that I would lay a stone path in an area where the grass wasn't growing well, and to make it more of a feature in the garden. So I put down about 6" of sand gravel base, compacted it, and laid my stone. Today it is one of my favorite parts of the garden.

    BUT in doing so I slowly killed a large redbud (about 20' tall and across) that was the centerpiece of the back garden. The stone path went over a major part of the root zone of this tree. The year after I laid the path, I started to notice more dieback on the tree. This increased gradually over three or four years, until finally the tree died and I had it removed.

    I adapted, I like the sun in the area now, but I also loved that tree, which was a 5' baby when we built our house, and grew quickly to become a focal point.

    A hard lesson.

    * Posted by: Chris_ont 5a Ont (My Page) on Wed, Dec 22, 04 at 13:03

    This year's lessons:

    1) One groundhog will eat its body weight in your favourite perennials per day. Trap and move IMMEDIATELY.

    2) That pretty pink Yarrow that isn't weedy at all does NOT recover from being chewed to the ground by groundhogs.

    3) Purchase a bottle of fabric freshener before transporting a ticked-off groundhog in your family vehicle.

    * Posted by: david_5311 Z 5b/6a SE Mich (My Page) on Wed, Dec 22, 04 at 13:38

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  • Tamara
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    Actually Chris I have to tell you a groundhog lesson I read about and that I learned from experience too -- that in most areas, it is almost futile to trap groundhogs and move them, since a roaming juvenile will fill that spot almost immediately. I live trapped and moved 12 groundhogs one summer, several times within a few days of each other. Then I read an article by a Cornell wildlife biologist in the NY Times, which stated that trapping in most suburban areas is futile. Apparently the population of roaming juveniles is significantly greater than the number of burrows, and an available burrow is quickly filled again. When I did trap, I think it sometimes helped for a while, but they kept showing up anyway.

    Then I learned that a deer/groundhog/rabbit fence around the garden was worth its weight in gold, as well as a dog, in keeping those varmints out of the garden.

    * Posted by: Kevin_5 z5 (My Page) on Wed, Dec 22, 04 at 16:39

    I learned to ID before destroying. I bought a new property, littered with invasives, but also planted with many interesting plants(at least they were interesting 35 years ago when all the work was done). I spent all last winter cutting down honeysuckle, buckthorn, etc. At the entrance to this property was a multitrunked small tree, with 6" diameter trunks, about 15' tall. I kept cutting branches off to ID it, but always forgot. In my infinite wisdom one snowy day, I finally decided it was some sort of plum or cherry and whacked it down since it would possibly be in the way. Well, the purple smoke bush suckers that shot up in the spring proved me oh so wrong. DOH!

    * Posted by: Lisa2004 NY Z6 (My Page) on Wed, Dec 22, 04 at 17:11

    I've done so many of these thing...I actually stepped on a rake and had it hit me in the head twice in one day. But the stupidest thing I ever did involved a pile of leaves and jumper cables. The battery on my Snapper mower was dead, so I decided to hook the cables up to my SUV to jump start it. Well, it started right up, so I disconnected the cables from the truck and the mower. When I tried to drive the mower it died. I repeated this several times with the same results so, in frustration I decided to ONLY diconnect the cables from the mower, but leave them attached to the truck incase I had to repeat this procedure again. I finially got the mower to move, but the truck was in my way. So, forgetting that the cables were still attached I backed the truck up so that I could drive around it. It took several minutes of the cables lieing on top of each other in a pile of leaves for the fire to start. First just the leaves were burning, then the next thing I knew there was fire the length of the cables and into the front of the truck. Thankfully nothing under the hood was damaged, but I was so scarred I nearly called 911.

    * Posted by: Cactus_joe 7b (My Page) on Wed, Dec 22, 04 at 20:19

    ROTFL! Lisa, at least it took care of deciding what to do with that pile of leaves!

    * Posted by: pitimpinai z5 Chicago (My Page) on Thu, Dec 23, 04 at 15:52

    Never put your favorite tools on top of the garbage can then wander away thinking you'll come back right away. You'll find out that those tools have a tendency to evaporate.

    Never dump left over compost tea on a plant without diluting it.

    If other people said certain plants are thugs, don't plant them thinking you can handle them. You won't.

    Yup, Joe, a rake handle is vicious. It will take a revenge on you if you step on its head.

    * Posted by: david_5311 Z 5b/6a SE Mich (My Page) on Thu, Dec 23, 04 at 22:36

    LOL, pitimpanai, I too have planted thugs KNOWING that other people called them what they were, and thinking that I somehow knew better and could handle them. So what was I thinking? Duh....

    * Posted by: pegnj (My Page) on Fri, Dec 24, 04 at 9:00

    I think next year my 'stupid thing I learned' will be I should have pulled out that houttuynia as soon as the people on the perennial forum warned me to, and not have waited a few months to get to it. I thought I got it all out but it was already popping up all over the place just before winter came. Lets hope I don't have another Round-up experience next year trying to get rid of the houttuynia.

    David- thank you for the comments of the redbud-I was debating if I should replace the half dead tree but it sounds like any replacement may struggle just as much as the one I have. I'll give it a good pruning in the spring and keep my fingers crossed.

    * Posted by: LisaZone6_MA z6 MA (My Page) on Mon, Dec 27, 04 at 16:54

    OMG - these are too funny!! I've done the old step on the rake and wack yourself in the head routine more than once myself. And I finally spray painted the handles of all my tools bright red this past fall so next spring I won't be losing them all the time! I've finally learned to mark my plants - especially the hosta, because no - I won't remember which one is which next year and I will end up moving the wrong one and having to do it all over again! And when you pick up the deck chair wondering to yourself whether or not the wasps built a nest under there - they did. And you will get stung. So if you see wasps hovering around a certain area, you can be pretty sure that there's a nest under there all right lol!! And Safer's Insecticidal Soap will kill fringed bleeding hearts. I learned that one after I ran for the soap spray in a panic after seeing my biggest clump of bleeding hearts covered in aphids. After I doused the plant I read the label, which clearly stated - Do Not Use On Bleeding Hearts!!

    Now if I can just remember to bend my knees this spring and not be lazy and try to stretch awkwardly to reach that one, last weed that's just out of reach - maybe I won't throw my back out in 2005!!

    * Posted by: Poochella 7/ WEST (My Page) on Tue, Dec 28, 04 at 18:56

    Oh I wish I would have read this earlier- just got through the whole thread now with many smiles.
    In my member page notes you will see I confessed to the "whack-self-upside-the-head-with-hoe-handle" maneuver.
    I am heartened to see so many others have fallen for the same trick! I have learned to lean the hoe against something, leave the hoe in the safety of the garage, or place with tines DOWN so you have a better chance of surviving that day in the yard.

    Last month, now that the brush has died down, I located my favorite blue handled pruning shears! Naval jelly and WD40 brought them right back to life so they can be lost again in 2005. What was I pruning in the brush anyway? Brush?
    In addition I have happened upon a hammer, a hacksaw, weed poker tool, two trowels, and many coffee mugs. It was just like Christmas. Only with rust and dirt instead of gift wrap.

    If you call your lost cordless phone from another phone while scampering about the property to locate the little sucker, let the answering machine kick in and leave yourself a message to never, ever do this again.

    Ditto for lost cellphone.

    Don't assume your trusty tennis shoe soles can stand up to the massive pressure of your petite/medium/large carcass jumping on the flanges of those evil metal green farm posts to get them firmly planted. Refer back to cuts/scrapes/infections and add sutures as a distinct possibility.

    Never use white gas to light the brush pile and think that you still might have to "blow" on it to get the fire going. It is a very effective combustible and eyebrows don't grow back so well. Although that braised facial skin can double as a healthy tan look, without undue sun exposure.

    As noted above-keep the Neosporin or Triple antibiotic ointment handy, it's good for burns too.

    And last for now: never EVER tell your non-gardening spouse to "please weedwhack the edges of the gardens" while you are at work. They have little appreciation for drooping/draping, soft borders. And they don't like being chased with a hoe handle when you return from work to see the butchery that has taken place.

    * Posted by: Jen26 USDA zone 6/MO (My Page) on Wed, Dec 29, 04 at 0:06

    These are hilarious, guys. I, too, have had wheelbarrow troubles, especially when I load it up with compost, weighing more than I do...then try and heave it up a hill. When it tips, with your body between the handles, it can flip you right over. Like poor PidgeonBob, I was injured, but mostly relieved that nobody witnessed my idiot maneuver! I would also add this little-known advice (well, little known to me)-- Never plant in the rain! Plants don't really appreciate going into wet clay. Not one bit.

    * Posted by: zjones z6b TN (My Page) on Wed, Dec 29, 04 at 15:54

    Great thread!!!

    1. Seasonal tip: Making New Year's resolutions not to purchase any new plants this year because "there's not enough room" is a complete waste of time.

    2. Marital tip: Making promises to your wife (or husband) that you will not take anymore of the remaining yard for new beds is a really bad idea. Not only will you be proven to be untrustworthy, the yelling takes some of the fun out of creating "enough room" to break the above-mentioned New Year's resolution.

    3. Chiropractic tip: Working with stone is ALWAYS VERY HARD WORK.

    4. Budget tip: Everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you planned.

    5. Collecting tip: If you become a collector of plants, don't choose conifers - if you do, amend rule #4 to quadruple the cost.

    6. Tool tip: If you happen to live on top of a "boulder mine" like I do, Sears offers a no questions asked lifetime return policy on most of their garden tools. The "no questions asked" part is particularly appealing after the third shovel.....

    Happy new year to you all!

    * Posted by: Cactus_joe 7b (My Page) on Wed, Dec 29, 04 at 18:04

    Hmmmmmmm! Encasing their roots in clay before submerging them in water. Haven't I read somewhere about encasing people's feet in concrete blocks before throwing them into the sea? In some gangster movies maybe?


    Posted by Goldylocks z7 MDsuburbDC (My Page) on Sat, Feb 12, 05 at 10:02

    I just finished reading thru the stupid mistakes thread and it made me feel SO much better about the stupid things I keep doing -- especially buying too mand things at once that I can't get in the ground in time. I wanted to share my stupidest thing though, since it is one I didn't see mentioned yet. This happened 2 1/2 years ago. I saw a little ad in the newsletter of a local group. It said: free for the picking -- lots of pears and a pear sapling that was coming up too close to the mother tree. Free tree! Cool! Thought I to myself, rushing to the phone. The following Sunday I arranged to go get me this sapling. But I was smart. I knew myself. SO I figured if I don't have the planting hole already dug, I will end up killing the tree before I get it in the ground. So I dug a hole about 3 feet around and about as deep in my front yard where a tree had been yanked out before I moved here so I thought a nice flowering fruit tree would be so pretty.

    Then I got to the house in question -- which was about 45 min from me. There was an ENORMOUS mother of a pear tree and piles of pears strewn all over. And nearby there was a smaller skinnier tree -- but already more than 10 feet high. Not the little waist high sapling I was envisioning! But did I have the sense to say, "no thanks" and go home? No way! I set to with my little spade to dig around it. And dig. And dig. And then the owner lent me a pickaxe. And then I flooded the zone with water to try to loosen the ground. I had been at it for about 3 hours when I noticed that the area was full of poison ivy. But by then I was grimly determined.....By 5 hours in, I was beginning to understand what a "taproot" was. I was standing in a mud crater that could be seen from the moon but the tree was still firmly anchored. It was more than 7 hours after I started before I finally had the damn thing laid out horizontal on the ground.

    Only then did I consider the problem of how I was going to get this huge bedraggled monster all the way to my house. I figured the roof of my car was the only choice and that I would tie the branches like a xmas tree. Did you know that Bradford pear trees have sharp hard "thorns" on their branches? By the time I got the branches tied down and the owner helped me wrestle it on to my car, I was pretty badly sliced up. Insanely undaunted, I drove off into the darkening evening with roots and branches extending well past both ends of the car and bouncing up and down.

    I got home about 7PM and immediately realized that my carefully prepared planting hole was laughably inadequate. A sane person (had one somehow ended up in this situation) would have left the so-called sapling to be chopped up for firewood. But no, not me. I started digging again. A couple of neighbors came out to see what could be wrong -- why I was covered from head to toe in mud and blood and frantically digging in the front yard in the dark. At about 9PM, my daughter came home and was horrified! In hopes of getting me out of public view, she held the tree in place while I began to refill the hole. By the end, I was too exhausted to stand up but I was on the ground scrabbling dirt into the hole with my bare hands and nearly crawling into the house at last.

    In the morning, I went to look at my hardwon acquisition and realized for the first time that I had planted it directly under the electric and phone lines to my house! I shook my head as I scratched at the rashes all over me.

    I just didn't have it in me to think of moving it again. And besides it was obviously dead.

    Incredibly, it bloomed in the spring and grew several feet the following summer. This year, I had to have a tree company prune it from around the wires. They wanted to just uproot it since it was a "trash" Bradford tree! Imagine, my precious pear "sapling" mere trash!

    I am still waiting for a pear from it. But I promise you, to me they will be the sweetest pears in the universe. They have to be to let me rationalize this self-inflicted disaster.

    Morals: (1) Look up before digging a planting hole. (2) Know when to fold 'em. (3) Do stupid things in your BACK yard not your FRONT yard.

    Leslie Posted by gardenpaws_VA z7 NoVA (My Page) on Sun, Feb 13, 05 at 22:47

    If it's a Bradford, you'll not get any usable fruit - the fruit of a Bradford pear is the size of a small marble. From your description of the parent tree, sounds like it might well be some other sort, though. At any rate, you have my sympathy - most of us gardeners are prone to pounce on a find before considering exactly how we'll make it work. Good luck!

    Posted by slubberdegulion z7 VA (My Page) on Sat, Mar 5, 05 at 10:18

    Ha! Goldylocks, that is too funny!! Do stupid things in the back? No way, think of all the missed oppurtunities. I've only been 'gardenening' a few years myself and I proudly march about the front yard moving bushes bigger than myself from hole to hole. It's even more fun to put bamboo poles everywhere as mock trees to get an idea (ha!) of how a real bush/tree will look. (Good luck) The neighbors must wonder if the spirit of Vlad the Impaler lives on in me. Last year I had a virtual forest of bamboo, now the planted trees are little brown twigs. Being able to garden by cigarette lighter or while holding a flashlight in your mouth has GOT to be a marketable skill. I hope it wasn't a Bradford, though. Ick! The stink in spring makes me gag, and no fruit. But well done!

    Posted by vladpup z7a S. Maryland (My Page) on Mon, Mar 7, 05 at 9:30

    G'Day! - i guess my worst gardening mistake so far has been planting lilies and daffodils and other "deer-resistant" plants along the pasture fence, thinking that if the deer don't eat them, neither will the horses. Well, the horses mayn't EAT them - but they DO playfully rip up anything they can reach through the fence! This is especially true of sections they tend to hang out near when impatiently anticipating breakfast or dinner. - i tacked mesh to the back of the fence last fall, so they horses can't reach through the fence anymore; now i just need more lilies and such to re-plant with!

    - The following counts as garden relaited because the recipe included lots of herbs dried from my last summer's garden: i just baked a loaf of herb bread with unequal parts of three kinds of flour. i use the 1/2 C. measuring cup to scoop the flour, because the full C. cup won't fit in the bag as easily. Somewhere along the way, multiplying by half scoops and divinding be different flours, i got distracted and mis-counted and wound up with half again as much flour as the recipe called for. Added enough of the other ingredients to fill out the enlarged recipe, but figured, since loaf usually barely reaches the top of the pan, it would just round up nicely. Wrong. It rose and rose and overflowed. It baked beautifully, and i was able to tip it out of the pan intact, but the profile was like a mushroom, the top coming down the sides almost to the base. But tasty none the less!

    - Happy gardening, -vlad Posted by reginak z7 Maryland (My Page) on Sun, Mar 13, 05 at 7:05

    Here's one: I accidentally dumped two egg cartons full of germinating seeds upside down on the kitchen floor. Including 4 varieties (3 tomatoes & 1 pepper) that I didn't have any more seeds of. I scooped up all the dirt and seedlings and patted them back into the egg carton willy-nilly. I will have a puzzle section of the garden this year, try to guess what's what as it fruits.....

    Luckily the source of the 3 tomatoes I lost offered to send me more. Wonderful woman. I'm sure I could get a replacement for the pepper too, but that's OK. It was a freebie I don't know anything about anyway.
    Posted by Lesathummercrossing 7 (My Page) on Sun, Mar 13, 05 at 8:57

    OK my turn When we moved in several years ago I wanted to pave the walkway around the back of the house past the small shed and oil tank. I dug down for a paving base and encountered some roots that had to be dealt with. Funny thing one of the roots I cut spouted oil!! Luckily I had built a small door to the cutoff valve on the oil tank enclosure I'd built. The oil tank apparantly had been moved and the line was not where I expected it to be. Now when I bury lines such as a 110 volt line for walkway lights, I put them through a conduit and put a board above that. I'm also very careful before cutting roots or digging anyware there might be lines, such as at the fence line where I discovered the cable TV line going around a fence post I had to replace yesterday.

    Posted by CFMuehling 7b DC/MD 'burbs (My Page) on Mon, Mar 14, 05 at 11:02

    It's been a couple of years, and what actually brought me to GardenWeb, so I'll share this story again. We moved to the country July 27. Not much could be done, I thought, at that point about clearing the property of brambles, vines, suckered trees, etc., but I thought I'd try.

    One day, after yoga class (I mention that because I want you to remember that yoga clothes are cotton and lycra, somewhat stretchy.) I went outside and began to cut the suckers off the trees, pulling miles and miles of vines out of them, and chopping down the brambles. Foxgrape covered the 2nd story of the house, trumpet vine made the fence line a solid mat of green, and brambles poked through everything else.

    The cell phone is God's gift to my husband, who spends a ton of time driving from job to job. He therefore calls me a gudzillion times a day. I kept dropping my phone as I was working, so I stuck it in my sports bra. That got sweaty, so I stuck it into the other side. It kept falling out (not me, the phone) when I would bend over, so I looked around and stuck it into the back of my pants. After awhile, it started sliding down (like the potato joke), so I stuck it into the front. When that got hot and sweaty and started sliding down, I finally threw it up on the porch in disgust. He could wait to talk to me!

    I worked a while longer, pulling, cutting, chopping, and cleaning.

    The next day, on the way to yoga again, I noticed an itchy bump in my shin. "That d@mned dog," I thought, "has FLEAS!" See, my deceased MIL's dog had come to live with us. The famous, patient, and affectionate General the Golden Retriever. I indignantly showed my husband, who took one look, began to belly laugh, and said, "Hon? That's not a flea bite, that's poision ivy."

    Well, I'd managed to massage poison ivy all over my body while trying to hold onto that d@mned cell phone. It was so bad, it was steroid resistant, and when the doctor drew a line on my tummy, within the hour it had broken out 2'' past the line. Ironically and thank God, it never erupted into sores, just a huge burn-looking, all-body rash.

    I'd never been so miserable in my life. The result is that I am now allergic to the DIRT the roots have been in. That oil is evil stuff!!!

    But imagine me diligently ripping those hairy vines out of the trees? I learned the weeping trees along the fence line weren't trees, but posts so covered with thigh-thick poison ivy, that they grew up and out like weeping cherries.

    Yes, I had the land professionally cleared in the spring. Probably the best investment I'd ever, ever made.

    But now I can wince and laugh! Christine Posted by Kathy_ (My Page) on Fri, Mar 18, 05 at 5:11

    Mom's house is painted a tannish color and we were doing some raking and cleanup work yesterday. She was cutting and pulling a tough sapling and saying "this thing is growing out of the house!" As she looked up she saw it was not a sapling but the phone line - painted tannish!

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